JFK once said “Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” I have grown up in this area for the majority of my life, and I recall fond memories of my childhood. Families and children gathering together in neighborhoods. Vacant roads. People leading a laid-back lifestyle. Overall, there was a sense of being content with life. Fancy that. We had something in common with those socialistic Europeans. You know. The ones that take too many vacations in a year.
But times change, and I no longer recognize my hometown. Over the last ten years, people have no desire to know their neighbors or get together as they once did. Casual meetings are now replaced with fixed appointments. Our roads are engulfed in endless traffic. On-going construction with no practical solutions or quick remedies in sight have not eased our suffering. The once renowned transportation system is overloaded and under-funded. Education, power, and money are on the agenda of all the new and soulless predators engulfing this town. New-Yorkers work hard and play hard. Washingtonians work hard, but have no time to play. If it’s not texting on the blackberry, discussing how to rip-off the government, then it’s the iPhone that keeps them occupied. It would be unfair to say people here don’t have manners. They just have no time to start a conversation. See, that takes an effort. And all the type-a individuals want to use their energy on getting more educated, obtaining a higher paying job, and volunteering themselves till the end of time. I suggest trying the Japanese art of origami. Maybe these folks can learn how to fold themselves to death.
DC has spent the last ten years transforming itself. Desperately trying to nudge its way into the ranks of a true world capital along side New-York, London, Paris, and Tokyo. But I think we need to slow down, and remember who we are. While change and progress are good, that should never involve surrendering our identity of being a city of “Southern efficiency and Northern charm.”