May 24, 2010

A Guide to Acting Like You’re Not From Around Here

Posted in musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:34 pm by silversprung

I recently had guests in town and had a few good laughs about the things they said or did because they weren’t local. So below, I’ve written a short guide on how not to fit in with residents of the Washington, DC metro region, especially Silver Springers.

10. Call the metro the “subway.”

9. Wear clothing marked “FBI,” “CIA,” or the presidential seal.

8. Block people from walking on the metro escalators (stand right, walk left, folks.)

7. Ask if Chevy Chase, Maryland, Chevy Chase Bank, etc. are connected to Chevy Chase the actor.

6. Ask to see Cherry Blossoms any time other than the brief few weeks they are in bloom.

5. Try to use a metrocard for more than one person. (Update: um, that’s farecard)

4. Try to navigate the D.C. streets as if it’s a grid. (It’s SO not. It was designed that way on purpose. BTW, there’s no “J Street.”) (Update: Gridders beware. The previous sentence was inaccurate. — see commenters– So sue me.)

3. Ask, “which mall?” whenever someone references the Mall (they mean the National Mall.)

2. Pronounce “Sligo” as “SLEE-go”

1. Say “Silver Springs”


  1. Terry in Silver Spring said,

    Another one that marks you as a newcomer: Call National Airport either Reagan or Reagan National.

  2. Jen from Takoma Park said,

    Also, call D.C. “Washington” — as in “Which Washington neighborhood has the best nightlife?”

  3. DogsRule said,

    Ask someone where the Tea Party convention and open carry firearms rally is.

  4. dagmar said,

    Saying “I’m going to visit the Smithsonian”, which I’ve heard referred akin to “I’m going to JC Penny to visit the sweater”.

    I’d say visiting monuments and/or attending the Inauguration would label you a visitor. In NYC, locals have never been to the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State building outside of the 4th grade field trip and wouldn’t be caught dead (or would they have to be?!) showing up for New Years in Times Square.

    • Jerry said,

      I guess I’ve been “visiting” here then for 32 years as
      I’ve been to both inaugurations and the monuments.

  5. Jacob said,

    Ref #5 – metrocards work on the subway, since they’re both used in New York City. Here in DC, we have farecards.

    Ref #4 – how is the DC grid not a grid? Both numbered and lettered streets start at the Capitol, and the letter pattern extends to one, two, and a few three-syllable words past Z. It’s a grid plus diagonal avenues.

    • silversprung said,

      If you actually use the word “farecard” instead of “metrocard,” then touché, but you still can’t use it for more than one person here. And Methinks cutting a grid with lots of of diagonal avenues means you’re not left with a simple grid anymore. Wouldn’t you say?

      • Kate said,

        Nope, still a grid. Its a grid if you can gather the cross street from the address. For instance, 1101 K Street NW – near 11th and on K NW. 1101 11th Street NE – on 11th near L street NE.

        The grid isn’t perfect, but you can reasonably guess addresses and distances through the letters, and do some figuring north of V as well when you get into the syllabic streets.

        The diagonals don’t make it not a grid, they’re just exceptions.

    • silversprung said,

      I stand corrected. But I’m still not correcting anything.

  6. silversprung said,

    Love the additional ideas, folks.

  7. deckcrasher said,

    “Silver Springs”: makes me scream when I see it pop up as a location identifier in a movie or tv show. Do your friggin’ research!

  8. Patrick said,

    Can’t stand Silver “Springs,” and also can’t stand when people who aren’t from Silver Spring think of the pedestrian mall on Ellsworth as the extent of “dowtown” Silver Spring…as if Georgia Ave, Colesville Rd, etc., didn’t exist until McGinty’s opened.

  9. MattF said,

    Don’t forget that the extra ‘s’ in “Silver Springs” was borrowed from “John Hopkins”.

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