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.
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.