There is a little thing taking place here in DC soon called the City Living Expo, which is meant to teach the newcomers to DC to learn how to live here, providing you have shitloads of zeros above the red in your bank account. As my darling Jamie used to say, it\’s all about the \”BUY BUY BUY! Now, SELL SELL SELL!\”
For example, to attend this \”exposition,\” you must first register, which requires giving your name, address, phone number, and personal information such as whether you rent or own in DC or elsewhere, whether you work in DC, they type of housing you have, whether you are planning to move, the total income of your household, your highest level of completed education, your relationship status, how you to commute to work, and how you learned about the expo. These are all required, pull-down options that must be filled out in order to complete your registration. If you choose to do so, it is possible that they then demand a credit card; I do not know because I refuse to give them my information. The reason behind my refusal is thus: there is no \”do not release my information\” option.
According to the City Living, DC Style! exhibitors page, for paying the exhibiting fees of between $1,000 and $3,000, exhibitors will have access to the following: mailing list of all attendees. The exhibitors are encouraged to set up a table in order to: \”arouse interest in your product, establish contact with the market, generate awareness of your product or service, build preference and further your organizationâ€™s brand, make specific offers and generate leads, close the sale keep them customers for life,\” and to \”discover what your industry partners and competitors are offering.\”
In otherwords, the \”expo\” is there for big business to buy our sorry asses out.
In honor of the mass purchase of as many resident\’s asses as possible, they are holding the following essay contest:
entry deadline â€“ monday, september 8th at 12pm
housing. shopping. entertainment. diversity. convenience. dining. recreation. itâ€™s city living, dc style!
the city living, dc style! campaign needs dc residents like you for a tv spot to highlight all the amenities dc has to offer. do you love dc? want to be on tv? hereâ€™s what you need to do:
tell us in 50 words or less why you love dc! tell us why you chose to call the district home. email your 50 word submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. your submission must include:
50 words or less â€“ why you love living in the district of columbia
home phone/ work phone/ cell phone
Unfortunately, we missed the deadline! I encourage you to check out the website and see all the fine prizes we could have won. With all the good writers around here that I know, it is an awful shame that we missed out on our 15 minutes of local DC shame and a complimentary Caribou Coffee gift basket!
So, without further ado, I present my (rule breaking) essay on \”City Living, DC Style!\”
As a resident of the Golden Triangle, I am awoken every morning at four by the sound of rush hour starting just outside of my building. If it is a Wednesday or Thursday, I must then rush outside and move my car before 9:30 for the \”street cleaning\” that is supposed to take place. Of course, there are no available parking spaces as most of them have been taken up by people who have commuted into the city for work. Also, most of the streets have valid \”Emergency, No Parking\” signs up on them in order for the city to perform routine pipe, street, tree trimming, and curb maintenance. However, the maintenance never takes place when it is supposed to, thereby causing entire streets that could be used as parking for residents to remain empty during the day. Not to mention that nine times out of ten, when residents move their cars for the street cleaning, the street cleaning does not happen, because the street cleaning is optional (not seasonal, just optional), and there is never any telling when it will take place.
If I am lucky enough to secure a parking space that is not under an \”Emergency\” sign, a \”No parking 4-6am or 4-6:30pm\” rush hour sign, or a \”No parking because we told you so\” sign, then residents have to fight amongst ourselves for available parking. It is a cut throat world out there between the hours of four and eight in the evening. Parking space turnaround is less than ten seconds on average, and by five o\’clock, every corner has at least one car illegally parked. Valets line cars up in front of bus stops, across gated driveways, and down alleys barely large enough to hold a compact car, let alone allow someone to squeeze past it. There is not a single handicapped parking space on the streets around for more than a four block radius, so if you happen at times to have trouble walking any distance to your building and are legally handicapped, such as I am, then you are put in a serious situation: either park illegally (if even an illegal spot can be found, which is rare), or park faraway and risk hurting yourself by attempting the walk.
Once parked, my car is then subject to being flyered overnight with upwards of three different flyers. In the current climate, it will inevitably rain once those flyers are on my windshield, and the next rain-free day I am forced to remove them all with much scratching of a straight razor. Flyers litter the walking spaces all around, as do bottles, and the occasional dime bag and coke pipe. It is not unusual to see used condoms next to a white styrofoam food container, containing god only knows what by the smell emanating from it.
From five in the evening Friday to three in the morning on Monday, I constantly hear the drunken, angered, or just plain unrepentantly loud roaring of the masses walking by my apartment. Should I happen to step out on my terrace, I can almost guarantee being verbally harassed from the slew of male GW students making their way home from The Front Page. Heaven help me when I walk outside alone at night, as I am a constant subject to cat calls, wolf whistles, propositions, and utter degradement.
Inside my home, things are better. I only have occasional problems with the local telephone company, where they tell me that I will temporarily not have access for three days while they come in and \”fix\” the \”unbroken\” lines at their convenience. My rent includes other utilities, and for that, I cannot complain, other than there is no rent control in this city, which means I have ended up in a situation where I share a 400 odd sq ft. studio apartment with another person for $1400. As both of us are beyond the age of college dorm-like living, this is frightfully inconvenient, but still better than living behind our building in a cardboard box, like two very nice men happen to.
When I want to go grocery shopping, I have to either settle for incredibly high prices and low quality produce at the nearby (four blocks) neighborhood market, or I can walk two blocks to the Circle, cross the Circle, and then another four blocks to the nearest grocery store, which also has subpar produce and overmarket prices. Barring those unappetizing choices, I can get in my now-flyer plastered car, lose my highly sought after and difficultly obtained parking space, and head to another neighborhood to get my groceries. If I need something for my computer, it is not a problem, as living in the Golden Circle I need only west of my building and come across four separate office stores. However, despite all the people in this neighborhood who own cats, dogs, and other creatures — including a pot bellied pig who lives across the street — there are no all-inclusive, non-designer brand oriented, pet stores to be had for two miles.
We here in DC now have vouchers for public education, and the entire executive branch of the federal government live here. Enough said.
Oh, and did I mention the fact that federally, my vote here in DC still counts for nothing? Apparently those of us who are residents of DC are not considered residents of the United States, and can therefore not decide on federal matters, even though those matters effect us more than the rest of the country put together, as we are the ones who have to be neighbors with the bottom feeding scum that you call Congress. Not to mention how we live amongst political diplomats who can not be held legally accountable for any crimes they commit here in the US due to their diplomatic immunity. (There have been two different diplomats who, while driving drunk, have killed two different people over the past few years. Neither carried out any sentence.)
On the whole, I generally just say that this city sucks diseased monkey balls. Why do I stay? For the same reason so many others do — I am so financially trapped in this area, just attempting to get by month to month, that I can not afford what it would take to move. That and because I want to be here when DC gets its federal vote, so I can help to oust all the people who have held those of us back for so long. And I grew up here, it\’s in my blood, and you cannot part soul from your blood.
Just to put things in perspective: my great-great-maternal grandfather first moved to DC proper from Ireland in the early mid-1800s. By the time my grandmother\’s elder siblings were being born in 1913, what we (my boyfriend and I) now spend on rent, would have only cost them $75 a month. Currently, in 2003, a two bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh rents at $800 a mont for a swank unit. Go figure.