I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Welcome for @jenniferparker3 or A Dirty Dozen Ways to Assimilate to Washington, DC

I’m going to show my blerd (black+nerd=blerd) side and quote the Borg.

“Resistance is futile.” 

@KGDC1 and I meet for coffee at Tynan Coffee & Teahouse (NOMA) to turn our Twitter Friendship into a real life one. 

Yeah Twitter connecting people!

We were discussing who from Twitter we had actually meet in real life when KG mentioned that @JenniferParker3 was moving to DC in less than a month. I said we should give her a welcome present of things you need to know living in DC. A primer of the quickest way to assimilate to living and working in Washington, DC. 

Here are Washington, DC native @KGDC1 and my picks for the easiest assimilation:

1.   Walk Left, Stand Right – WMATA or Metro escalator etiquette that will have you yelled at by locals who have had or will have a hectic commute or rough day at work or trying to jump the last few escalator steps to catch the train. Don't worry soon, you will be the irate local yelling at the tourists to "We walk on the left and stand shooting the shit on the RIGHT." Yes, I do it too. You'll also be irrationally angry at people who block the entire escalator with their oversize luggage and strollers.

2.  Always carry a reusable fold-able shopping tote in your purse/backpack at all times; in DC a plastic or brown paper bag will cost you five cents a bag. A nickel a day will add up to $18.25 a year. Don't be the lady juggling three bottles of juice, a bag of pretzels and a CVS receipt walking down Pennsylvania Avenue. I have witnessed this too many times to count. 

3.  Don’t block the Box. The box is found at the intersection of DC streets where the crosswalk lines merge. Be cognizant of being over the lines and into the intersection. (this is a ticket-able offense many red light camera systems will issue ticket for running the light).

4. Learn that parking is a combat sport, and that the signs are designed to confuse you. 

5.  No matter what your coworkers say…It isn’t possible to go to Horace & Dickies between 10:30am and 2pm on a Friday and not wait. Unless you are a Horace or a Dickie there is no cutting the out-the-door-line. 

The same can be said for Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, VA whose popularity went to atmospheric proportions after a visit by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

6.  Never go to the Department of Motor Vehicle location at 1205 Brentwood Road, NE. Go to 95 M Street, SW instead, larger and faster service.  

7.  Always keep at least 50 business cards on you. It never fails if I pass out one card - I’ll end up passing out 10 because DC people love having a large contact list. You can double your followers by adding your Twitter username to your business card – DC is the USA's Most Socially Networked City

8.  All DC Public Libraries have free Wi-Fi. In addition, if you hold a library card in DC, Maryland and Virginia then you can use the neighboring libraries for services (this becomes especially useful as many of the libraries had to cancel or limit their Sunday hours due to budget shortfalls. Apply online for your DC library card here.

9. Joyfully attend but be aware that any free event advertised on the radio, newspaper (Express, Examiner, Post, City Paper) will be overrun with [a] interns; [b] families with potentially poorly behaved children; and/or [c] creeps. 

10.  Do not use the standard white iPhone/iPod earbuds. This marks you as a target for thieves {read Another iPhone snatching on Metro yesterday} or check the WMATA crime statistics if you don’t believe me. Always be aware of your surroundings when on public transportation. As foolish as it may sound you want to be inconspicuous as possible on public transportation. 

11.  Pick a food truck favorite and be prepared to debate/defend it fiercely. Food truck debates are replacing sports team debates in DC. So much so that there was even a March Madness type bracket picking death match sponsored by the Washingtonian. (wait until there is no football to tame the savage beast). The unofficial rules are in picking a food truck are that you are allowed one savory (meat) and one sweet (dessert) to be your favorite. You can follow most if not all of the DC area food trucks on Twitter using DC Food Truck Fiesta’s Twitter List.

12. Your first few months all the way up to your first year will be hectic. You won't get to explore half as much as you will want. For the 1st year, stay in town on Holidays instead of rushing home. Play tourist in your new city while it has emptied of people...lines will be shorter; crowds thinner. 


  1. Oh my goodness!!!!! This is fabulous!! I can't wait to share it all with my family. I am laughing and taking warning all at the same time! This is the coolest welcome gift EVER!!! Thank you!

  2. That was the whole point to laugh and learn. Welcome to DC! We will have to meet for coffee or tea one day once you are settled.

  3. KGDC1 and I go waaay back, like way, way, way! And she led me to your blog, which I really have enjoyed, and as a Surburbanite mom of 7, I needed some of that advice! The iPod/iPhone earphone thing...I would have been the one on the metro doing that.  I get the escalator advice, Woodley Park Zoo escalator with non-conformists, ugh.  Follow me at twitter: annaquilts....and my blog, tho still under construction, www.bohemianjourney.com


  4. I love this post!  I just graduated college and dream of moving to DC and work.  


  5. Thanks, there are about 100 more things I want to add but these are the basics.