Hello DC: Saturday Morning Afternoon Adams Morgan   1 comment

view from Coffee and Crumbs

view from Coffee and Crumbs

I’m sitting in Coffee and Crumbs, a tea house off 18 th street somewhere near Adams Morgan. I’m looking outside a half-open door, watching people and cars flash by in blurs of dark color. On my head, are a new pair of cheap stereo headphones I just purchased from a CD game exchange. I’m wearing a black polo shirt, and stretchy gray pants. I wonder if I look like the typical 21st century floater. Floating from place to place, with my headphones on my head to dull my senses, my nice shirt and pants to make me feel good, watching life go by.
Its been a very interesting last couple of weeks in the good old Nation’s capitol. I’ve found myself feeling completely different about my environment. After coming from New York, people always asked me, “Which is better? New York, or Washington DC.” To this question, I give the same answer. “They are different.”
I went to New York for the day yesterday, and immediately I felt a surge of energy course through my body. I was walking faster, I felt generally more alive and well, and everything seemed faster, and more exciting. I even felt more attractive. I tried to pinpoint the reasons for this.
I caught a late bus out of DC at 11:30 p.m. I reached New York at 3:45 a.m. It was cold, and I got slightly lost in Chinatown. After I found a subway heading uptown, I learned that those trains, (the F uptown) were not running from September 5th, through October 26th. I ended up hailing a cab and heading up towards Union Square, where I had spent the last 3 ½ months before returning to DC.

I spent the morning shuffling around in my Aunt’s apartment, grabbing a few things that I had left behind when I came to DC. I watched a few episodes of Entourage, the Chris Rock comedy special Kill the Messenger and slept for an hour or two. I didn’t do anything, but I felt intensely invigorated. Maybe it was the fact that outside, were stores, nicely dressed people walking about, and the noise of the city that never sleeps. Maybe it was the fact that even though New York whipped my ass like most newbie’s, I had enough good memories there to have a nice sense of the place. Maybe I liked the high buildings, the claustrophobic atmosphere and the noise.
I was only in New York until 8 p.m. I would have left sooner if there hadn’t been intense congestion, which delayed the trip by over two hours. By 12 midnight, I was back in Washington D.C. Then, the contrast was obvious.
As soon as I returned to DC, I felt slower, more subdued. I got a sensation of space and darkness. It was quiet, emptier and less energetic. I caught a cab in Chinatown and went home. I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered how long the “New York effect” would last. Could I hold on to that feeling of internal power that comes with walking through New York’s streets? Could I feel a little bit brighter and happier in Washington D.C?
By 1 a.m I had made it to Wonderland, a bar I like to frequent. There, I had one beer and stood up watching people dance. I’ve noticed one thing ever since I returned from New York. I don’t talk to anyone. Most places I go, I stand up, have one beer or sip on water (if its available), then leave. I left the bar at 1:35.
Therein lies the New York Washington DC contrast for me I think. New York made me feel good, but it was a social nightmare of the highest degree. Imagine a land filled with gorgeous progressive women who are 100% dedicated to putting their careers ahead of relationships. Then imagine a similar place, where the women are less attractive but equally dedicated to career first.
Some people would say those are two nightmares, but who knows? I don’t necessarily feel powerless. I think, like DC, I sometimes feel spacious, empty and dark, filled with little gaps and winding places that few feet ever trod.
In New York, I felt that the atmosphere was sometimes like a huge block of ice that I couldn’t break. Around me it seemed people were screaming at me, “Give us ice! Give us ice!”, but all I had in my hand was a plastic spoon. I couldn’t chip the ice.
DC in a way feels similar at times. The block of ice is smaller, and depending on what day it is, I have a plastic spoon, and other days I have an ice pick. As it stands, I think all I have in my cabinet are a series of huge, plastic, spoons.
But DC also feels like an old bedroom. Every tactile sensation in this room sparks a memory good or bad. Walking down this street triggers a memory of you laughing with your boy, kissing your girl, or raging with anger.
But the past, the present and the future are all inherently inescapable things. I woke up this morning, staring at the ceiling. It was cold in the room, and I sat down to meditate. The silence around me was thunderous and I had to get out, to get away.

So what’s the lesser of two evils? A temporary taste of fleeting self-power (as in New York), or that calm (albeit subdued) sense of self that comes with a startling familiarity? I have no answer. No tengo idea. Wakarimasen.
So here I am, sitting at Crumbs and Coffee on 18th street, typing this stuff up, looking outside, watching the world float by in a blur of color. While sipping on green tea.

Advertisements

One response to “Hello DC: Saturday Morning Afternoon Adams Morgan

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I think the differences you describe between how you feel in New York and how you feel in D.C. are very interesting. But one question I have is why? Why do you stand in a bar talking to no one in D.C. while in New York you might be hitting on any attractive girl you see (I say this because i’ve seen you do it haha). Maybe you are letting the stereotypes of your surroundings affect your behavior without trying to defy them? NYC is a great, fast-paced place and I have spent more time there than I can remember. But D.C. may deserve more credit than standing alone at a bar, no?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: