1. Going to bars with news and political shows on the TV.
The most depressing moment after moving away from DC is when I went to a bar during the State of the Union and realized that not only was no one playing drinking games to it, but it wasn’t even on the TV. Instead of the President’s address to the nation, the barflies were watching sports games that they did not remotely care about. Only in DC does anything other than sports end up on bar TVs.
No, seriously, people will actually notice how much you drink when you’re elsewhere. You’re going to have to reel it in.
3. Having access to National Landmarks and Museums.
When you’re in DC, you can actually get sick of going to the Air and Space Museum. Because every goddamn visitor wants to go there. But when you leave and realize that nothing around you is particularly historic or iconic, it takes a little bit of the grandeur out of life.
4. Dressing up.
I haven’t worn a collared shirt out in months. My khakis are growing dusty in my closet. This never would have happened in the country’s least-casual city.
After being in DC, your body has been trained to just constantly be moving water from the inside of your body to the outside of your body. Your body will keep doing this after you leave, even though you no longer live in a swamp and it’s no longer necessary.
6. Being in a pretty welcoming culture towards gays.
Not many US cities are as cool about gay and lesbian culture as DC, so it’s a bummer when you leave and your new city doesn’t offer a showtunes night, or when your new friends still have the capacity to be shocked by two men or two women holding hands as they walk down the street.
7. Food trucks.
Why? Why aren’t these everywhere? Don’t people realize how much better food is when it’s been made in the back of a dirty van?
You know, unless you’re in one of the “background check” professions.
9. A killer music scene.
Who knew politicos and wonks could attract and make such amazing music?
10. Drunken political or religious debates.
DC is the only city in the United States where saying, “Guys, no politics or religion while drinking, okay?” is totally unacceptable.
11. Viewing the President as a traffic nuisance.
“God dammit, not another fucking motorcade. TAKE THE HELICOPTERS, YOU ASSHOLE!”
12. Asking where people work.
Everyone in DC complains about how “where do you work?” acts as the standard getting-to-know-you, let’s-network question. But then you leave the city and you realize, as you talk to someone new at the bar, that you pretty much all you want to know is what they do for a living.
Other places have brunch, but they just don’t commit to it as much as they should.