Ah, D.C.

I went home to D.C. earlier this week because I hadn’t been home in a year and wanted to preempt the “You haven’t been home in such a long time!” that I knew would be forthcoming from my mother within the next month or two.

I had also looked at my schedule and realized the unlikelihood of being able to travel that far from California except for Thanksgiving (when I’m already committed to Atlanta) and Christmas (same, except Connecticut).

California to anywhere east of Denver, I’ve realized, is going to be a major pain in the ass, involving red-eye flights and very large amounts of time spent on airplanes. Which everyone loves, right? Riiiiiiight.

On the other hand, it’s really not that hard to get to D.C. from Chicago. It’s an hour and a half flight, and taking ATA puts me at National (i’m sorry, I refuse to call it Reagan National), which is much closer to home than Dulles or, god forbid, Baltimore-Washington International.

For all the hype Southwest tries to give flying into BWI as a way to get to D.C. cheaply a good name, it makes about as much sense as flying to Milwaukee to get to Chicago. Which is to say: None.

The one thing that’s kind of silly about National is that because you fly directly over, among other things, CIA Headquarters and the Pentagon, and are right across the river from the Washington Historical Building and Object District, you’re required to remain seated for the last 30 minutes flying in and the first 30 flying out.

They do this because they pretend there’s not an Air Marshall on every flight into and out of D.C. who will fucking shoot you if you even think about trying anything.

But they’re dead serious. I know a couple people whose flights got diverted to Dulles because some idiot got up to use the bathroom after the “sit!” command came down.

Anyway, the thing that kind of sucks about going home is that almost nobody from high school actually lives there anymore, even for the summer. Granted, I talk to about two people from high school on a regular basis, but it kind of sucks that I only really got out of the house for one day (thanks, Joanna!).

The upside is that now I have college friends living there, in the personages of Coop and Lindsay, Cooper having grown up in D.C. and moved back last week to work for mcpaper.com (kidding, Coop!)

It’s nice to be able to bring the little gossip about our college friends I’m clued in on to other cities and make it seem like I’ve turned into a vast font of gossip, since being in a different city has a tendency to cut you out of the loop entirely.

It was also good to see my mom. I’ve realized I can finally get along with my mom, albiet only at four day intervals wherein I spend much of the time asleep. But it’s still a big step that we can not have a major argument over the course of four days.

This was also the first time I went “home” to my mom’s new house. Home for me will always be the house I grew up in, and it’ll take a lot the next time I’m driving in D.C. not to have my car go on autopilot to the old place.

Her new place is really nice though. The old house was way too much house and yard for just my mom, and her condo + big garden is the right balance of big enough to keep her occupied, but not big enough to occupy contractors as well.

She bought the place from this very nice couple of gay guys who loved two things (and not the Margaret Cho line about ass and Judy Garland): 1. beige 2. granite. The kitchen has more granite in it than I’ve ever seen in one place. They covered the damn walls with it.

The rest of the house is very beige, or at least off-white. My mom has improved this significantly with what I’ve realized is a rather unusually large collection of Asian art. Well, at least unusual for someone who’s not actually, you know, Asian.

The other thing that I noticed about mom’s new place is that the average age of her neighbors is about 108. She’s definitely the youngest person I saw there by at least a decade.

This strikes me as amusing, especially in conjunction with the observation that my dad’s neighbors in Atlanta are all at least two decades younger than him. It fits well with their percieved ages: Mom acts like she’s already an old lady, whereas dad acts like he’s fifteen.

The other main observation I had about home was that I’ve really gotten way too used to the Central Time Zone, and its intricacies of having everything on an hour earlier. This probably only applies to me because of my ridiculous television-watching habits, but bear with me.

I’ve realized what a timing difference it makes when you’re able to go out and have dinner and be back before the start of prime time, even if you don’t leave immediately at 5pm. You actually feel like you’re doing less when you’re back to watch television.

You also don’t feel like you’re staying up as late at midnight, because you’re like, hey, the late local news just ended. I still get to fuck around for another hour before I go to bed! And you go to bed an hour later anyway.

Anyway, that’s pretty much the long and short (but mostly long) of my trip to D.C. Didn’t go to any museums, saw a total of three friends, spent an awful lot of time with my mom, and innoculated myself against having to go back anytime soon.

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