My my my it's been a busy few weeks.
Let me let you in on a little secret.
I'm leaving the District of Columbia. Lighting out from the territories, if you will. To a bona fide state, or at least a commonwealth, and I'm not talking about that nasty place across the river.
When I first moved here in 1993, to the lush semi-suburbs of Woodley Park, I had no intention of staying a decade, let alone 15 years. Last year I had no intention (or at least prospects) of leaving. But chance rolls the dice.
I was a young lad then, not exactly strapping, but young nevertheless. I worked a night job at a university and trudged home winter nights after the Metro had closed and before I understood -- or cared to understand -- the bus system, stopping briefly at KramerBooks to browse the literature and philosophy sections as I warmed up for the big walk up the hill and over the Taft Bridge.
Then it was Logan Circle, where my roommate and I would watch the prostitutes chatting up the line of johns in their cars stretching down N Street by the all night gas station. That's when the Circle itself was nearly deserted except for the homeless and dealers and 14th Street's main features were the Black Cat and Barrel House Liquors.
Finally, I settled in Adams Morgan when I tell you -- and I kid you not -- a spacious two-bedroom with a beautiful westward view could be had for $850/mo utils incl... The Diner was an auto supply store, those red brick Adams Lofts, whose architecture I think was inspired by the Holocaust Museum, were nothing more than a surface parking lot, and Club Heaven was still playing some of the shittiest music ever recorded.
Let's give thanks for the good things...El Tamarindo, Astor Mediterranean, the recently departed San Marco (which beat the pants off Pasta Mia), The Common Share, Idle Times, DCCD, Crooked Beat, walking to the Zoo, biking anywhere else...
I suppose I could post a more general lamentation about the death of the District's independent and used bookstores...Kultura, Neil's, Vertigo, a basement place on U Street between 15th and 16th whose name escapes me now, Chapters (though they claim they're not closed...). Fortunately, we've still got Bridge Street Books, Idle Times, and Second Story.
Movie theatres, record stores...you know the run down. Hats off to the Biograph, the Key, the Janus, and the savior of all tight graduate student budgets, the Foundry.
Well, I'm not shutting down shop quite yet, but I'm not sure what the future brings.
Until next time...