Monday, January 12, 2009

One Week Away! Here are some Guidelines for those visiting DC...

With the historic Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama just one week away, we (DC area locals) brace ourselves for one of the largest onslaught of visitors to our region.

Here's just a small list of what to expect:

Either way, it's a big deal around here. The local news talks about the developing plans every night. The Presidential Inauguration will be televised live so if we're not driving south to Florida to avoid the chaos (DVR baby!), we'll be barricading ourselves at home watching the ceremony =)

On that note, last summer I posted a rather humorous set of guidelines for our visitors to the DC area. In light of the major event just a week away, I thought it deserves an encore presentation. These guidelines ensure survival in one of the most congested areas in the country. Okay, put on your sense-of-humor hats for this one! I think the locals and those who've lived in the DC region can REALLY appreciate this post!

For those who plan to visit our area, here are a few rules to follow...
  1. First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is DC or 'the District' - only tourists call it Washington.
  2. 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.
  3. There is no such thing as a dangerous high speed chase in D.C. It's just another chase, usually on the BW Parkway (although lately the Beltway has taken the title)
  4. All directions start with 'The Beltway'... which has no beginning and no end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by an 'inner' and 'outer' loop designation. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the area.
  5. 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 Chesapeake Bay Bridge unless you pack a lunch (possibly dinner too).
  6. 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 DMV. (However, if you don't go as soon as the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages.)
  7. Rain causes an immediate 50 point drop of IQ in drivers. Snow causes an immediate 100 point drop in IQ and a rush to the nearest Giant or Safeway for toilet paper, bread, and milk.
  8. 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.
  9. All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, 'Oh, we must be in Takoma Park or Silver Spring'.
  10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, they are by definition, a tourist. Car horns are actually 'Road Rage' indicators. Please heed the warning.
  11. All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way in the area of Leisure World & Ryderwood.
  12. 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'.
  13. If asking directions in Arlington, Langley Park, Wheaton or Adams Morgan, Spanish helps. If in Annandale, Cambodian or Vietnamese will come in handy. If in DuPont Circle, Capital Hill or U Street Corridor areas, tolerance for same sex helps. If you stop to ask directions in South East... well, just don't.
  14. 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. But once you get past it, you can sit & relax...literally... because of the bumper-to-bumper traffic that seems to never go away just south of Springfield.
  15. There is nothing more comforting than seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph, BUMPER TO BUMPER!!! (Truer words have never been written!)
  16. The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85. Anything less is considered down right sissy. If police are present, then 55 are acceptable, but as soon as the police are out of view, the speed goes back to 85.
  17. 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 fair game also.
  18. The far left lanes on all Maryland and VA 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.
  19. The Beltway is our daily version of a NASCAR reality show. Strap up and collect points as you go. Baltimore's Beltway is a kiddie ride compared to ours.

There you have it! Hope you got a laugh!


laura muehlendorf said...

FUNNY and as i have recently learned ALL true!

melissa said...

Oh man, oh man. I can't say I am jealous, but I can imagine the DC electricity is going to be amped up 100 fold...are you going to try and get pics?

Anonymous said...

Seldom have truer, & funnier, words been spoken. But, I prefer traffic here to Long Island. Man, I do NOT miss rush hour there.

Armin DeFiesta said...

I'm not even sure I wanna go try & get pics. Although I have friends in LE that said I could ride with them and get some access to shoot, but I'm still not a fan of crowds or fighting the press for a shot, lol.

Erin Harvey said...

Yea, come to Florida and then you can deal with the Superbowl traffic too! =)

Troy Woods said...

man this was tooooo funny! Especially about stopping at a yellow light!