12/4/14

The District Sleeps (Alone) Tonight . . .

Definitive proof that my phone camera sucks. Hard.
In February, 2003, The Postal Service (as in "Such Great Heights" vs. Such Slow Delivery) released their debut album "Give Up". It was one of those CDs that I just sort of "had" to own. It had some good buzz about it and all that stuff but there was a track on it ("The District Sleeps Alone Tonight") that I simply loved .

If you listen to it now (go ahead - the name above will link to the video) it feels really dated but, at the time, it was really "fresh" and wonderful (it is still, in its defense, pretty wonderful). It told the story of a boy who's girlfriend had left him to move to The District (or DC, or Washington, DC, or the city, or Crazy Town (depending on which vernacular you like - I always preferred "DC" (personally))).

How could I relate to that? Because I was so in love with The District in 1997 that I left my friends at college a semester early (that is as close as I come to being "the girl" leaving "the boy") for DC. The politics, the history, the art, the culture, the food, the wonderful, eclectic city. It was - and remains - truly amazing.

I will probably never forget my first night in town.

It was January, 1998. I was with my parents and we drove down to find confusion awaiting me at the dorms at The George Washington University and I was not sure I should stay at all (they had no idea who I was much less where to put me and I was not sure if I wanted to figure that out AFTER my parents left (I was an adult in age - not maturity)). Anywho . . . we went to dinner with my father's cousin (who worked for THE Washington Post) and she drove us around after and told me of a thing called "Potomac Fever".

Now I have never met anyone else in/around DC that has ever even heard of Potomac Fever but here is how it played in her mind - it is a "sickness" that comes over people drawn to DC.

You know you have it, she explained, when you drive by the Capitol rotunda at night and feel awe and power and might and want. She was sure - and I agree - it was the best disease in the world (next to Lupus - I kid. Eff Lupus). She said that the interesting twist to Potomac Fever is that the minute you don't have it (you are not impressed by our seat of power under the flood lights) you should up and leave town. IMMEDIATELY.

I am traveling for business and I drove and walked around DC last night and I can assure you I am still deep in the throws of the ailment.

It was an odd night. I drove by the restaurant where I met my first DC crush (we dated for a few months but I was never really sure if she actually cared about me or not - it didn't matter much. I was very taken by her wit, charm, intelligence, and how she kissed et al) and the places we had our first few dates. I walked by the place where I first met my ex-wife. We all know how that worked out but what a heady evening it was. I walked around GW's campus. I walked by the White House and then by the building where I used to work and around Chinatown where I had so much fun and drove through Eastern Market where I lived.

DC has become a place for me to visit. A place no-longer "mine" but a place I borrow. A place I share with other tourists and, several times the last few years, my daughter. Makes sense that I share it with her. I've shared DC with just about all the other special women in my life.

I ended up in the front of our Capitol (it belongs to you and me, folks). I stood there, and stared up at the dome (covered, again, in ugly scaffolding) and did the only thing that made sense . . . snapped a photo to send to Special Lady Friend. We promised to plan a trip soon.

I lived in the DC for nearly seven years and the Baltimore 'burbs (still working in DC) for another two. I never shook Potomac Fever. I doubt I ever will. Too much wonderful stuff in my life started there.