It has become a running joke and/or standard operating procedure that whenever there is a big accident/crisis/lunatic freak-out happening inside the beltway, I call my mom and let her know I'm nowhere near it, of if I am, I'm okay. So yesterday evening I called her to let her know I was downtown, and not near Silver Spring and the situation in the Discovery Building. (Although at least once a month after work I go right past that building on the way to Borders, DSW, Strosniders, Whole Foods, or somewhere else.) I tell mom and dad that dealing with whackos, protests, motorcades, etc. are just part of life in DC. They range from merely inconvenient to terribly dangerous, but we simply have to take it all in stride.
I moved to DC for love (and to get the hell out of Charlotte, NC, a town which embraced the metanarrative of 'suburban hell' and made it its ideal.) I stayed for love, and when love failed, for the convenience of not having to own a car and easy access to museums and similar diversions.
But staying in DC has taken its toll. I arrived optimistic and eager. Now, almost sixteen years later, the optimism is gone, and enthusiasm takes a whole hell of a lot of effort to build up. This is a poisonous city. The natives resent all the newcomers. The newcomers are themselves here only to make some kind of career move, and only want to deal with people who can help them climb the career ladder. The few of us who don't fit into those paradigms have to make our own way, by our own devices.