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.

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.