Washington to Washington

My journey from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC. When we moved here we began to discover the differences from the west coast and the east coast--and I'm not talking about the music. It's a fun look at the differences and prespectives from one Washington to the other.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Entourage

Odin and I decide to avoid the weekend movie crowd and opt to see a flick on a Wednesday. I highly recommend this if you can; you get the theater to yourself, fresh popcorn, and no lines.

Our theater was virtually empty, a few other couples that also escaped mundane primetime television and a few solos that probably couldn’t get their ladies to sit through a pseudo-kung fu movie. (Maybe didn’t tell them that Jason Statham was in the film – that pretty much did it for me.)

Minutes before the lengthy previews, a crowd of ‘rowdy’ teenagers came in and planted themselves in the front rows. Cheering and jeering at each preview and commercial. Okay, they weren’t that bad, but they weren’t subtle.

As we were leaving and reflecting on the special effects; the teenagers loudly gave their reviews of the flick, which I happen to agree with – yes, Statham could have taken off his shirt a bit more.

Anyhow, as we walked to the car, a security detail with blacked-out Suburbans and towncars pulled up. Odin and I joked about who may be still shopping at ten o’clock at night.

To our surprise, we watched the ‘rowdy’ teenagers pile into the SUV’s.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

There’s no such thing as fashion in 14 degrees

Walking from the office to my car is always an interesting observation in fashion.

My office building is not in the District; however, it is on the Metro line and in a “revamped” city on the boarder. Therefore, there are many hipsters, federal employees, and high power executives walking through the building’s courtyard to either catch the next train or working in the area. Needless to say, there is a variety of fashion coming and going to entertain my walk.

Yesterday, I noticed a pretty girl in boots with her pants tucked into them, a lightweight ‘designer’ coat, and a beanie that was clearly for looks and not for warmth. She was complaining to her walking companion that she was freezing. I had to roll my eyes.

Personally, when the weather is below 30 degrees, I usually try to dress appropriately: warm coat, scarf, gloves, proper footwear, etc. I even have a different coat for different weather conditions, i.e. snow, rain, artic wind. Nevertheless, many women around here walk around in clothes that barely warm keep their coffee warm.

I joked with my mom, “there is no such thing as fashion when it’s cold outside.” Her response was, “well, not when you are on the east coast.” She was right, but I have to disagree. I’m wearing my big, ugly, “Seattle brand” coat, my “snow shoes” (not heels) and a hat that covers my ears!


Friday, November 17, 2006

A Straight Line

The closest distance between two points is a straight line. Sure, that makes sense, EXCEPT when you are jaywalking.

Around my office building, jaywalking is about as common as Starbucks coffee. I understand that in most States jaywalking is against the law. If fact, a pedestrian automatically gives up their right-a-way when they do not use the crosswalk when crossing a street, with certain expectations like blindness.

Well, Maryland would make bundles over here!

What the scariest part is people still jaywalk during rainstorms, night, fog, etc. With how crazy everyone drives around here, it worries me that someone may get hit.

A few weeks ago, a 25-year-old jaywalker was hit and killed by a car.

Instead of assuming everyone are idiots around here, I attribute the jaywalking to the intense rhythm of DC.

Everyone is always in hurry. They are in a hurry to get to work, to the gym, getting their kids, to the mall, to the movies, etc. It’s a wonder that I don’t hear more about jaywalkers getting hit by cars. Everyone is in such in a hurry that they can’t wait 60 seconds for the light. 60 seconds between life and death. That’s it. One minute. It took someone dying to make people wake up.

For about a week.

At work, I am made fun of a lot because of my relaxed “Northwest” ways; like waiting for the light. In fact, I am one of the only ones who make their deadlines and often get my work done early, but I never rush. I plan. I don’t expect the team to redo their work because I did not do my job correctly. Moreover, I don’t expect for a driver to stop because I’m crossing through the median. Maybe if we all plan, we don’t have to be in a hurry.

Sometimes the straight line isn’t the safest path.

Monday, November 06, 2006

That was me…then.

Living in the DC area I was expecting to see people everywhere shouting to “Get out the Vote,” “Rock the Vote”, “Vote or Die”, “Vote for Me! Don’t vote for Them!” But, today was rather quiet. Even at my Starbucks, everyone was talking about other things.

When elections come around it always reminds me of high school. Not because I was Class President, far from it in fact. But what were these people, who are professing that they will change the world if we check their box, like in high school? Were they that annoying know-it-all? Or the shy beatnik in the back of the drama class? Or the Homecoming Queen with the spotty reputation? Or were they the nice guy that transferred from the rival school?

I was none of those, I was a geek.

Not the cool kind of nerd that played D & D or RISK, and was in the honor classes.

No. I was in Colorguard/Band.

This label at my high school in Southern California equaled: Outcast.

The funny thing is if you asked me right out high school if I was popular or a nerd I would say, “I was neither, but I knew a lot of people.” This, of course, line is universal for: “I was a NOBODY, but I don’t want YOU to know that!”

The reality of where I fell in my high school caste system came down a few years before my 10 year high school reunion. I was at a Hollywood club with my friend Matt and few of his film school buddies. One of his classmates brought a fellow future filmmaker Lance Weber. Now, I knew “of” Lance from high school. He was part of the popular crowd in the year before me. When I mentioned that I knew him and that we went to the same high school, he, of course, looked dumbfounded.

“Really? Were you a cheerleader?” Lance asked.
“Umm, no.” I replied.
“Student Union?”
“No. I was on the colorguard.”
“You were part of the DOG SQUAD??” Lance yelled and laughed.

I mortified. Three years of my high school career was quickly defined as the ‘dog squad years.’ I knew I should have listened to my other friends, who lived by my dad, NOT to gone out for the tall flag team.

Lance saw my face fall and tried to recover just as quickly. “But, YOU are not a DOG! I mean, most of those girls were UGLY! I mean COYOTE UGLY! But not you! I mean…”
“Hey buddy! Those girls are still my friends!!” That of course changed just as fast. I found out later, “those girls” used to call me slut behind my back, according to Mark Peet who used to play Baritone. (Which was funny, because I never had a boyfriend in high school?)

When my invitation to my 10 year reunion came, I declined.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sometimes You Can Trust a Stranger

I always hate when the time returns to standard time; mostly because it's dark when I'm walking to my car. The parking garage is well-lit and my self defense instincts are good, you know not talking on the phone, being aware of my surroundings, walking in pairs if possible.

Living in Seattle for so long I think my "city instincts" have soften, because I didn't notice the guy that was following me out of my building. When I stopped to tie my shoe and get my keys, he stopped and waited for me. I didn't noticed until I stopped at the mailbox, when he waited for me again.

Call me paranoid, but I felt I needed to do something to get him off my tail. As I started again, I was thinking of returning to the building and waiting, but it was too late for that. Then I saw a tall guy on a cell phone by the mailboxes. I walked up to him and went into my bag to look for my phone. I made a joke about how I am "always losing my phone, you know?" I stared at him, then glanced at the guy behind me, then looked at him again. I was hoping he got my message. He did. He smiled and nodded.

The guy that was following me kept walking. I thanked the tall man and he said, "No problem!" he gave me a wave. I began my trek to the parking garage. I kept the man that was following me ahead of me by a block.

I checked back to see the tall man's ride come to pick him up. I thanked him silently again as I walked safety to my car.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Causal Weekends

Last night at a dinner party a few of us girls were all discussing their favorite designer labels and where they all shop. We all were shocked to find out that each of us is completely ignored at our favorite “high-end” shops. No, I do not want to be dotted upon while I shop, however unlocking a dressing room or finding my size in the back would be helpful.

My husband and I fell victim to this unaccommodating behavior when we were at Brooks Brothers. In fact, every time we go into Brooks Brothers - Tysons. All the sales people would open rooms, get sizes, and be friendly to the other shoppers and we would walk around with our hands full in search of an open dressing room. When we finally walked up to pay (none of the other shoppers purchased anything) they almost seemed amazed that my credit card went through. Unbelievable! I would quit shopping there, but I love their clothes for work.

After I relayed my story to the other girls at the party, they all began giving a list of the “high-end” stores that seem notorious for this behavior: Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Saks, Chanel (also at Tysons). Each of us hold professional jobs; a college professor, an attorney, a film producer, and a corporate statistician, however we still get treated like we made a wrong turn into their store.

The Verdict: We all don’t look like our professional jobs.

All week long all of us wear suits or something along the lines of business wear, also high heels and the dreadful panty hose. On the weekends, it is time for jeans, flip-flops, and college sweatshirts or old Roxy shirts. I am not going to doll-up to go to the MALL! We are not on 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive. And even if I was, I am still not wearing heels!

All around the Galleria these women are dotting their Chloe’ bags and wearing more makeup than I wear all week.

IT’S STILL THE MALL! The mall! The mall where we used to go and pick up a cassette single and Orange Julius! The mall where we had to work at night and on the weekends for minimum wage. The mall that still houses The Gap, Wet Seal, and Payless Shoes!

In Seattle, Melinda Gates shops at the mall in JEANS! (I know, I used to work at the Nordstrom she shopped at.)

Why do we have to dress up on the weekends?

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Monday, August 07, 2006

How do you like it so far?

It’s been 6 months since moving to the DC Metro area. I still am asked, “Am I still used to it yet?” “How do you like it out there?” “Do you want to move back to Seattle?”

My answers: Sort of. It’s nice. Not really, at least not right now.

In fact, I don’t hate it out here; it’s quite lovely. I’m originally from Los Angeles, so it’s nice to be back in a large city, especially the nation’s capital. There are many things to see and tons of stuff to do.


HOME: Great! We have made our little apartment homey and are beginning to enjoy the amenities of our complex.

WORK: Great! I am in a new job with a great company and good co-workers. Granted it’s been a little quiet with many people escaping for vacation, but I can’t complain, I think this is a good fit.

METRO: Well, I don’t ride anymore. It is actually cheaper for me to drive to work and quicker. I opted for the 25-minute drive into Maryland from Fairfax to the hour and a half ride from taking the Metro.

COST: DC is a lot cheaper than Seattle. Yes, it’s true. I think because there are a lot more choices than Seattle. You don’t have to choose among the 5 good restaurants, instead you have several dozens. The museums, art shows, some parking, and sales tax (4%), most of this stuff is free. Even the rent is pretty good for what you get.

TRAFFIC: The traffic is not bad at all, the beltway may have more volume, but it moves. Again, I’m a native Southern Californian so I have seen real traffic.


FRIENDS: Well, that has not changed. Because of how much Odin works, I spend a lot of time alone. I have used that time to explore, so when we get to have a free night together or an entire weekend; I can show him my “research.”

PEOPLE: That is an interesting situation. I consider myself a generally friendly person. In fact, I have never been accused of being shy. However, striking up conversations with strangers has been interesting. Something as little as holding a door open to standing in line, I have noticed that East Coasters enjoy their own company – for a lack of a better term.

For instance, today, I politely mentioned to the man standing in the elevator that his shoes were untied. He gruffed and said, “Yeah, I KNOW!” This is not uncommon. I have noticed that many people are very pushy, very loud, and seem to feel they are the “most important person” around—mostly to the amount of limos and blackout town cars that are about town.

However, I have run into some downright lovely people. At my last position, a woman that was applying to replace me enjoyed our conversation so much that she actually invited me to meet her and some friends for a movie. No, she was not a local; she was from the West and knew how hard it was to meet people.

I still have hope.