You know live in Washington DC when…

  • Your local news is national news.
  • You actually know what the black boxes at stoplights are for.
  • Your neighborhood high school is only a year old, and is already overcrowded.
  • You know at least 2 people who drive a Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.
  • You are amazed when you go out of town and the people at McDonald’s speak English.
  • The airport is called Washington National. It is not, and never will be called Reagan National.
  • For the cost of your house, you could own a small town in Iowa.
  • The nearest place to find affordable homes is Frederick, MD… and prices are rising fast.
  • Helicopters and small airplanes flying above your neighborhood is a normal occurrence.
  • You have to dial the area code to call your next-door neighbor.
  • You don’t consider exploding man hole covers to be an unusual occurrence.
  • You have a few friends who can’t describe what they do for a living… only that it’s “Top Secret government work.”
  • You can tell by people’s cars where they live and maybe even what neighborhood.
  • Snow means rain to you.
  • You actually know what goes on in Dupont Circle.
  • You can’t go to Tysons Corner without seeing someone you know.
  • Subway is a fast food place. The transportation system is known as The Metro, and nothing else.
  • You can harmonize perfectly with the alert for “Doors Closing” on the Metro.
  • There are at least 3 malls within 20 minutes of your house.
  • There are at least 6 Starbucks within 20 minutes of your house.
  • You or someone in your family has a Smart Tag.
  • All the potholes just add a little excitement to your driving experience.
  • A rich white kid driving a BMW while blasting rap music is a common occurrence.
  • You call things “ghetto” even though in most of the rest of the country it would be high class.
  • You or most of your friends have a 3 car garage, but you don’t actually keep cars in it.
  • They tear down an old farm house across the street, and put 12 new houses in its place.
  • The word Hfstival actually means something to you.
  • If you stay on the same road long enough, it will eventually have 3 names.
  • You can’t pull up to a 7-11 without seeing at least one cop, and usually there’s another cop sitting not too far away.
  • You believe that talking on Metro in the morning should be prohibited.
  • You have ever paid more money in parking tickets in a year than you do in medical bills, living costs and rent combined.
  • You know that when driving through Georgetown, you will hear the music of the car next to you louder than you can hear your own.
  • You elbow tourists out of the way on the Metro escalators to “gently” remind them to walk left, stand right.
  • Going to work early means being there by 9:00AM.
  • You don’t bat an eye at 500 politicians and businessmen in suits running like their lives depended on it, just to catch a Metro that will be followed by another in 90 seconds.
  • You call it Targ├ęt, not Target, and are well aware that the one in Alexandria is just a “tad different”.

On matters transportational:

  • When it takes you 45 minutes to drive 3 miles on I-66, 95, 395, 495, 50, 123, 29, or 270, it’s a pretty good day.
  • You know at least fifteen ways to get anywhere, and you know exactly which way to go based on the weather, time of day, current political climate, terrorism road closures, and whether you are coming or going.
  • “I got stuck behind a motorcade” is a common and totally acceptable excuse for being late.
  • “Finding a parking space” becomes an appointment on your calendar (E.g.. 7:00-8:00 Gym, 8:30-9:00PM – find a parking space, 9:00-10:30PM – Dinner reservations.), and if successful, a cause for celebration.
  • Speed limits are just suggestions.
  • Stop signs really mean slow down a little, but only if you feel like it.
  • You take a major highway to the convenience mart.
  • “Aggressive Driving” is an acceptable survival tactic.
  • It’s not actually tailgating unless your bumper is touching the car in front of you.
  • A yellow light means at least 5 more cars can get through.
  • …while a red light means 2 more can.
  • It takes you 30 minutes to drive 10 miles.
  • You can cross 4 lanes of traffic in under 30 seconds.
  • A slow driver is someone who’s only going 10mph over the speed limit.
  • You see I-395 as Northern Virginia’s version of NASCAR.
  • There is no such thing as North, South, East, or West on the beltway, it’s just “use the Inner Loop” or “use the Outer Loop.”
  • When you hear the phrase “Mixing Bowl,” you never think about cooking.
  • When you give someone an estimated travel time from point A to point B, you instinctively double it, then add 10 minutes.
  • You refer to distances in minutes, not miles.
  • When you put on your turn signal to change lanes, the people next to you speed up.
  • Ice on the roads means that you pay more attention to other cars, but feel free to still drive 75 mph.
  • You consider the Purple Line the “holy grail” of local transportation. Unless you play golf in Montgomery County, in which case it’s a horrible threat.
  • You notice that there’s been construction on the same stretch of highway for the past 5 years, and yet you’ve never seen anyone working on it.
  • Someone has honked at you because you didn’t peal out the second the light turned green.
  • You’ve honked at someone because they didn’t peal out the second the light turned green.
  • The few times you have gotten lost in DC you have always ended up in Anacostia; every road out somehow leads back to Anacostia.
  • Rush hour lasts all day… and is usually a contradiction in terms.
  • When you were driving on the beltway at 2:13am on a Tuesday there was still traffic.
  • You know how to dance the Rock Creek Crawl.

On matters geographical:

  • You say you’re from DC, but you actually live in VA or MD and don’t want to take to trouble to explain where.
  • You’ve never been to a Wal-Mart, and aren’t entirely sure they really exist.
  • You have the Metro map memorized, yet act like you don’t know when someone asks you how to get to Metro Center.
  • You know where the Pentagon is, but never bother to correct anyone about its location.
  • You can see the National Cathedral and/or the Basilica from almost anywhere.
  • You know you’ve crossed into Northern Virginia, without ever seeing a sign, only because your speedometer goes from 60 to 0.
  • You know which bridges to cross to get to Maryland or Virginia.
  • You consider Northern Virginia to be in no way similar to Southern or even Central Virginia.
  • You meet someone else who says they’re from the DC area and you realize they live two hours away from you.
  • You know that South Vietnam is no longer in Southeast Asia; it’s been re-located to Seven Corners.
  • Most of Loudoun County is the “middle of nowhere.”

On matters recreational:

  • You go anywhere on the Eastern Shore, Rehoboth, Dewey, Ocean City, Skyline Drive, or the Outer Banks for vacation and everyone you meet is from DC.
  • When you and your friends get bored you all whip out your cell phones and start playing with them.
  • You don’t like the Redskins, Nationals or the Wizards, and aren’t too fond of the Ravens or the Orioles, either.
  • You’ve claimed that there’s nothing to do on a weekend night even when you have the entire nation’s capitol to explore.
  • You are amused by visiting relatives who are actually excited to see Washington DC.
  • 9:30 isn’t just a time, its a place.

Life in Washington, DC:

If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.