As always when leaving DC, I find myself wondering if I should be moving back here. It’s not just about easy access to excellent pho and Ethiopian food (although that is a HUGE element in this city’s favor, let me be perfectly clear, and if there are any Indian restaurateurs interested in moving to rural Eastern Washington PM me, okay?), but also that there is some part of this Country Mouse that finds herself energized and invigorated by Big City life. I like the myriad specialty grocery shops that are still open in the middle of the night. I enjoy eavesdropping on conversations around me that reflect so many backgrounds and experiences. (I am an easily bored snoop, I need some diversity and excitement in my illicit spying.) I can breathe on DC’s broad streets, lined as they are with low buildings that allow sunshine and a nice breeze (and a needed one, the humidity—dear god the humidity). The part of me that forgets I am no longer really a runner is thrilled by the fact that there is a race here pretty much every weekend; probably four or five.
But then there is the traffic. And the noise. And the litter. There are the high rents, and the long lines at all those great restaurants. There is the “I am working harder than you are” attitude and the fact that shops have to be open in the middle of the night because people here routinely put in 60 hour weeks. Bringing a sick friend soup here might mean two Metro transfers. Bike rides here would come with the scent of neither freshly cut hay nor cow manure. There’s the fact that I can’t really see the stars at night here, or hear owls hooting or frogs singing. And did I mention the humidity?
As always when preparing to fly home from here, I am overcome with simultaneous feelings of anticipation and nostalgia, and gripped by a suspicion that I need to figure out whether, to quote Donny and Marie Osmond, I am a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll.
But for now I have a belly full of fine food, a suitcase full of sweaty filthy clothes, and a need to sleep in my own luxurious bed. Eventually. It's kind of an odyssey back to my little corner of the world. But this Country Mouse is on her way to what is, for the time being at least, home.