If you think I’m wrong, say so, but I’d suggest that it’s a lot easier to talk about why you dislike something than why you hate something. Hate or simple dislike is easy. One or two things bug you enough that it outweighs your enjoyment, and identifying them is simple. After all, they’re eating at you. Love and like are harder. People, meals, paintings, songs, places… we love them not for that one trait, that particular spice, that bassline, but because they add up to something more.
I’m having that problem telling you what it is that I love about DC. I could fill your screen with all the things here that delight me, but I don’t think that would really answer the question. Besides, so many things you could respond by saying “you could have that lots of places.” For instance – having grown up in Miami, I can put seasons near the top of the list. I think those of you who grew up seeing fall colors don’t fully grasp the magic. There’s a subtlety to the change that sneaks up on me. Perhaps it’s different for some of you, but every April I have a moment where I suddenly realize I can’t see through that cluster of trees – where’d those leaves come from all of a sudden?
Some things are a little more specifically regional, like Maryland Blue Crab. More specific to us, I love the Smithsonian, not just because it’s wonderful, but because it has completely ruined me for museums everywhere else I travel in the world. Wait, I have to pay to get in? Are you nuts? The way I feel when I look down the mall and see the Washington Monument, which in my six years here I don’t think has ever failed to make me smile… can I even claim that a feeling is a reason? That’s like saying I love DC because I love DC.
Maybe that is the reason. I love it because it’s never stopped giving me things about it to love. Weather, museums, scenic vistas, music, theater, sports, events… Its no different than loving a person – you could certainly get some or all of those things elsewhere, but that entire package together in that ratio is unique, and it keeps giving. The most recent treasure DC gave me was that my darling girlfriend agreed to become my darling fiancée here – on the under-appreciated Roosevelt Island – and that’s going to be a hard one to top.
But I’ve got faith.