#316: It is a town of “I’m sorry.”
By which I mean that it is a town of nice people, people that are for the most part not purposefully trying to run you over, step on you, elbow you or spill stuff on you. Admittedly Washingtonians can get pretty rude if you dare do something tourist-y and sophomoric like stand of the left side of a metro escalator, but for the most part they/we are pretty nice.
Yesterday I was walking the 0.1 mile between my apartment and my office (jealous?) and I overheard two guys behind me talking about the University of California DC Center. I was on my way to work at the Boston University Washington Center.
This was the scene:
(Ext. Massachusetts Ave on a spring morning).
Guy 1: Yeah. I think that building’s the University of California. Or that one. One of these buildings around here somewhere.
Guy 2: Hmmm. Cool.
Me: Hi. I am sorry. I overheard your conversation. The UC building is that one over there with the thing on top that looks like a halo. Oh. Yes. A lot of schools have buildings here. I am on my way to BU’s center, NYU just opened a center..
Guy 1: Oh. Thank you! This is my friend. He is visiting from New York and I am trying to show him some of the things we have here that they don’t have in New York.
Me: (Point to the ground). We have clean sidewalks. (Just as I am turning back around after pointing, I hit a man with my arm.) I am so sorry, sir.
Guy 2: You also have that. Where you say you are sorry. In New York we would never do that.
Me: I am sorry for New York. (I don’t really remember what I said. I think I just smiled, but this seems like a better ending.)
I like that people say they are sorry here. Sometimes it hurts when people step on your toes with their little red CVS shopping cart, so they should absolutely say they are sorry. This is a town of civilized people, not a town of wolves. I like that.