I shouldn't be here. And while I've known that in my gut for now more than four years, I can't help but think I'm at the tail end of a breakup with the city of Washington, DC that would make good fodder for someone ridiculous like Dr. Phil.
My extended exit from the District is, of course, the moving company's fault. After frantically preparing for the big day and running all over the city saying my goodbyes to friends over too many bottles of wine, I've been sitting here for no less than three days--all of my belongings sealed in boxes, all of my furniture dismantled, all of my clothes packed away--waiting for them to show up, taunted by phone calls that keep delaying my plans.
I've never had an uneventful or easy move in all my many transient years, so I although I'm genuinely annoyed and ridiculously exhausted, I'm trying to keep my (relative) sanity intact. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I'll confess that around midnight last night I resorted to eating the last of the Ben & Jerry's in my freezer with my plastic coffee scoop, because all of my silverware is in a box...somewhere. Did I mention that I've essentially been wearing the same clothes since Sunday?
So today, Day Two of Erin's Not-So-Great-Escape from Washington, it became apparent that the big truck wasn't going to make it by my building's 6 p.m. deadline for using the freight elevator. I screamed at Tom the Moving Guy on the phone (who now picks up his line by saying, "Hi Erin..." as if we've somehow become friends through this ordeal) and then did what any self-respecting recreational endurance athlete would do: I ripped through my carefully packed car to locate my running shoes, a pair of shorts, dri-fit top, and hat so I could take one last lap through the Nation's Capital. After all, my training schedule very clearly stated "6 Miles -- Easy" today, and who am I to ignore a schedule if I don't absolutely have to?
Off I went, on a route that had become a favorite of mine over the past few years in the early mornings, before the tourist walk 3-to-8 abreast, the middle school field trips overwhelm the mall, the bike commuters ride on the sidewalk, and the cab drivers insist on nearly killing pedestrians at every intersection they choose to make a right turn on red. I thought it might evoke some nostalgia for my time here, perhaps some reflection on how my life has changed through this experience, and a bit of thought about what I'll truly miss about being here. And it did, but I suppose all of that is a posting for another time.
Not everybody has the opportunity to run past the White House, Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial pretty much every day before most people wake up. To not appreciate that kind of scenery and symbolism in my backyard would be ignorant. But every time I was held up at a stoplight or inhaled bus fumes and cigarette smoke, a part of me started longing for the summer days that I'll spend in Pennsylvania with unlimited miles of country roads to myself and all the fresh air I can handle.
I turned right from 17th Street to run past the White House, where a large street hockey game was in full effect. I was startled out of my deep thoughts as one of the players skated right in front of me, stopping me dead in my tracks by holding his hockey stick in my way.
"Hey, can I ask you a question?" he said.
Maybe it was because the guy was, to be frank, pretty hot, or maybe it was because I was craving human interaction beyond Tom the Moving Guy after 48-hours of isolation in my barren apartment. But I stopped...
To be continued.