Well, it is already "officially" spring and Elle is still in D.C....and apparently doing quite well. Although she has adjusted to the big, busy city life, there are still a few things that a southern girl will NEVER get used to; some are good, some are bad and some are definitely ugly.
Robby is all "into" this Sunday night movie thing right now. The movie has to either be a war movie, cowboy movie and we have even watched a gangster movie one time. Yea, I know...he watches "chick flicks" with me, so it is only fair that I watch a guy show once a week. So, the other day we were watching that old "spaghetti western", "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", starring Clint Eastwood. While talking to Caitlin on the phone and hearing about some of her latest Washington escapades, I thought, "You know, her saga could also be entitled this. So, I decided that I would share of few of those moments with you. Listen carefully as this tale unfolds and you can most likely hear the strains of that familiar spaghetti western music at times.
THE GOOD: Of course, there are lots of "good" things in Washington, D.C., such as just the city itself. The
historical aspect alone is awe inspiring. The actual architecture is beautiful and now that spring has begun to peek its head out, the pictures of the landscape that Caitlin has sent me are beautiful. Then, there are the restaurants, cute boutiques, museums and specialty shops like D.C. Cupcakes! There is a lot to see and do in D.C. and Elle has explored many of the nooks and cranies of the city. Now that I have reminded you all of why we travel to D.C. and take our families there to visit, I will move on to the "bad" and "ugly"...aspects one discovers only by living and working in the city for any period of time.
THE BAD: Washington is what can be referred to as a "walking city". The layout of the city is such that people walk everywhere. However, when having to go especially long distances, the public transit system is used. I must say that I have been quite impressed that Elle has been able to figure this system out very well. I don't know why I am surprised, though; she has her father's sense of direction. She has told me that I could get lost with a GPS strapped to my body...AND I am very convincing while getting other people lost with me, assuring them that I KNOW I am going the right way. Thankfully, Caitlin is not like this. BUT traveling by bus every day has its own problems...and THIS is where the "bad" come into the picture. Here are only a few examples of Elle's bus issues. The buses often times run late. Once, the bus driver passed their stop and Caitlin chased it down the street to the next stop. Once there, she reamed the driver out for passing the stop and informed her that she would NOW be riding for FREE...this ride had her digging into her purse for her chocolate stash. On another instance, she hopped on the bus hoping to arrive at work early when the bus broke down. They all had to get off of the bus and WALK the rest of the way to where they were going. She called me during this particular walk complaing about the bus (how nothing good ever happens on the bus...) and then suddenly decided since she was already running late now, she would stop in and get something from Starbucks...do you see a trend going on here?? Bad experiences on the bus apparently make for binge eating and drinking. OK, one final example of bad adventures on the bus. Very recently Caitlin had to catch a different bus and upon entering found that she was the only caucasian on it. Several of the patrons began to shout to her, "This bus isn't for white people; you're on the wrong bus...you need to get off!" One would think that a 95 pound Barbie Doll might be intimidated by that, however, her having been in the city for several months, coupled with the fact that she did not want to be late for her appointment (OK...and having survived 3 older brothers didn't hurt either...) allowed her to pipe up and shout back, "I'm NOT getting off of this bus!" The driver agreed that she didn't have to and she went along her merry (well...somewhat merry at this point) way. SO...now you have had a glimpse of the "bad". Are you ready for the "ugly"??
Being from the south, Elle had to adjust to people not being like her or ones she was used to being around. I tried to prepare her for this but told her to just be herself...talkative and friendly. This cute, southern charm all seemed to work well until one day just about a week ago. In preparation for their huge project, she and her classmates have to attend many presentations at state buildings. On this particular day it was the Department of Energy. As the professor and students all stood in a very long line, the security was fierce. Finally making it through two lines and individual pat downs, they made it to the last security check. That is where they informed Caitin that she had an i-pad in her bag that had to be registered with security; she would have to go back to the end of the line and do that. WHAT?! With classmates and professor waiting on the other side, she made her way back. There were several men in line and she explained her plight and asked if they would let her break in front of them so she could get with her class. The men in front of her simply ignored her, while the one behind her opened his BIG, FAT, "UGLY" mouth and told her, "NO! We've been waiting in line too and you aren't in any more of a hurry than we are. You're probably just a tourist." OK...I must interject here. THIS is an example of why my family often times refers to me as a "man hater". I'm not REALLY a "man hater" because I don't hate ALL men...I just hate the way THAT kind of man is! He gives a bad name to his entire gender...AND I truly hope that I do not encounter anyone similar to him on my little trip there because I would feel compelled to tell him as much. Back to my story now. She told him that she was indeed not a tourist but a student and her entire class was waiting just on the other side of security for her. Still not budging and running his rude mouth she began to cry...then sob...finally tears were streaming down her face, (OK...if this is a spaghetti western, where is Clint Eastwood right about now??) when the men in front of her suddenly noticed what was going on. They said they didn't hear her ask if she could break in line (hmmm...a likely story) and let her do so and then began talking to her to try to get her to quit crying. When she finally got to the front of the line again, the "woman" security guard asked her what was wrong. She explained that she needed to check her i-pad. "You should have just cut to the front of the line and given it to me", she said. That's when Caitlin told her she had tried to, but (motioning toward "rude man") he wouldn't let her. Leaning over to see the culprit, she said, "Hmph! You don't worry about him. He might just be a little late for HIS appointment." YES!!! A girl after my own heart. Anyway, the class was still waiting for her and although they were late, they did make the meeting.
As you can see, this Elle in Washington saga could definitley also be entitled "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Any time one is living in a big city there are many different factors at play. However, I must inform ya'll ( notice I did NOT say "you guys"...) that we just simply do it differently here in the south. Oh, there are a "few" rude people who can be found here (most likely not born here...haha!), but for the most part we are all pretty pleasant. You can stop and ask us for a favor or even where we purchased our cute shoes. And chivalry is definitely NOT dead in the south. Men, for the most part, still treat women with repsect and can be found opening doors for them. Yes, this has been quite an adventure for Elle; one that she will never forget. Sometimes it takes a little "bad" and "ugly" to really appreciate the "good"!