Be Patient

These are the days here in Washington. The helicopters started their slow circles on Friday night. The Metro is filling with pink cheeked novices. The storefronts are hung with red, white, and blue bunting, framing taffeta and sequins inside. A line of tough bicycles is parked, unlocked, outside of a cafe on Connecticut Avenue. A line of tough bicycle cops is inside. One keeps an eye on the wheels. Who would dare? You can't steal all of them, and woe to someone who steals just one and becomes the object of a high speed two wheeled posse. The military presence on the streets surely exceeds that in Baghdad. And tomorrow, we bundle up and take the long walk down the hill with a few of our neighbors just so we can say later, "we were there."

As amazing as it may be to committed transit geeks and urbanists, many of those coming into the city will never have taken a bus, or ridden a subway. The protocols are mysterious to them, the ticketing confusing, routes perplexing. Why does the train say Glenmont if it takes me to Metro Center? The eyes of the world will be on this beautiful city, so let's make a good impression. Jan Gehl's urban prime directive rings in my head: be sweet. And be patient.

As the Dylan song says, things are going to get interesting right about now...

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