Native Washingtonian 101 – How to really tick us off

Washington is a southern city despite recent declarations we don’t sound southern anymore. Federal City has always been a transient town since opening more than 200 years ago, but head to the southern suburbs and you’ll still hear “y’all” while men open doors for women.

We don’t handle snow very well. We don’t even handle rain very well. Translation – tourists should stay off the sidewalks during inclement weather.

Washingtonians can’t handle wet weather. It’s mostly traffic is already so bad that one little thing just gridlocks us. And, people are in such a big hurry they won’t slow down for slick pavement.

A friend in the auto body business calls rain “pennies from heaven” for all the business it generates.

Washingtonians are a little sensitive about our winter driving skills. So if you really want to tick us off, repeat the following:

“This is nothing compared to where I’m from.”

Undoubtedly, it’s some New Yorker or Pennsylvanian saying they get 10 feet of snow and we’re just a bunch of whining schoolgirls. President Obama made this mistake in 2008 when his kids asked why school was closed for snow when they never did so in Chicago. Oh, they lost adorable points that day.

Maybe we’re just southern sissies, I don’t know. I’m just saying to keep your northern nose out of our wet-weather driving capabilities or see a snowball coming your way.

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10 Responses to Native Washingtonian 101 – How to really tick us off

  1. M.E. says:

    You guys have problems driving on dry pavement, far as I can see. I fully agree your degree of suffering in anything but scorching hot, humid conditions is not “nothing.” I realized early on here that comparisons would indeed irk you for the simple reason that you have NO IDEA what we’re talking about. None. It’s apples and oranges. You are totally handicapped by the lack of many things that people in the 9-months-of-winter states depend on entirely. I’m sure you’ve never seen a snow plow with an 8′ blade. And you’ve never had your car towed because you were parked on a snow emergency route. Also, southern suburbs…that would be Virginia, no? Folks hold doors for me right here in DC. You’re very nice when you’re not totally stressed.

  2. Rick says:

    Actually, there are Maryland suburbs called “Southern Maryland” where men hold open doors for women and other Southern niceties, too. And yes, we’ve seen 8-foot snow plow blades. Just not every day like those up north.

  3. I first moved to DC after living in New England for 4 years. It definitely felt like a southern city in comparison: people thank the bus drivers when they get off, for heaven’s sake. As for the snow, I think part of the coping problem may be that many of us secretly LIKE the fact that snow shuts down the city. Because, as you note, everyone’s just in too much of a hurry until you force them to stop and take a snow day.

  4. Meg says:

    Yeah, someone scoffing at my complaints about snow and ice turning up their nose and barking, “Ha, you think this is bad? You’ve never been to XYZ!”

    No, sir, I haven’t. And I don’t care. That doesn’t mean our snow doesn’t still suck, or that we have difficulties driving in it. This isn’t Alaska and we don’t see weather like this all the time. Get over it.

    In fact, I’m annoyed just having had to type that.

  5. Meg says:

    Maryland is definitely the southern suburbs. Virginia has nothing on us!

  6. Damn right I thank the bus drivers! And the Metro train drivers, too! I by no stretch of the imagination can be considered a Southerner, and I don’t think of those as Southern traits — just polite traits, like my mother taught me.

  7. Meg says:

    I’m with you, Elizabeth, and think you’re onto something! We enjoy the chaos that surrounds “snow days” because, well . . . we get a snow day. And as most of us running around like insane lunatics half the time, it’s nice to be forced into an ice- and snow-induced break.

  8. Alex says:

    One of the things I have always liked about riding the bus in DC is that people not only thank the bus drivers, they often seem to know them!

  9. Ward 5 says:

    HA! I love it!

  10. Erik says:

    I’m probably going to make enemies on both sides here, but DC isn’t a Southern city. It’s not a northern city, but it’s definitely not a Southern city. I lived in Atlanta for 18 years, went to college in South Carolina, and grad school in at the Univ. of Georgia, so I’d like to think I know something on the subject.

    That being said, we don’t know how to drive in the snow, but I feel that’s largely due to people being too busy and important in their own minds to slow down and drive with care.

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