It seems like we’re always going somewhere. As in, “Oh what a cool building, but dang, I’m late for little Sally’s ballet recital. I’ll come back though.” Then you’re eighty-two years old and look back on a lifetime of missed opportunities like a bad Twilight Zone episode.
But wait, there’s hope. It doesn’t have to be this way!
I know that the worst thing that could possibly happen in Washington, DC is that someone think you are not busy. Yes, you’re right to catch your breath at the very thought. The very IDEA! Just hear me out.
Talking time to walk around the city and not talk on your phone can be absolutely restorative. It
allows you to see things you notice but never consider. You can look at and listen to other people and think about them (gasp again!). Just staying in one spot and listening to other people’s phone conversations as they Doppler-like come in and out of range is a delightful stream-of-consciousness experience. It also reminds me to not talk so loud about stupid, stupid things in public.
For example, I encourage taking two or three hours to walk up and down one street in the city. Just one street, don’t make plans, don’t go anywhere in particular, just look around. This week, I left work and knew I had some time before I should be back in U Street, so I walked south on 14th Street, NW, all the way to N and back.
I plopped in fabulous and super-comfortable leather chairs at a furniture and design store for people with good taste and lots and lots of money. I sat outside MidCity Caffe (and Miss Pixie’s, sadly, closed on Mondays) and overtly read the paper to disguise my covert eavesdropping. I picked up a delicious salad at HomeMade Pizza Company ($3 on Mondays and was something not Starbucks or Caribou). I looked around the art galleries (there are many: Transformer, Irvine, Adamson, Plan B, and I’m sure others). I got kicked out of Pulp at closing time, just as I was appreciating their selection of literature.
I did other things, had other experiences just in the space of a few hours, and still arrived in time to hear about the Container Project at the Pink Line Project’s Salon Contra (if you don’t know what any of that means, please, sign up to come to these, they are wonderful).
So yeah. Refreshing. Invigorating. Makes me not want to be rude to tourists on the Metro. I recommend it–walking around, no plans, no phone. Also, Corcoran Street is the most beautiful street in the city.