Friday, February 01, 2008

Destination: Ice

That's what they said; north and west of town was going to see freezing rain and lots of it. While I live east of town, where we were only going to get rain, OBC is west, in the ice territory.

I suppose some areas did get the ice that was announced, but I saw rain that didn't freeze upon impact. Even so, we left the house early, and it was good that we did. People don't know how to drive in the rain around here (or the ice, or the snow, or the sunshine for that matter!). The rain that was falling over the lacy city of my office was freezing on the ground, but we didn't actually notice it until we were walking to the door. I've seen worse ice. Last year's V-day, for example.

While I was driving through the driving rain this morning, and listening to the weather reports maintaining the icy conditions on the other side of town, and thought about that common but odd-sounding choice of word.

The "town" being referenced is Washington, the District of Columbia. It seems odd to call it a town, as the most common definition of the word is an urban area that is larger than a village but smaller than a city. DC is, after all, a city, and a decently large city at that. But it's also a district and, though it falls outside of that common use of the word town, it is still within the definition of town. As substantially important as this little area is in terms of function and history, and its uniqueness in its plan and purpose, it just seemed odd to simply call it a town. Yet, I do it, my dad does it, the media does it, I bet a lot of us (otherwise outsiders) call it a town. While it is not incorrect to do so, this morning, it just hit me as...inadequate.

There are so many special things in that city; the museums, the monuments, the special governmental considerations that even include lacking the rights that the rest of us get (I'm talking about that taxation without representation practice). For its uniqueness, town doesn't seem like enough.

But, I'm not going to stop referring to it as a town (by one definition of the word, it is), among it's many other names. I was thinking just yesterday how much I do like it, as I was driving across the bridge and contemplating the low, irregular skyline. This, of course, was design. What dominates the landscape from that angle is the towering structure of the Washington Monument and the distinctive Capitol Dome. I wish I had a picture for you of that view. Maybe someday.

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