Getting Around: Things You Need To Know

Touron season is over, but for anyone who has recently moved to the DC area, or anyone who is considering it, I present the following helpful navigational information, which I got in an email this morning:
First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is D.C., or “the District.” Only tourists call it Washington.
Next, if your road map of Montgomery County is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. It’s obsolete. If in Loudoun or Fairfax County your map is one day old, it’s already obsolete.
There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in D.C. It’s just another chase, usually on the B/W Parkway.
All directions start with “The Beltway” . . . which has no beginning and no end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by an “inner loop” and “outer loop” designation. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the Beltway.
The morning rush “hour” is from 5 to 11 AM. The evening rush “hour” is from 1 to 8 PM. Friday’s rush hour starts Thursday morning, especially during the summer on Route 50 eastbound.
If there is a ball game at the Redskins stadium, there is no point in driving anywhere near PG County. Tip: Never say PG County to anyone from Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro or Fort Washington. They’ll blow a vessel in their neck and go into a seizure.
If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and shot at. If you run the red light, be sure to smile for the $100 “picture” you will receive courtesy of DMV. (However, if you don’t go as soon as the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages, none of them English.)
Rain causes an immediate 50-point drop of IQ in drivers. Snow causes an immediate 100-point drop in IQ and a rush to the Giant for toilet paper and milk.
Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of scorn and cynical entertainment. It’s ironic that it’s called an “Interstate,” but runs only from Bethesda to Frederick. (Unless you consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opening in the 60′s, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since. Also, it has a “Spur” section, which is even more confusing.
All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, “Oh, we’re in Takoma Park.”
If someone actually has their turn signal on, they are by definition, a tourist. Car horns are actually “Road Rage” indicators. Heed the warning. All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way in the area of Leisure World.
Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross intersections. Don’t ask why, no one knows.
A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks will cost you 16.75. (It’s a zone thing, you wouldn’t understand)
Traveling south of DC on Interstate 395/95 is the most dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. There is nothing more comforting then seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph, BUMPER TO BUMPER!!!
The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy.
The Beltway is our daily version of a NASCAR reality show. Strap up and collect points as you go.
The open lane for passing on all Maryland and Virginia interstates is the far right lane because no self-respecting Marylander would ever be caught driving in the “slow” lane. Unofficially, both shoulders are fair game also.
The far left lanes on all Maryland and Virginia interstates are official “chat” lanes reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones.
Note: All mini-vans have priority clearance to use the far left at whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multitasking in.
If it’s 10 degrees, it’s Orioles’ opening day. If it’s 110 degrees, it’s the Skins’ opening day.
If the humidity is 90+ and the temperature is 90+, then it’s May, June, July, August and sometimes September.
If you go to a Skins football game, pay the $75.00 to park in the stadium lot. It’s cheaper then getting towed or a citation. By law, you’re not allowed to walk on the “public” roads around the stadium during game days.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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