Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mid-Atlantic Hospitality

I just got back from Nationals Park in Washington, DC, where John Smoltz's debut with the Red Sox didn't exactly go as planned. What I want to get across in this brief (well, somewhat brief) post is that aside from the woman who shafted me by promising to sell me tickets to the game via Craigslist and then selling them on eBay behind my back (I waited for 45 minutes at L'Enfant Plaza, but I'm not bitter...), everybody in this part of the country has been exceptionally friendly and kind.

Seriously, my DC experience, lived largely solo thus far due to my wife's current participation at a hen party for a friend of hers who is getting married this weekend (which is why we're down here), has been exceptional. I'll get to the (excellent) Nationals experience in another post, but let me sum up the friendliness of the locals thusly:

On the train back to Springfield, Va., from DC, a woman struck up a conversation with me because she liked my Portland Sea Dogs baseball cap. She and her husband had visited Portland at some point, had gone to a Sea Dogs game and had loved the experience. (Well, what's not to love?)

Anyway, it turns out that the lady is a native of northern Virginia, and the gentleman is from no place other than Wichita Falls, Texas (and, of course, Texas is my home state). Well, to make a medium-length story somewhat shorter, I wasn't sure how I was going to get back to my hotel from the train station. Without me ever asking--I had inquired honestly and innocently about whether there would be any cabs at the station when we arrived--these nice folks offered to drive me back to my hotel. And drive me back they did.

Granted, it was a fairly short trip, maybe a mile or two, but they had also been at the game and were facing an hour-long drive home from the train station. These were just good, friendly folks who did a favor for a total stranger, and it was heartening (not to mention incredibly handy) for me to have that experience. I'm not saying that it wouldn't have happened in Boston--but I'm not saying that it would have, either.

What I'm saying is that it happened in DC (and Northern Virginia, I suppose), and it capped off an evening that will leave me with fantastic memories despite the Red Sox' considerable misfortune. (They lost 9-3, for those who don't watch SportsCenter.) My impressions of this city and this area have long been mixed, but they're very positive right now, not even 24 hours after we left Boston for the banks of the Potomac. Mark me down as a fan of DC and the folks here. Just one thing, though--I still hate the Redskins. That will never change.

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