'A Window Into Who We Are'

by Tina Fitzgerald Parks

Tina Fitzgerald Parks
Last summer I got married, and my husband and I honeymooned in Bora Bora. Surrounded by honeymooners from all over the globe, the first question we were always asked was, "Where are you from?" to which I would readily answer: "Washington, D.C." My husband would sometimes get irritated and say later, "We live on the Eastern Shore now; it's misleading to say D.C., and besides, you grew up in Potomac."

By the end of our trip, I finally did my best to explain to him my need to say "I'm from D.C.," and furthermore, what that means to me. "Look, I'm not just spewing out the closest metropolitan city to our Zip code; I am attempting to provide a window into who we are."

The proximity to the capital breeds a certain kind of people. We are sophisticated, politically conscious, culturally diverse, socially tolerant, environmentally conscientious and intellectually curious. We attend political rallies, walks for charity and fundraisers for anything; we believe in diplomacy and know how to "reach across the aisle." We join book clubs, rescue animals and attempt vegetarianism and Ethiopian food; we believe in the Redskins and hold a certain level of contempt for Ravens fans; we listen to WPGC and NPR in equal measure; we believe in education without being elitist and have an appreciation for classical music while also having a healthy understanding of go-go.

So, whether we are natives, transplants or living outside the Beltway, a certain Washington-ness bleeds from the four quadrants into the surrounding metropolitan area. Many of us Washingtonians have moved to other parts of the country since high school or college graduation, but we always seem to move back; we crave the companionship of like-minded people, of other Washingtonians, and that intangible that makes us so.

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By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 26, 2009; 9:01 AM ET  | Category:  John Kelly's Picks
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I have read a number of the other entries, but I believe Tina's contribution best epitomizes what it means to be a Washingtonian. She certainly gets my vote!

Posted by: asred2 | January 30, 2009 9:07 PM

When she mentioned go-go I knew she knows her Washington!

Posted by: onlyghost | February 27, 2009 9:37 AM

So far, Tina's essay is best and on point. She won me over when she mention go-go. I'm a true believer that all born and raised Washintonian know something about go-go and chicken wings /w mumbo sauce.

Posted by: patlr504 | February 27, 2009 9:49 AM

As someone born near a military base in South Carolina and raised in Fairfax County, I can completely relate to Tina's perspective. The farther away from home I get the more I tell people I'm from Washington DC. I love this area, and I think it encompasses more that just the 4 quadrants.

Posted by: laura6866 | February 27, 2009 11:00 AM

She sounds like a rich girl who married a black loser.

Posted by: August30 | February 27, 2009 11:30 AM

Reading this and the other essays, they all lack something...real depth or the real flavor of DC? I, too, was born in DC but grew up in the 'burbs of MD. Going into DC is for work, seeing shows, performing in shows, visiting the museums and mall, shopping at Woodies or Hecht's, visiting friends and relatives, viewing Bobby Kennedy's funeral procession and seeing the aftermath of the riots of '68 in DC. And lastly, seeing all the races even in times of tragedies, such as the riots, JFK & MLK assassinations and 9/11 - the camaraderie of how we all feel the same pain and united.

Posted by: MadgieMay | February 27, 2009 11:31 AM

While away at college those of us from DC told those from Maryland and VA that they were not from DC. This puts it all in perspective.

Posted by: Nick20 | February 27, 2009 1:08 PM

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