Friday, October 10, 2014

DC Days: Rockin' the Suburbs Edition, Part One

Before we begin:

Now that you have thoroughly rocked, we can begin. Today's post comes to you from the magical suburban land of Tysons Corner. For those of you who don't live in the greater Northern Virginia area, Tysons Corner is a vast expanse of shopping, office buildings, chain restaurants, hotels, and sadness. It takes approximately 4 hours to drive there from most locations in NOVA and then an additional 3 hours to find parking once you arrive. By the time you do both of these things you no longer want to shop or go to the movies or each at one of the wonderful restaurants. You just want to go home, curl into a ball, and have someone bring you a drink.

All that changed this past July when Metro (our public transportation system here in the DMV) opened its newest line, the Silver Line. The Silver Line runs from Reston, Virginia, through Arlington, into downtown DC, and ends at Largo Town Center in Maryland. Eventually, the line will extend beyond Reston. I'm sure that will happen sometime before my 80th birthday.

My favorite part of the launch of the Silver Line is not the additional trains that I have available to me on my museum commute or that one day the reality of Metro-ing to Dulles Airport would be realized. I don't really use Metro all that often so these benefits were not really for me. No, my favorite part was that Metro told me that my life would change because of the Silver Line. Good times are ahead for us all.

This is just one of the ads that were up around town, on Metro cars, and in stations. So in addition to not making me want to jab a pencil in my eye when driving to and parking at Tysons Corner, the Silver Line will improve my love life and remind me of the sheer joy of accessible public transportation. I assume a Metro sponsored dating website will be launching sometime soon.

What's interesting (at least to me) is that these ads (and this one - my favorite) is that they imply that living in the suburbs is this horrible thing that can only be remedied by access to the city. Now you can go to brunch! And date! And have adventures! All because of the Silver Line! I grew up in the suburbs (as did most of my friends) and I turned out okay. I live in a weird urban/suburban hybrid city now. I don't feel like I have to go to DC to enjoy myself. But that is what Metro would like me to believe.

Here's the thing: you can do all of these things without the Silver Line. There are other ways to enjoy the city and to get there. So I'm going to do the exact opposite of what Metro would like me to do. Instead of traveling to the city, I'm going to take the Silver Line to Tysons Corner and enjoy all that the suburbs have to offer. I want to have brunch, get a facial, shop, and have some sort of mall snack at the food court. I want to enjoy the promise of a suburban lifestyle. I want to prove that this article is silly and rude. I want to rock the suburbs.

Tomorrow my friend Anita and I will take the Silver Line from Clarendon to Tysons Corner. We will enjoy all that the suburban experience can offer us and we won't have to drive or park a car. It will be magical and life-changing. Just like Metro promised.

Maybe we'll even dance our way from the Metro station to the shopping center.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I didn't realize when I deleted my comment that it would then go ahead and post a comment indicating that I deleted my comment.

    That makes it all seem very ominous when really, I only took my comment down because, upon reflection, I thought it was trivial and kind of silly.

    But I think the comment about the removed comment is worse, so I'll repost the (trivial and silly) comment here.

    I think you're spot-on (to be British about it, even though I'm not British) when it comes to avoiding mall parking lots. I was once trapped in one for over an hour, trying to reach the exit ramp. I now choose malls solely on the basis of whether or not I can get in and out of the parking lot without risking a flare-up of low-grade PTSD.

    I think that there are probably other reasons why that guy in the Metro picture can't get a date, and that new Metro stations may or may not help him. I also think that the picture of people dancing down the platform to get on the train is hysterical, because this is so NOT what riding a train is like, even on a good day.

    This, in a nutshell, was the comment that I removed. I really enjoy reading your posts. Have a good day!

  3. Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoy my posts. I've been a bit remiss in comment responding of late.

    I assume that mall parking lots and casinos were designed with the same idea in mind - to make us go crazy and then spend all of our money to make us feel better. I guess the positive of most mall parking lots is that you can see outside. :)

    In my heart, I would like to believe that the actor who portrayed John (as I believe he's referred to in the ad) has a healthy relationship with the woman/man of his dreams and they live in an awesome apartment or house in the town or city of their choice. Maybe they have a cat or a bulldog. But they're happy and they sit in the living room and have a nice laugh about that time John was in those Metro ads.