August in DC is a relatively peaceful time. Congress is not in session, so a lot of
people go on vacation. Traffic is lighter and there is a general calmness around the
city. Even though all of the politicians have exited the city and returned to their hometowns for a bit, the same cannot be said for the tourists. While there are not as many as there are in the early summer months, they are still here, soaking up a bit of history so their kids can sound smart and report on something fun, exciting and educational during their summer vacation.
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about living in the DMV. DC truly is a beautiful and exciting city and I am blessed to call it home. There is so much diversity (of more than just race) and if you get bored in DC, it’s your own fault! But the biggest tradeoff to the beauty and the action are the tourists. They crack me up!
Neon is trendy these days, but when you see a drove of teenagers in neon green shirts coming straight at you, your first thought is not to comment on how on trend they are. Your “fight or flight” instinct kicks in. You immediately decide whether you are going to push your way through this inquisitive group of students wearing shirts the color of slime who are not paying one bit of attention to the fact that you are trying to get down the same side of the street they are, or if you are going to try to make a beeline to the other side of the street. You execute your big escape only to discover that on the other side of the street are a group of senior citizens on a leisurely stroll! SIGH.
Let’s just talk about tourist attire for a second. If you are a man, your khaki shorts and short sleeve shirt are just fine, but you look sort of ridiculous with 3 cameras around your neck, knee high white socks pulled all the way up, your perfectly white tennis shoes that you probably bought just for this trip, and your fanny pack. I know you are trying to be comfortable and I don’t blame you, but don’t you want to look nice in your photos? You look like you are struggling with all of that stuff! Now, I understand, your wife probably told you to carry all of it, so I shouldn’t judge you. And, the thought of looking fashionable in your photos never occurred to you! But, lighten the load and jazz up the outfit a little bit for the photo op! Then you can resume being a pack mule. And, your wife, who is wearing those shoes designed to help you lose weight makes me nervous. Those shoes make you slightly off-balance and there is lots of uneven payment in the DMV. She may end up with a broken ankle instead of a few pounds lighter. Just warning you!
And, there should be a tutorial in the Metro for the people new to DC public transportation. First of all, locals have some serious beef with Metro. You’d think the nation’s capital would have a stellar transportation system, but sadly, it gets worse everyday!! The tourists don’t make the experience anymore pleasant. Your ticket goes in the front and pops out the top! It is hilarious to watch tourists get completely confused by this fact. They put the ticket in the front and then stare at the slot for the ticket to be returned back to them. Poor things don’t realize if they just look up, they can retrieve their ticket and be on their merry way….if Metro is on time, not doing track work or breaking down somewhere!!
I travel a lot, so I am positive locals of other cities or countries get the same kick out of me making my way around their city! But, I will say, after spending 30 years observing DC tourists, I am more conscience of my behavior and my outfits…I try to be fashionably comfortable. Heaven forbid, a picture be ruined because I or someone in my family looks completely hideous in it! But regardless of you how look or behave, we’re happy to have you and happy to see you go! Welcome to DC – now get out of the way, I’ve got places to be!