Helping To Put Things In Context: Something You Should Know About D.C.

Everyone knows Washington, D.C. for being the nation's capital where decisions are made that affect the country itself and impacts the world at large. But between the time that politicians and special interest groups like to use the city as the reason for all that ails America, it has a more intimate side. This is the side that one could think of as the "local" aspect of the city. I think if people understood what really exists within the boundaries of this diamond shaped (minus a complete side) metropolis, their perspectives may be altered considerably. As AWashingtonWoman will continue to focus on some of the wonderful women who make up the fabric of the DMV (a term used for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and includes: the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia), we will also strive to give you a little of the backstory, as objectively as we can. So it's been a year since this all began and without really trying, this blog has exceeded what our expectations were. So we are thinking that with a little love and a lot of integrity, we can share some real true insight which can be entertaining as well as informative. Who knows?.... Maybe it will even be ..... helpful.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Washington, D.C. Even Our Thunderstorms Tell A Story of Two Tales

Last Friday evening with little fanfare residents in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area were notified that there would be severe thunderstorms in the area. Now I have lived in this area since I was a girl (that's a long time). So when I hear severe, I think extra strong sounding thunder, sharper lightening, super heavy rains.... you get the pix. I think many of my neighbors were thinking the same. Little did we know what were in store for as violent storms packed winds of over 80 mph. The lights flickered (I felt fine with this as I knew our power wires are underground --- I just didn't think to consider what if a feed blew - it did blow). So, the house went dark. My son came in from Georgetown with a friend telling how he got smacked in the head with a branch. And so the weekend's adventure began. When morning came, and we ventured out it looked like a war zone. And then again it looked like a beautiful Saturday in the nation's capital. Allow me to explain. First, I saw people walking in over 100 degree temps searching for ice. Some carried coolers. They stood in long lines. These lines jammed into the drive through lines for McDonalds (people seeking breakfast). Major streets like Connecticut Avenue were covered with leaves and debris so that you couldn't see the pavement. Georgia Avenue was closed. At times the beltway was a parking lot. There were frustrated drivers coming to intersections with no working traffic light. Many weren't using the rules they learned in basic driver's education. I saw a car that was incinerated sitting in a Whole Foods parking lot in Bethesda. There were men sitting on the corner with lawn chairs (don't ask me what that was about - I think they were shop owners sending away patrons). I saw monstrous sized tree balls & roots pulled from the earth and propped upon gingerbread like cottage houses; I saw trees crashed through the roofs of huge mansions. I saw a red sporty Mercedes with a crashed windshield and smashed body. I am pointing out that one but it represented dozens of cars like that. Huge limbs hung in dangling power lines. It was surreal. Our family decided to find higher ground as they were reporting that electricity may not be restored for up to a week (I thought surely they are saying this to lower expectations -it'll be back before then & they can seem like over-achievers).... Still I had to take their assessment. So we checked into a hotel. All the suburban hotels were booked. This was partly because of the AT&T Golf Tournament put on by Tiger Woods annually. But also, neighbors quicker than I had secured the rest. So we drove downtown and we continued to see devastation even on the mall where the monuments are. But you also saw people on their yachts having soirees; volleyball games; people playing baseball. There were bikers having a ride through the park. It was strange. An area really close to where I live but closer to the D.C. line, Chevy Chase, was unscathed in it's downtown (I call this our very own little Rodeo Drive). This district seemed to be untouched. The Starbucks line was the usual Saturday morning quiet. It's usually busy during the week when everyone are in their offices. The Microsoft headquarters is here. People were actually shopping. I have associates that I would come into their stores and tell my stories of woe. They just looked at me with blank faces. I felt like a loon. They offered their phones and outlets. But they really couldn't relate. And it began to dawn on me. Just how different our Saturday morning had been. This realization, some having an average day while others were feeling desperate for basic survival, played out over and over throughout the day. And I was really struck by how segmented our lives have become. We can live side by side and see life in completely different ways. I can look at television shows; listen to radio networks; read newspapers & magazines; visit internet sites & read blogs that all reflect what I feel happiest being subjected to while my neighbor can do all these things and visit entities completely opposite to what I view/what I live. We can both know and think completely different truths. We think, feel, experience completely different thoughts. And what is amazing is both can be validated. We live in the same place but in different worlds. One of us can have our very foundations crumbling beneath our feet while the other can take a deep breath and expel as sigh of relief. I ask myself "how did we get like this?" or it that it has always been this way? Perhaps this is why we can see things in such stark contrast. Perhaps this is why we can actually not worry about if our fellow man receives the security of knowing his health will be protected with care from his country. At the end of the day, our lights were still off but I began to feel enlightened. These thunderstorms really showed a tale of two sociities.

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