juxtaposition.

Two years ago, I could wear blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt in 90 degree weather without breaking a sweat.

After four months in the West African nation of Ghana, my body had acclimated to the at-first-unbearable heat of living only a few degrees north of the equator. But not only had I merely gotten used to the heat, my lifestyle had changed. I walked more slowly, shuffled my flip-flopped feet in the red dirt, left my dorm room 15 minutes earlier than I might have and took my time as I walked across campus with uncommon leisure. My pace. My breathing. My life. All slowed to a calmer, more serene tempo.

***

“The two most radical things you can do in America are slow down and talk to people.” (Dr. Mary Pipher)

***

Washington, DC, is the perfect capitol city for our frenetic country. In no other city I have lived in or visited have I experience such a highly focused, fast-paced, self-centric culture. DC is agenda-driven – everyone has somewhere to be, and your presence (your very existence, really) only serves to get in the way. 

Caveat: this is not to say that altogether dislike DC. In fact, I like it quite a lot. Truly, it is an epicenter for change, a diverse and energetic atheneum of ideas and innovation.

Still…

Sadly, I find myself falling into this culture that I find highly productive, but overly sterilized and impersonal, and I have to remind myself: stand on the escalator, greet others, laugh, slow down, breathe.

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3 thoughts on “juxtaposition.

  1. oo0, thanks for the new word – “atheneum.” Very cool – very evocative of the ancient meeting and milling of ideas which resulted in all sorts of influential laws and writing – like DC today.

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