Guys, the truth is, I spent most of 2013 with my focus turned inward, ever since late January when the second line appeared on the stick. New bar opening? Whatever, I can’t drink. Food trucks? Sorry, gestational diabetes. Major database release at work? I’m going to be on leave for that entire quarter, suckers… Even the government shutdown barely registered since it started the day after we brought the Bridgelet home from the hospital. All of October is a blur of sleep deprivation and constant feelings of incompetence.
Still, in the middle of doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds and baby showers and midnight feedings and planning for daycare and college funds, I managed to pick my head up once in a while, and when I did, I found my love for DC being renewed all the time.
Some highlights, big and small…
Mika’s semi-acoustic (read: lower budget) North American tour came through DC for a show at Sixth & I. Watching your favorite artist step completely away from the microphone to sing your favorite (beautiful, wistful) song, completely unamplified, in a space designed to support it, is a transcendent experience. It’s possible I wept. I can neither confirm nor deny such reports. But how great is it to live in a city with a performance space like that?
Illicit neighborhood fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Some of my neighbors hate ‘em, and maybe now that I have a baby whose sleep can be disturbed I will too, but being able to look out our windows and see fireworks in every direction feels celebratory to me in a way that even being on the Mall to watch the national display just can’t match.
The surprising number of small kindnesses from strangers. I almost never had to stand on the Metro. The stranger who gave me her bottle of water when I wasn’t carrying cash and thus couldn’t buy water on a hot day from a vendor cart on the Mall. (Failure to carry either cash or water was not a mistake I repeated.) The number of people who offered me a place to rest or struck up conversations and showed me photos of their own kids. The bar and restaurant owners and staff who haven’t just tolerated our stroller or carseat, but welcomed the little guy sitting in it. (The proprietor of one new place may or may not have made me promise just last night to teach him to make balloon animals for when his establishment opens for weekend service and more families start coming.) I’ve always thought that the stereotype of DC being full of small people with a Beltway-inflated sense of self-importance was a trope propagated by overgrown, khakis-and-blue-blazer bros who project their own Beltway-blindness onto others, but even I was surprised at the amount of connection I’ve experienced daily this year.
Thanks for one of the best years of my life, DC. Looking forward to many, many more.