Potomac Fervor

by Margaret Cheney

Washingtonians are erudite. Book sales top the nation. Strangers remark about people reading on the metro, bus, elevators, walking down the street, even when driving. Washingtonians travel widely, do cutting edge research and throng Smithsonian lectures. On any topic, there are Washingtonians who know all about it. They conscientiously point out the misspellings, grammatical and factual errors that appear in the Washington Post so the paper has material for its "Free For All" column.

Washingtonians are politically liberal, but conservative in taste. They like quality, not glitz. In NY Penn Station, one can locate the line for Washington by the Burberry and camel hair coats - in summer, suits - and attaché cases. Besides, everyone is reading. Washingtonians serve their country, but drive foreign cars.

Washingtonians make decisions of world import, yet remain friendly and polite. They say "please" and "thank you" and hold doors open. Washingtonians make change or pay the fare for tourists who board the bus with a $ 20.00 bill. They patiently explain that it is the Smithsonian "Institution," not "Institute." At the Kennedy Center, Washingtonians give a nice round of applause - even for less than stellar performances. However, they don't wait around for many curtain calls because they arise early to jog, walk the dog, catch a plane.

Washingtonians are very creative. They paint, compose music, write mysteries and political speeches. They are masters at dancing around the point.

Washingtonians love the Redskins and are themselves athletic, enjoying a wide range of unusual sports including polo, jousting and spinning the facts. They hike the mountains and sail the Bay, but fear snowflakes.

Washingtonians live in a beautiful area with a gorgeous central city. They catch "Potomac Fervor" and never "go back to Pocatello." They stay and become lobbyists and consultants.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  January 26, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  | Category:  Reader Submission
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