Visitor’s Guide To Washington, DC

  1. First, you must learn to call it by its rightful name. It is D.C., 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 Loudoun or Fairfax County and your map is one day old, it’s already obsolete.
  2. There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in DC. It’s just another chase, usually on the BW Parkway.
  3. 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 Beltway.  The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 85. Anything less is considered downright sissy. Unofficially, both shoulders are fair game also.
  4. 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. If there is a game at the Redskins stadium, there is no point in driving anywhere near PG County.
  5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended. 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 82 languages, none of them English.) 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 Giant for toilet paper and milk. Don’t forget that if your destination is only a mile away, it will take at least 30 minutes to get there due to traffic congestion, the idiot in the BMW SUV who thinks he has to conduct a conference call to negotiate world peace while swerving all over the road, the scores of newcomers who decide to cross the road when there’s a mass of cars coming at them going 80 mph, thus causing everyone to slam on their brakes, which leads to an accident, and the sadistic people who have to stare at the fender bender.
  6. 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).
  7. If someone actually has their turn signal on they are, by definition, a tourist. Car horns are actually “Road Rage” indicators. Heed the warning.
  8. Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross intersections. Don’t ask why, no one knows. If you stop to ask directions in Southeast…well, just don’t …unless you’re asking directions to the nearest drug dealer or looking to buy guns. A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks will cost you $16.75 (It’s a zone thing, you wouldn’t understand.)
  9. Traveling south out of DC on Interstate 395/295/95 is the most dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. There is nothing more frightening then seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 85 mph. Bumper to Bumper.
  10. The far left lanes on all Maryland/Virginia interstates are official “chat” lanes reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones. Note: All mini-vans and SUV’s have priority clearance to use the far left at whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multi-tasking in.
  11. If it’s 10 degrees, it’s the Nationals’ opening day.
  12. If it’s 110 degrees, it’s the Skins opening day.
  13. If the humidity is 90+ and the temperature is 90+, then it’s May, June, July, August, September, and sometimes October.
  14. Always remember this little rule on the Metro: Stand right, walk left. People WILL knock you down the Metro elevator and shout nasty things — again, in every dialect known to man EXCEPT English — if you do not follow this little rule. DC’ers are busy, important people who don’t have time to stand behind the 40 kids in Boy Scout Troop 325 visiting from Nowhere, Nebraska. And we’ll tell you that too!

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