I walked to Georgetown University blindly when I visited DC several years ago. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day – cool and crisp, and I thought that that was the way the weather always was in DC until I passed two students crossing each others paths and one commented on how beautiful the first day of Spring was. I asked one of them for directions. I’d gotten off the bus on Georgetown street, main Georgetown, and made a turn onto a street that climbed up hill, then made a left onto another street, further inside and packed with adorable houses (town homes?). Trees covered the front, hiding half of each house from outside view. I glanced inside one as I passed it, the window was open and the view was clear. The weather, combined with the glorious trees and friendly banter between the students made it seem as if there were no barrier between the outside and the inside. The window was green and wooden, a cross hatch like the kind they have on log cabins.
The bus driver had told me that I would see Georgetown once I turned left, I couldn’t miss it. The boy I asked told me to walk a little ways ahead and that it would be on my right, I was going the right way. There was no real barrier either between Georgetown University and DC, the way I thought there would be. I had expected there to be one, but it turned out that it was DC I was looking for, and Georgetown was a boon but not necessary. Or maybe I just felt that way because I had Georgetown, I didn’t need to fight for it at the time.
Nothing happened that day, or in the years that have past since. Except that I now have an image in my head that is not completely made up. I definitely had an image in mind before going to DC, but it wasn’t a disappointment when I encountered the reality. In fact, it fit so smoothly into what I needed that I didn’t even know my two worlds weren’t the same until now. Or maybe that’s not accurate. It wasn’t that reality fitted into my imaginary world, it was that reality was so much better. There was no loneliness because I was only there for a handful of days; and there was interaction with people in academia and with people outside of it, with family and friends. There was beauty, and there was public transportation. There was walking, and there was discovering. And there was the fact that it was Washington, D.C. The D.C.