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10 Things People From DC Always Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners

by Nicole Sunderland Jun 16, 2016

1. We’re not all lobbyists or lawyers.

Kind of. While there are a lot of both in D.C., the city is thriving with military, artists, teachers, chefs, and every other type of tradesperson too. But when someone you just met asks: “What law firm does your dad work at?” It’s kind of a joke and kind of not. The District has some of the best law schools in the country, and a lot of men and women choose to stay after they graduate because the pay is at the top of the scale.

2. Eating and drinking on the Metro will get you thrown off.

Yeah, you didn’t read that wrong. It’s actually illegal to eat and drink on our Metros. And it’s not just some stupid rule that nobody pays attention to, the Metro police have the authority to give you a ticket and they can even arrest you. If you’re like the rest of us and need your morning caffeine, just wait because that $5 cup might land you in jail. Don’t ask us why.

3. No, you don’t have to be rich to live here.

Just because Sen. Harry Reid was living in the Ritz Carlton in Georgetown as his second home, doesn’t mean everyone in the city is that wealthy. There are certainly very expensive digs within the city but the entire city isn’t outfitted to support a lavish lifestyle. Like most cities, D.C is diverse and has all levels of incomes residing within its limits. You can find a studio or a roommate in most areas for about $1,000 or even less. People who live in the city tend to live without cars and rely on cheaper transportation like the Metro or bus system.

4. And we’re not just a bunch of wealthy white men.

The District represents people of all races and genders, so don’t let the totality of members of the Congress and Senate fool you into thinking otherwise. Our own president is an African-American male. Living space in the city is limited, which forces people to live on the outskirts and commute in for their jobs. You will find that a lot of people living in the city are either much older and have lived there forever or are part of the younger generation going to college or just exiting college with their new jobs. You are more likely to find the wealthy white men living in bigger homes outside of the city where there is space for all their stuff, like a car.

5. Or trust fund kids.

A lot of us actually have to work for a living and pay for school on our own. Don’t let the private schools, expensive universities, costs of living, and Georgetown trick you into thinking we are all the same. Just like in most cities in America, a lot of us are struggling to get by.

6. DC residents are taxed but have no representation in Congress.

As you stroll around D.C you’ll notice license plates that read “No Taxation without Representation.” The irony in that is the city made these plates for its residents but still doesn’t allow equal representation. It’s baffling; they are making fun of themselves. The real story is that the city was never intended to be lived within and ended up that way over time.

7. You will not die if you ride the green line metro.

The Green Line does run through some low-income areas, but you have an equal chance of dying on any of the lines. In fact, the red line has had more situations where you could have died than any of the other lines. The best way to stay safe during your Metro trip is to stay behind the line when the train pulls into the station. Be smart about your belongings and hold on while the train is moving. Cell service is scarce below ground, so pay attention.

8. We eat more than cupcakes.

Georgetown Cupcake made cupcakes cool again. With their seemingly never-ending line around the block to get a taste of their sweet treats, you can imagine just how delicious they actually are. However, I can assure you that we eat more than that. We have now added macarons to our list of sweets in the city. We might not be Paris, but our macarons are on point.

9. The Washington Monument is not different colors because of a flood.

If you look at the Washington Monument, it is a staggering 555 feet tall. About a third of the way up, the color of the building changes. The discoloration is not a representation of the city being buried underwater at one point in time, but simply running out of funds to continue the construction of the monument.

10. Touring D.C can be done almost entirely for free.

You didn’t read that wrong. The city has 17 Smithsonians inside its limits, including a zoo. We have 11 memorials on our grounds. You will also find other places that do not cost anything like the Holocaust Museum, shows on the Mall, The Kennedy Center does a free show every night at 6, and the list goes on. All the museums and monuments can be done over several days. Having lived here almost 11 years, I still have not seen them all.

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