9.02.2008

Our Reality....

Since I have never been secretive about where we live, most of you probably realize that we are blessed/cursed to live within 30 minutes of both Washington DC and Baltimore. When we moved here, the traffic and roads in this area terrified me. Now that we've lived here six years, I can drive 70 mph on the Beltway, talking on the cell phone, and jotting down my grocery list at the same time. Of course, I'm kidding! Relax mom!!

A friend sent me this recently and suggested it would make a good blog post. I agree! Enjoy!


Washington, DC--Welcome to our National Capital Region!

If you plan to visit our area in the near future, here are a few rules you should follow.

First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is DC or 'the District' - only tourists call it Washington.

Next, if your road map of Montgomery County is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one. It's obsolete. If you are in Loudon or Fairfax County and your map is one-day old, it's already obsolete.

There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in D.C. It's just another chase, usually on the B/W Parkway .

All directions start with 'The Beltway', which has no beginning and no end. It's just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by the terms 'inner' and 'outer'. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the area.

The morning rush hour is from 5 to 11 AM. The evening rush hour is from 1 to 8 PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning, especially during the summer on Route 50 eastbound. Avoid the Annapolis Bay Bridge unless you pack a lunch and possibly a dinner too.

If there is a ball game at Fed-Ex Field (Redskins' stadium), there is no point in driving anywhere near PG County. (Tip: Never say PG County to anyone from Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro, or Fort Washington (It's Prince Georges County to them). They'll blow a vessel in their neck and have a seizure.

If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and shot at. If you run the red light, be sure to smile for the $100 'picture' you will receive courtesy of the DMV. (However, if you don't go as soon as the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages.)

Rain causes an immediate 50-point drop in the IQ of all drivers. Snow causes an immediate 100-point drop and a rush to the nearest Giant or Safeway for toilet paper, bread, and milk.

Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of scorn and cynical entertainment. It's ironic that it's called an 'Interstate', but runs only from Bethesda to Frederick . (Unless you consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opened in the 1960's, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since. Also, it has a 'Spur' section, which is even more confusing.

All unexplainable sights can be explained away with the phrase, 'Oh, we must be in Takoma Park or Silver Spring'.

If someone actually has his turn signal on, he is by definition, a tourist. Car horns are actually 'Road Rage' indicators. Please heed this warning.

All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way in the areas of Leisure World & Ryderwood.

Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross intersections. Don't ask why, no one knows. And despite what MapQuest or Expedia or Google Maps tell you, there are no roads actually named ' Local Road '.

If asking directions in Arlington, Langley Park, Wheaton, or Adams Morgan, Spanish helps. If askin in Annandale, Cambodian or Vietnamese will come in handy. If in DuPont Circle, Capital Hill, or the U Street Corridor areas, tolerance for same sex couples helps. If you stop to ask directions in South East... well, just don't.

A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks away will cost you $16.75. (It's a zone thing, you wouldn't understand.) Laws requiring meters have passed but the cabbies are fighting them.

Traveling south out of DC on Interstate 395/95 is the most dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. This traverses a stretch of roadway locally referred to as "The Mixing Bowl".

There is nothing more comforting than seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph, BUMPER TO BUMPER!!! (Truer words have never been written!)

The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85 mph. Anything less is considered downright sissy. If police are present, then 55 mph is acceptable, but as soon as the police are out of view, the speed goes back to 85 mph.

The open lane for passing on all Maryland interstates is the far right lane because no self-respecting Marylander would ever be caught driving in the 'slow' lane. Unofficially, both shoulders are also fair game.

The far left lanes on all Maryland and Virginia interstates are official 'chat' lanes reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones. Note: All SUVs have priority clearance to use the far left lanes at whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multi-tasking in.

The Beltway is our daily version of a NASCAR reality show. Strap up and collect points as you go. The Baltimore Beltway is a kiddie ride compared to ours.

Drive safely and enjoy your visit!

7 comments:

Kristen said...

Hilarious! When I moved to this part of the country, I actually lived in DC for awhile, so I got a great kick out of these. (I haven't met you yet, but we go to LifePoint and I feel like I know you because I see you on stage...)

Denise said...

Very funny! Many, many years ago (40+) my family used to travel to Gaithersburg, MD several times a month to spend the weekend with my dad's brother and his family. My uncle worked construction in DC so we usually took a trip there sometime during the weekend. It was scary back then....I don't know if I'd survive today at my old age!! I *think* I can still make to BWI but, other than that, I don't know. How's the packing going??? I have an extra tape gun if you need one!! :-)

Mom said...

Just driving on the beltway is enough of a white knuckle activity, please don't add any thing else to it.

Yarnin_Mama said...

I wish I would have known how true this was before I moved here. Ohh, the driving skills I have acquired. BTW, my driving record has actually improved in the last 2 years, probably because if you drive here, then you must be on guard at all times.

Brooke said...

That is so true! I totaled two cars in 8 months in Rockville because people decided to come to a dead stop in the left lane on blind curves both times!

I thought of you while driving on the Baltimore beltway as I was following a van advertising men's, ladie's and children's shoes. I was so distracted by the spelling I don't even remember the company name. I thought, "Oh, Jen would love this!"

Jessica said...

hahah. i literally laughed out loud at some of these. the only thing that is missing is the fact that if you are driving from Maryland to Northern VA, you will hit traffic, regardless of the time of day.

:) thanks for the laughs

jamie shipley said...

very funny Jen. Found a house yet?