Most young professionals who live in DC, and many that don’t, recognize the city as a transient one. It’s often just a stop between places, not the one where you settle down. It’s also somewhat of a shock to hear someone say they’re from DC – because here, we’re all from somewhere else. Even now, after being here for a few years, I still say that I’m originally from Philly. Because I am.
But I’ve realized lately that being from DC can sometimes be relative.
Between econ classes, the majority of us trek across the street to Starbucks in order to refuel, and we’ve gotten to talking about specific programs we’ve signed up for, what we’re looking forward to and dreading about grad school, and what we’ve been up to around the city.
And the other day, I heard the following exchange:
Girl #1: “Have you heard about this little bar right by the school? Froggy Bottom Pub?”
Girl #2: “Oh my gosh, is that really what it’s called?”
Girl #1: “Yeah! Isn’t that funny? Just like Foggy Bottom!”
All the while I’m thinking, well, duh. That’s where we go after softball. And it’s right up the street from class – how could you have missed it?
Girl #1: “And have you checked out Eastern Market yet? It’s so cute, with these little produce stands, and all this stuff!”
Girl #2: “No! I’ve been meaning to get down there. That sounds so fun!”
Now, I realize that this would have been a perfect moment to go ahead and be friendly, and potentially end up giving helpful DC pointers. But I did interject after the first Froggy Bottom comment. (Not with what I was thinking, thank you very much, but with something very pleasant. Saying how much fun the bar was, how our team loves the bartender, etc.) And Girl #1, who was so excited about all these new things in DC that she’d just discovered, looked at me like I had just rained on her parade by even knowing about her new bar. So I stopped.
One of the guys had heard most of the exchange, and asked me how long I’d been in DC.
“Just about 3 years now.“
“Wow! So you’re a local!“
I can honestly say that that’s the first time anyone has ever called me a DC local. And that’s not a bad thing – compared to him and the other two girls in the exchange, I guess I am. But it just made Girl #1’s reaction even stranger. If you’re in a new city, don’t you want tips from a so-called local, even if you don’t plan on following any of them?
So much for being friendly.