There are all kinds of preconceived notions associated with the term “New Yorker”…. loud, boisterous, obnoxious, unfriendly, etc. But, I’ve just found out that Washingtonians (as in DC) also have their own attitudes. As a Washingtonian, I was unaware that I have some distinct characteristics that are common among folk who grow up in DC, MD, and VA (aka DMV).
Aside from the fact that we Washingtonians are all important, well educated, and brag about working 60 hour weeks, we are also rule breakers or makers. We “create” our own parking spaces when a lot is full. If traffic is backed up, we drive down the emergency lane. When there is a backup of traffic entering the freeway, we pass all the cars in line and bulldoze our way into the front of the line. We don’t honk as much as New Yorker’s, but we do know where the horn is.
But now that I’m living San Diego, I recognized a trait that I was totally unaware of…. jaywalking. Pedestrians in DC believe traffic lights are only for automobiles. Therefore, they totally ignore traffic lights and cross whenever and wherever they want while blocking intersections, and daring anyone to hit them.
A pedestrian in San Diego will stand on a corner and wait for the light to change even if there is no traffic for miles around. Last week I was on a meet-up walk with 12 ladies on Coronado Island early on a Saturday morning.
There was barely any auto traffic on the island, but every time we came to an intersection with a red traffic light, all 12 of us stopped and waited even though there was no traffic in sight! THIS DROVE ME CRAZY. As I questioned them about this, one lady suggested that I relax, because life here is slower.
I then had another opportunity to observe my Washingtonian behavior when we went to a Starbucks for water. As usual, there was a line of people waiting to place coffee orders, but all we wanted was water. One lady who went into the store with me was patiently waiting in line. I explained to her that we did not have to wait because we could pick up our water from the cooler and take it to cash register. Also, because Washingtonians don’t do lines, because we are too busy, too important, and like to make our own rules.
Oh well…. Maybe I can learn to slow down… NOT