Thursday, April 7, 2011

No, I'm Not Leaving D.C. Anytime Soon

As I was being walked to the Metro by a guy I met at an event this week, he asked me how long I'd lived in the area.  I experienced a bit of a shock when I realized that I've been here almost 12 years.  It really doesn't feel like it's been that long.

Not to sound so cliche', but it's like it was only yesterday that I transferred most of the contents of my dorm room to an old blue Jeep Cherokee and made the trip up I-95 to the Beltway.  Time has really flown, but I feel like I'm five years younger than my actual age.  Maybe my recent career change has something to do with the youthful mindset.  Two close acquaintances recently asked me if I was planning on moving anytime soon.

I provided my traditional response:  Unless an amazing opportunity opens up on a lovely tropical island, or in South America, maybe even Barcelona or London, I'm staying put.  You see, with the exclusion of Las Vegas and Austin, I've traveled to most of the cities that I care to see in the U.S.  Each of the major metros either lacked something or had non-negotiable annoyances.

For instance, Chicago's a great city, and has the friendliest, most down-to-earth brothers anywhere, but it lacks a reasonable amount of heat for about six months of the year.  I felt like crying while trudging to the EL with luggage during a ridiculously windy snowstorm...  

I could definitely live in Brooklyn (loved a friend's apt. in the Fort Greene area) for a few months or so, but would have to break out of the urban cocoon often to see some greenery and breathe clean air.  Also, waiting in NYC's underground stations for trains during the summer is the closest I've been to experiencing actual torture.

San Francisco is gorgeous, but I didn't see enough Black folks downtown.  More than that, I don't think I could deal with earthquakes and the extremely high cost of living.

Atlanta, the Negro mecca, is too close to home,  it takes at least 45 min around the Perimeter to get anywhere because of urban sprawl, and it also doesn't have enough variety in terms of nightlife and cultural events.  I remember going to a club there where they were charging $20 to get in, but letting brothers in wearing white tees and least we keep it classy and sexy here. 

Last but not least, I spent more than enough time in Miami (internship) and L.A. to determine that they're good for vacation purposes only--traffic's a nightmare, the summer heat is brutal, and it was also difficult to ID their centers of African-American nightlife. 

For me, D.C. still offers the perfect mix of urban and suburban.  We probably have the highest concentration of college-educated and middle-class brothers and sisters on the planet.  The quality of life here is very unique.  There's so many museums, and there's always new restaurants and lounges opening up in the inner loop.  The Metro is fairly easy to use for work or play, and it goes to most of the fun spots of the city.  Also, after hearing the dating travails of my friends in other cities, I feel like I'm more likely to stumble upon the future husband here than anywhere else...

The week I've had is an illustration of the rich diversity and amazing cultural offerings (often free!) that keep me here.
  • Friday:  I went to the free Arts, Beats + Lyrics event sponsored by Jack Daniels.  It took place in the elegant Andrew Mellon auditorium.  Art inspired by hip-hop was scattered throughout the space, drinks were free, the DJs played hit after hit, and DC's "beautiful people" were definitely in the building--more quality brothers there than I've seen all winter!  I was feeling the vibe, rocking my Chloe'-inspired black "leather" shorts and tights ensemble. ;)
  • Saturday--could've gone to Cherry Blast, a unique arts event on the waterfront, but came down with a major allergy attack and stayed in.
  • Monday:  Went to Busboys and Poets for a TransAfrica forum on the struggles of people of African descent in Venezuela.  It featured a great video presentation by Howard U's Cimarrones group.
  • Tuesday:  Headed to Georgetown U for their literary symposium, "Writing Dangerously in Immigrant America."  Junot Diaz, one of my favorite writers, read from his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  I was geeked to actually be able to speak to him in person and have Oscar and Drown signed at the reception.  Such an inspiration...
  • Wednesday:  Attended a large non-traditional church service tailored to young adults (21-40).  The place was packed, and while I was there to serve the Lord, I couldn't help but notice that there was a fairly high number of attractive, well-dressed guys there to do the same.
Enjoyed it all, and it's proof that there's no excuse for anybody to be ignorant, boring or anti-social in D.C.  I don't know what I'm doing tonight, but I'm likely headed to see Rashaan Patterson at The Park on Fri.

My feelings may change about the area after I've settled down with a hubby and a papoose, but the inner loop suits me just fine for now.  Have a fabulous week.

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