By Kevin Maisto, Katie Allen, Manny Jacobson, and Taylor Larson
Our adventure to D.C. began with a set of guidelines– wear business professional, don’t put your metro card in the same pocket as your cell phone, and always pack an umbrella. Today’s Tour de D.C., however, taught us the unspoken rules of the city:
Stand Right, Walk Left
One hasn’t experienced true sass until you’ve heard “EXCUSE ME” while riding on a D.C. escalator. One of the most fundamental unspoken rules of D.C. includes the simple stand right, walk left procedure. The D.C. Metro, which is a leading method of transportation, is full of the bustle of the diverse group of individuals. It is easy to tell who is a true Washingtonian by their knowledge of this basic rule.
Quite simply, regardless of the length of the escalator (and there are many variations), if you are planning to merely stand and ride, you must remain to the right. The left side of the escalator is used for those to move more quickly around the metro area – people who will NOT hesitate to brush you aside to get to their destination.
After this, navigating the Metro became a fairly pleasant experience (on the right side of the escalator).
However, we were disappointed to discover that the infamous Metro stop from House of Cards where *spoiler alert* Frank kills Zoe does not actually exist.
“Iowa Nice” People
Midwesterners are characteristically “nice.” We continually utter apologies for merely taking up space, making room for others on skinny sidewalks, and holding doors for every last person coming into Starbucks behind us. In D.C., however, we were warned of the fast-paced lifestyles of those who are only looking to get from Point A to Point B.
Fortunately for us, these people are few and far between.
From the group of natives who helped us find (the rather small) Sonny Bono Park to the older woman who kindly asked about our Drake gear, there were several people who took time out of their Sundays to have conversations with a few (sometimes lost) tourists.
Off the Beaten Path
Amongst the most popular monuments, we were surprised by the many interesting finds everywhere we looked. Beyond simply the White House, Capitol Building, and the Washington Monument, we stopped and visited statues for Albert Einstein and the Temperance Movement. There are also large office buildings and a great deal of residential sights.
As a tourist in D.C., be sure to notice far more than the monuments on the National Mall.
Why So Serious?
In a city surrounded by some of the nation’s most influential people, it is easy to get caught up in the serious and fast pace of the city. Sometimes this seriousness consumes us, our actions, and before we know it, we are walking down the streets of the nation’s capitol forgetting that we are still humans, and not just moving robots. This consumption can happen so quickly when you are surrounded by so many professional people, dressed in their professional best, that we had to take a moment to remember not to take ourselves so seriously all the time, even on our first day here.
Sometimes this means flipping upside down outside the embassy of our lovely neighbors to the north.
And our final lesson, nine miles later… Always wear sensible shoes.