D.C. is a small town. Sure, we're the capital city, but with a population of just about 600,000 in the district proper, it's not such a big pond. And with all small towns, you run into the people you know at every turn. It's practically impossible to remain anonymous -- just ask any scandalized politician. Nothing's a secret in this town.
But aside from politicians, who can't hide anywhere, us regular folk can't either -- and that's not such a bad thing. Yesterday morning, on my way to work, I was crossing the street and ran into my friend Kevin, who works a couple of blocks away. In fact, I've run into him several times near the office. Another morning, a couple of months ago, I got on a crowded morning bus only to see Andy, with whom I went to high school. In fact, I often run into people on the bus. At least twice, I've gotten on the bus, practically oblivious, only to walk right past my sister sitting in the front section.
This is the beauty and the curse of the small town, actually. It makes it a lot harder to run out in your pajamas to get a carton of orange juice on Sunday morning. And you can forget about having an anonymous date. One time, WH and I were at Acadiana when we ran into another of my friends on a date with someone she clearly was not proud to be out with. You just can't get lost in our fair city.
Take for instance our former watering hole, Timberlake's -- D.C.'s version of Cheers -- which used to be on Connecticut Avenue, just below Florida (it closed last summer, much to the dismay of many). It's where WH and I first met . . . in fact, it's where I've met a number of friends for the first time. You could be assured that any time day or night, if Timberlake's was open, upon walking in, you'd know at least one person sitting at the bar (and definitely the bartender standing behind it). And while I'd like to think that "The Lake" as we referred to it, was unique, there are other bars all over town just like it (although, tragically fewer than there used to be -- the wine bar, martini bar, and variety of other upscale options have all but killed the dive bar) where everybody knows your name.
Maybe it's cliche, but just like Timberlake's, D.C. is the city where everybody knows your name. And, I, for one, wouldn't have it any other way.
UPDATE: After I posted this last night, WH and I went to dinner and then for a drink at the restaurant where WH's brother works. Sitting at the bar, I saw a former coworker and friend walk by. We caught up for ten minutes or saw, and promised to get together on purpose soon. Just one more wonderful small-town run in, in our fair city, and the reason why I love it here.