Sunday, December 04, 2005

My ears pop as the Metro plunges under the Potomac. I find it something miraculous, the Metro: veins of the city. Trains are always pumping through tunnels, over bridges and under rivers, depositing would-be pedestrians across the entire DC metro area and finally surging back to Metro Center, the system’s most crucial artery. Today I am riding from Tenleytown to Rosslyn, and my ears are still popping as I climb from the depths of the station.
“Great, I thought,” I’m in Virginia now. It wasn’t exciting; DC is a boring enough place in itself, but rarely does leaving the District equate with transcending the state of life within it. Rosslyn strikes me as a sort of piñata of a city; it appears to be something on the surface, but when you get right up close you see it’s hollow. Empty after five in the afternoon, save a few apartment buildings, Rosslyn’s charm was inextricably linked to the number of fast-food chains located within it. Wow, I thought, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, McDonalds, Burger King and Chipotle all within a fifteen-minute walk of each other.
A giant tobacco shop—more of a tobacco emporium, really—and a bookstore seemed to encompass literally everything else in this desolate, empty city. The bookstore was amusing enough, but I still felt that I’d wasted a few hours when I found the Courthouse Metro stop; I had indeed walked from one stop to another without finding anything of significant interest.
The landscape was quickly degenerating from the quasi-urban feel of Rosslyn to true suburbia, and I knew it was time to go. I looked down the street, and I actually caught a glimpse of the Capitol. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to get back into DC when I felt my ears popping under the Potomac again.

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