Sensory Clash: Washington, D.C

2018-03-29 09:28:58.458

The streets of D.C are wider, quieter, flatter, cleaner. D.C isn’t as frantic as New York. Or as gritty as Philly. Or as schizophrenic as Austin. There’s something immaculate about D.C., instead, something steely and modern and calm.

From up here, I watch the slow scenes of the city unfold. Cars whizz by, colorful legos beneath our legs. Human beans cross the crosswalks, Beatles-style, almost in slo-mo. Lotion pink berries bloom in angry succession.

It’s my third time in Washington D.C. I welcome the sensory familiarities.

There’s a distinct vibe to the D.C metro, clash of smells and sights and sounds. Smell of metros, musk. Row of escalators, steep. Metro-card, bendy and flappy. Gripped tightly in my palm, lest I accidentally drop it–it’s our way out, this card.

We’re encircled by large beige arches. I’m constantly reminded: we are in a giant tunnel.

The subway’s clean. Stops are quick. There’s a sign above a girl’s head that indicates where we are, and the announcer’s clean voice projects from the speakers, and she’s telling us we’re at this stop, that stop. It’s not our stop, and then it is, and we hop off the subway, back into the station, where we scan our Metro cards on the way out.

2018-03-29 16:32:31.237

We exit Union Station. It’s a high-end train station, fancy airport-style. It’s got spiral staircases leading up to shops and restaurants and balcony areas on the second floor. Statues and pillars greet us from the entrance. Out and back, in and through, and we’ve hopped onto the train again, and we’re hailing home.


4 thoughts on “Sensory Clash: Washington, D.C

  1. rmcalzada March 29, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    Beautiful prose and striking imagery. It sounds like you won’t be getting tired of D.C. anytime soon 🙂


  2. Monika March 30, 2018 / 8:04 am

    I’ve never been to the US, but I love to discover the cities and life there through you. You have the ability to make the mundane and metropolitan sound poetic.


  3. Biff Sock Pow March 30, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    What a wonderful post! I have not been to DC in several decades, but the last time I was there, it was a city in decay. It was run down, tired, dirty, smelly. It saddened me and I was so eager to leave there. I had no intention of ever going back.

    But after reading your wonderful post, I may give it another chance. Thank you!


  4. Ian Gouge March 31, 2018 / 5:26 am

    As a Brit, I really liked DC on my small number of visits there. Dying to take the kids there one day.


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