Thursday, July 20, 2006

I think I'm a bumpkin...

I'm in Washington D.C. at the moment and it always takes me a couple of hours to acclimate to places like this. It's not the climate, though the 92 degrees and humid feels like a wet wool blanket, but the ... city-ness.

For a girl from Fairbanks, Alaska, any city feels like another planet, but DC is certainly that to the nth degree. The faster pace of things is almost tangible as you step out of the plane, and it's not just the roar of people or the view of cars jammed on a freeway as I flew in. People are just going. And they don't seem very happy about it. 'Course people at airports seldom are. Still, people don't seem to look you in the eye as much in a large city. And if you smile at them, their smiles back look a lot like they might just be doing it because they know you're "special" and deserve their sympathy. ;) It's not that people in cities, as individuals, are any less friendly than they are anywhere else, it's just that, as a whole, humanity feels so much more anonymous.

And then there's my incredible lack of knowledge of things like: Exactly how much am I supposed to tip the guy who refused to let me carry my own bags even though, being a woman who splits her own firewood, I am perfectly capable of carrying a couple of suitcases, thank you very much?

As for my hotel, it's very nice, and I'm afraid to touch anything for fear they will charge me for it. They charge for local calls, for calling-card calls, for Internet access. They offer bottles of water in your room, for $4.95 apiece. If I enjoy the robe and want to take it with me, $90. Believe me, it's not a $90 robe. The front desk asked me if I wanted a key to the "refreshment center." Noooo, I think I'll pass on that. A chocolate attack in the middle of night could run me $8 for a candy bar and soda. If I desperately needed a beer and some peanuts I'd be looking at $13 for a half-cup of honey-roasted peanuts and a Miller Lite.

Guess I'm just not quite ready for the role of rich yuppie business traveler.

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