I feel like my posts have been heavily skewed in the “life updates,” section lately. I swear, I’m still dedicated to writing about things almost anyone can relate to. Promise.
Since I live in DC and many of my readers are in the Midwest, I want to give an accurate account of what this weekend was like. I don’t want to talk politics (second promise of this post), I just want to tell you what I experienced. Cool?
That being said, this will not be an unbiased post. I consider biases one of the necessarily evils of life. This post will be biased because DC is home and I happen to fucking love it here.
So before we start, I’ll ask you one thing: Picture DC—what do you see? Do you see the White House, the Capitol, Lincoln, Washington, perhaps a few cherry trees? Cool. That’s the response I get from most people.
No, that’s not what DC looks like.
That is what is referred to as the National Mall, which makes up a very small percentage of the actual city. “Real DC” looks a lot like how you’d picture colonial Virginia. We live in townhouses that were built in the 1800s, historically preserved, torn down to the studs, and remodeled. There are a lot of cobblestone streets, which can be an environmental hazard if you’re walking home drunk in heels. We work in start-ups, hospitals, and marketing agencies; and you can go to a bar without discussing politics. [These places exist. I’ve seen them with my own eyes.]
So with that paragraph of knowledge in your back pocket, let’s review the undertakings of the past several days, shall we?
On Thursday I walked Downtown to TJ Maxx so I could furnish my spare bedroom. Seems irrelevant to the story, but I tell you this for two reasons:
No, your political party does not impact your manners.
One, I’m not using Downtown as a generic term. Our “Downtown,” is an actual neighborhood and the closest resemblance to your eighth-grade-class-trip vision of what DC looks like. The buildings are taller and newer, there’s a higher marble to brick ratio, and it’s home to many federal agencies.
So I’m walking downtown, and ran into Trump supporters and protestors alike. Fun fact, the Trump supporters were polite and the protestors were dicks (it pains me to write this, but I promised to be honest). Miss and Mrs. Trump Supporter commented on my TJ Maxx bags stuffed full of throw pillows, and asked where they could find it. I pointed out a few shopping highlights within a four block radius, and we parted ways peacefully. The protestors, in contrast, were making snotty remarks at how “white” DC was. “Don’t they have any diversity here??” they wanted to know.
Bitch, please. Does it look like you’re walking in a residential neighborhood? Do you see a townhouse wedged between those two marble buildings? No. The majority of my friends are not Caucasian—hell, a lot of them have parents who weren’t even born in the United States. 97 percent of DC voted against the very man you are protesting, so pay a little respect.
Yes, DC was busting at the seams.
Two, I was furnishing my spare bedroom because my friend Derrick and his two roommates listed their apartment on Airbnb for three thousand dollars for the weekend, and he was crashing with me. That’s how supply and demand works. Thank you, Econ 101.
I never lived in DC during the inauguration before this weekend, but people described it to me as the coming of the apocalypse. They made it sound as though I would not be able to open the front door without the throngs of people swallowing me whole.
Yes, I could still walk out of my apartment.
This did not happen. My apartment is surrounded by bars, restaurants, coffee shops; on one of the busiest streets in Washington. I live roughly three-quarters of a mile from the White House. And outside my day was just a normal Friday.
Yes, the parade route was emptier than normal.
You’ve probably seen a little squabble online about the number of attendees to the Inaugural parade. There were empty seats throughout the parade route—this happened. Was it raining? Yes. Was it a monsoon? No. I marched my butt over to Whole Foods to get groceries and didn’t bother with an umbrella. Again, I really don’t want to debate this—just trying to give a recap here.
Yes, people were smashing windows—but that was in a very, very tiny, two block radius of the city.
Mini confession: I snuck away in the afternoon to watch the protests. Sorry, I just couldn’t help it. The streets were packed, and I was downtown for all of five minutes before my friends started texting me to get the hell out of there. I was standing at 15th and I, roughly five blocks from the riots on 12th and K. Not wanting to get tear-gassed, I chickened out and walked home. But I did see llamas! (Llamas for Obama, get it?)
Women’s March day!
In the words of Aziz Ansari, in Trump’s second day in office, an entire gender protested against him. I find this un-fucking-believably awesome.
No, I did not wake up at dawn to attend the March.
I can’t back this up with data—so don’t quote me—but I think this is how the day went: If you were in town JUST for the March, you woke up at the crack of dawn, put on your Pusssy Hat, and walked or took the Metro downtown. You completely missed the memo that our Metro system has been SHIT (i.e. under construction) since July. If you were a resident of DC, you spent your morning doing your typical Saturday thing. You went to the gym, ran a couple errands, possibly skipped the rally, and headed down to the Mall for the March. At least that’s what I did.
After getting my gym on and harassing Derrick that if he was not up and ready by 11:30 I would threaten his manhood; me, D, and my friend Mike walked from Logan Circle to Chinatown to meet up with Keena.
No, there was no cellphone service.
My friends and I tried really, really hard not to be millennials about the whole ordeal. We prepared for no phone service. We planned on a meeting place and time. It didn’t matter.
Cell phones didn’t work. The mobs of people were unbelievable. You couldn’t call, text, Snapchat, IG, or even see someone five feet in front of you. Half a million people were shoulder to shoulder, stretching from the Capitol to the White House. The four of us held hands for three hours. That’s how packed it was. The boys whined the whole time, but hey—Women’s March, women’s rules.
Yes, the March actually happened.
Multiple people asked me if the Women’s March “was canceled,” and this is not true.
Here’s what really happened: It was so f^%*(#ing packed down there, we did not move for an entire hour. People actually started chanting, “Let’s March Now! Let’s March Now!” There was no where to go—you couldn’t go forward, backward, or side-to-side because of how jammed the Mall was.
Even amongst a group of half a million pissed of females, Keena and I are the single-most impatient women I know. We pushed, squeezed, and side stepped until we finally made the teeniest bit of progress. It took us almost an hour-and-a-half to walk one block.
No, the March was not violent. Love really does trump hate.
The funny thing is, everyone let us. There was so much love in that crowd. After watching protesters smash windows and scream for the past forty-eight hours, none of that happened at the March. It honestly seems wrong to call the March a protest. People were so ridiculously kind! Half a million people, and every one of them were looking out for one another. If Keena or I lost our grip on the guys’ hands, everyone stepped aside so we could rejoin our group. Complete strangers introduced themselves and found fellow marchers from their home state. I wore an Iowa sweatshirt, and got multiple comments from the crowd.
The original Women’s March route was supposed to follow Independence Avenue. It’s laughable, really, to think that many people could fit on a single street. The real March route stretched almost two blocks wide. I can run a five minute mile, but that day the mile walk from the Capitol to Trump’s new home took three hours.
No, I do not plan on moving to Canada.
I am really, really happy to call DC my home. But I’ve never been prouder to live here than Saturday.
It seems impossible, but all those people were holding up signs and screaming, yet there was no bad energy. Everything said (or yelled) was said from a good place.
I was born in a town of less than 500 people, so I never thought you could build a community from 500,000. But I think everyone standing in that crowd on Saturday felt like they were a part of something awesome.
I hope every other city felt the same way.