I have a problem. I love Washington.
For a year now, I’ve been wingeing on about how much I miss Chicago, how it’s like a long-lost lover I know I’m going to see in a few months for a reunion. And if it’s bad on PaperGirl, imagine how much worse it is in my private journals. For so long, I have been counting the months until my exile would come to an end.
But something is happening to me.
It’s the wide streets downtown, maybe. It’s most definitely the art. My new quilting friends have had a huge impact on my fondness for the place. That I can get to Reagan National Airport in almost exactly twenty minutes from my door on the yellow line train has something to do with my crush. It’s the men in their suits. It’s my buddy Abraham Lincoln over there on the Mall, always ready to hang out and just sit quietly with me. It’s the dinner I had the other night with the incredible Malbec.
The circumstances that brought me here were relatively grim. (I realized this past Saturday that the last time I even though the word “valentine” it was to announce Yuri and I breaking up; that illustration of the two kids looking out at the rain is perhaps the most appropriate image I’ve ever selected for any entry in the history of this blog.) But since getting to DC I’ve blossomed like the cherry trees in the National Cherry Tree Festival set to begin next month. Honest, I have. When I was in New York City, I couldn’t drag myself to a decent workout or yoga practice. Now, unless I’m feeling poorly, I’m all over it. In New York, I did almost zero socializing. I just couldn’t get out there. But I’m a butterfly now! My quilting friends, my writer’s group — I’m making new acquaintances all the time and I love it.
Washington, you were supposed to be a weigh station. You were supposed to be a place I said I lived in for six months, once, in my thirties. You were not supposed to enchant me like this. With you, I feel like the most fabulous 1980s, Jessica Lange-y, Mary Tyler Moore-y, working gal with a hot date on the books and a plane to catch. The only other city that ever made me feel like that was Chicago, but you have three distinct advantages over that most recent love:
1. Chicago winters are sick, cruel, horrifying; yours are kinda cute
2. I did not get married and divorced in you
3. No Cubs
We shall see. If my adorable medical students want to renew their lease, I may just let them. When I let my life unspool before me, when I let it show me what it wants to do and then I pay attention, I am always entertained.