Living in DC means many things, but one is for certain — tourists. They come and go, and they will always come and go, so why get upset when they get in the freaking way? They are grown adults (for the most part) and they know what they can do to not be irritating and intrusive, but they choose not to.
My thoughts towards tourists have takes a decidedly benign turn lately. Walking in Union Station yesterday, I saw a middle-aged woman walking with her husband and teenage son. They were doing the usual tourist walk — walking in a clump in the middle of the hallway full of foot traffic, talking loudly and pointing at various Starbucks, Great American Cookie and Haagen Dazs counters.
The only thing different about this situation was that the woman had a large baggage sticker stuck to the back of her head. Now what would you do? A month or two ago, I would have chuckled to myself and walked on, “Silly tourists, with silly stickers in their silly hair.” But instead I tapped her on the shoulder (keeping my distance in case she lashed out with an elbow against the big city stranger) and said, “Did you know you have a sticker in your hair?” She reached back for it and then playfully slapped her husband on the shoulder for putting it there. See? The tourists are real people too! I had no idea!
I have been amused, irritated, disgusted, and then amused again by the tourists. Though this weekend marks a time when most DC residents are grinding their teeth at the presence of thousands of Glenn Beck (what kind of foaming idiot spells Glenn with two n’s anyway?) fans mobbing our precious Mall, I am trying to realize that they’re not going to change and the best thing I can do is be cordial and have an escape plan. Today I will be in the far reaches of Virginia at a large Korean spa complex, the Tea Party the furthest thing from my mind.