On Saturday, I was reminded of a particular graffiti tag that often catches my eye in the ladies room of The Raven. It reads something to the effect of, "If you need to take a cab here, you don't belong here." Of course, said graffiti has been since forever ago. Mount Pleasant was significantly less accessible by foot and public transit the first time I noticed that tag, some 6 years ago. I'm not really sure what the pervading attitude towards "non-locals" is in Mnt P. these days, although I suspect that it has calmed down a little. One can't live on the edge of the rapidly developing Columbia Heights and reasonably maintain one's neighborhoodcentricity.
Today, a similar sentiment still lives for some on the H Street corridor today. Due to my dislike for overly-populated night- life haunts, I have come to really prize many of the establishments on H Street. Some, such as the Argonaut, have a cool, laid-back vibe where you can enjoy a quality beer and not scream to make yourself heard to the person sitting next to you. And in the case of Saturday, the bartender will be cute and he'll dedicate himself to refilling your pint of Allagash White practically every time you turn your head. As my own neighborhood lacks such an establishment, I often put up with the inconvenience of traveling across the city for such an experience. That however, does not seem to sit well with certain long-time residents of the area, one of whom I met on Saturday.
Very drunk, he took it upon himself to systematically annoy my friend and me for a good chunk of the night. It started off innocuously, but didn't get belligerent until after he asked where I lived and I said "Woodley Park." Apparently, that makes me a bougie snob unwelcome at his favorite watering hole.
Well excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me.
I am so tired of this assumption. There are plenty of reasons to live in WP besides the fact that you may enjoy living among the upper-middle class. Living there doesn't mean that you're a certain kind of person any more than living in Columbia Heights means that you're a gang member or a yuppie.
I can understand the anxiety felt by a long-time DC resident at the prospect of sharing a bar with a white 30-something woman who lives in WP. But give me a break. I'm sure there are people who live in the neighborhood who are way more of an indicator of a transitioning and threatening demographic than I am. I, who lives in a friggin' studio apartment and struggles to make ends meet each month. So leave me alone to enjoy my yuppie beer, good sir.
Eventually it was time to go home, a detail that brings me to the actual point of this post. Hurting for funds in a bad way, the sort of bad way that makes me inclined to not want to take *any* cash from the ATM, I am swept with a momentary fit of thrift and decide to wait for the H Street Shuttle. I have taken said shuttle before and have found the wait time only minorly painful. Crossing H Street to find the stop, I see the shuttle pass going in the opposite direction and think that it won't be terribly long before it heads back to safely transport me to Gallery Place.
I think wrong. 45 minutes later, I am frazzled, exhausted, I need to pee and most importantly, I am no closer to home than I was when I embarked on my journey. Also, at some point, some dude leered and muttered menacingly in my face. I can see the shuttle idling several blocks away like some impossible oasis of safe transit but it will not come any closer. It finally arrives and before long, I am tucked safely into my bed. However, my journey home has taken me approximately an hour and a half, thanks to the glorious inefficiencies of the H Street shuttle.
I now find it ironic that despite the apparent intolerance among many for outsiders on H Street, they make it damn difficult for a person to return to "their side" of the city.
I am hoping I can chalk this experience up to bad night and that the shuttle will return to better form.