On my way to work this morning, I was stopped four times for directions, which can only mean one thing: Tourist season has begun.
Tourists are a bit like cherry blossoms to Washingtonians: They benefit the economy, but they make about half the population break out in hives. As a form of public service, let me offer a quick-and-dirty guide for visitors to my hometown:
- If you know the English alphabet and can count to 50, there is no reason you should ever get lost in D.C. If you are in the Northwest quadrant of the city, which is the only section you are likely to visit, the streets that run north to south are numbered and those east-west are in alphabetical order. Higher numbers are more westerly and those further north are further along in the alphabet. Stay the hell off the state-named streets.
- When they say, “Stay clear of the closing door” on the Metro, they mean it.
- Do not stand to the left. Ever.
- Just because it is possible to walk seven abreast on the sidewalk doesn’t mean you should.
- No, I don’t think that your FBI hat or shirt means that you’re an agent. Really. I know you bought it off a vendor on the Mall.
- Speaking of which, don’t buy their hotdogs. This is not New York. We have half-smokes. Which are…meaty. And not so good.
- I’m not being mean to you when you are the fifth person to ask for directions, I’m trying to get somewhere. Like to the end of my run. Or to work. Yes, even though it is 9:55 a.m. Look, I’m not leaving the office at 5.
- Please don’t complain about how lame the city is. I can hear you. And, often, understand you, even if you are speaking in another language. You just don’t know where to go. But, follow my rules, and I might just tell you.