Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Storm of the Century

The whole damn metro area freaks out when it snows, which makes me feel right at home. I grew up in Arkansas and various other locations across the South, so I'm not exactly an old hand at blizzards and the like. I have lived here for about six years though, and I believe there's only been one really big storm *in* that six years.

Which made me think about...well, the past six years. I moved here when I was twenty one, got married shortly after and had Leila almost exactly a year from the day I walked through BWI. Three years after that, I was moving into this apartment, splitting from F, starting over...again. And I needed to make the city mine again. It had been mine and his, and every single landmark, every single store, every single everything between Montgomery County, DC, and NoVa belonged to us. I couldn't go anywhere without being overcome by memories of coupledom. That's rough, probably the hardest part of divorce. I know now why people move away and start from scratch when they get divorced, because it's hard as hell when everything you see reminds you of everything you've lost.

I started with the monuments. I'd never actually been to any of them...so I went. I dragged my daughter to the Natural History Museum, as I'd only been once. I took the metro (which I'd once found terrifying) to Pentagon City mall and went shopping there. I never had before, and I sat in the food court watching groups of tourists with matching hats, or shirts, or whatever. I went to the Rock and Roll Hotel, to a couple of shows at the 9:30 Club. I walked around in Chinatown, (tourist watching gold, there) sat on the steps of the Portrait Gallery, and I made new friends. Learned how to find my way around, tried new restaurants, wandered around Silver Spring on my own.

Instead of being lost inside the metro stations, now, I give other people directions. I must look a) nice b) friendly and c) like I know where I'm going, since I feel like I spend most of my time there pointing people in the right direction. I like to brag that I could be dumped anywhere in the county and be able to find my way home. And...in all of this finding the city, and making it mine, I have found my way home.

I like to tell people I live within pissing distance of the DC border, which is definitely true. I live as close to the border as I can, literally across the street. Montgomery County's public school system is amazing and I need that for my daughter...but I'd love to live in the city. My roommate and I have talked about moving into Rockville, but she said that DC is like a security blanket to her, and she wants to be close to it. I know exactly how she feels.

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