Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why I Hate DC: Reason #101

[This was me Saturday morning, minus the track part.]

Saturday morning I went out for my usual run through DuPont Circle and Columbia Heights. On my way back, approaching the busy intersection of 16th St./U St./Rhode Island Ave. (ed note: it was really New Hampshire Ave. - thanks U St. Citizen), I tripped into a small pothole and took a major spill - we're talking an almost-face plant - onto the street.

There were easily a dozen people around/near me who witnessed my fall. For about 15 seconds, I was on all fours because I could feel a strong pain in my right ankle and could not put any pressure on it to get up. Once I did get up, I spent another 30 seconds hopping on one foot to get to the sidewalk to assess the damage. I was bleeding from the scrape on my left knee. My right ankle was already beginning to swell. I was in pain, fighting an urge to start crying.

Not a single person - either walking by, standing at the bus stop, or enjoying their coffee at the Starbucks right in front of me (of course this kind of thing would happen to me there) - asked me if I was OK or if I needed help.

In fact, a woman with her dog
walked around me while I was on all fours in the crosswalk, completely ignoring me.

"I'm fine, by the way, thanks for asking," I said to her as she went past but of course she ignored me.

This kind of thing would never happen in Chicago or Portland. And yet I'm stuck here, surrounded by these kind of people, for the next 3.5 years.


  1. Bah, that sucks. For what it is worth, are you okay?

  2. WHAAAAAT?! THIS. IS. TOTAL. HORSESHIT. I am not okay with people being treated this way--especially you-- and I want descriptions of everyone who ignored your injury so I can kick their collective asses on your behalf. Love you, boo.

  3. Not defending DC but there's hundreds of cities this would happen in.

  4. Ouch, I hope you're okay. And I'm really saddened that nobody stopped to help you. I once wiped out like that in a Walmart in my old suburban town in Florida. I was surrounded by people, but nobody asked if I was okay. In fact, while I was still on the floor in that split second trying to figure out what just happened, a guy that was behind me just pushed his cart casually around me, pointedly doing everything he could to avoid eye contact.

    At any rate I hope you'll run across kinder people in your next 3.5 years here! They do exist, I promise. :)

  5. Last week, while I was out riding with my brother, I blew a tire and stopped to change it. In the seven or so minutes we were on the side of the trail with the wheel off my bike, no less that five people stopped (OK, slowed down) to ask if we were OK and if we needed anything.* We said "Thanks, no" and they went on their merry way.

    I agree, though, that it was pretty crappy for folks to just pass you by and ignore the situation. I expect better from you D.C. Hard stare...

    *Turns out, I could have used an intertube since I blew another within a mile. Doh!

  6. I'm so sorry for you - I've been there. I was running one evening this summer when it was ridiculously humid, and I actually threw up from the heat. I was on a busy street, right in front of a restaurant, and not a single person asked if I was all right or if I had someone I could call - nothing.

    DC should be better than this - especially with the number of transplants we have from nice cities.

  7. This is sad, but not a fair representation of DC. I wiped out on my bike a few months ago downtown and half a dozen people tried to come to my aid as I waved them off and assured them I was just shaken up and didn't need an ambulance, or anything. That kind of thing happens everywhere.

  8. First, I hope you are OK. Sorry this happened, and I am also sorry you have such a negative opinion of the citizens of this city. I think this kind of thing could happen anywhere - from small towns on. And I'm from the Chicago area so I know what it's like to trip and fall in Chicago as well because I've done it (more than once). Sometimes, people just walk by. I don't think that this is the standard in DC, but that's no excuse. Also, sometimes, I think people believe we don't want them to address our embarrassing moments - our trips, etc. - thinking it's best they pretend it never happened so we can save face.

    Secondly, for what it's worth, yesterday, some friends and I were walking down Columbia Ave near Adams Morgan and a girl walking tripped - and I mean seriously tripped, basically belly-flopping on the pavement, did not get her hands out in time, pretty sure got it on her face... It looked bad, and she made a pretty awful noise. She immediately curled into a ball, rocking back and forth as we stopped and asked if she was OK - and so did at least 5 other people walking by. She pulled her headphones out of her ears, but barely addressed anyone's questions of concern, saying quietly after an uncomfortable pause between our questions, "I'm fine."

    She stayed in that position a while in the middle of the sidewalk, so we left because what were we supposed to do, stare at her til she acknowledged our efforts to help further? I'm thinking it was her ego and not her body that was hurt the most, but I could not tell, so I don't want to judge based on that alone. But sometimes people just give the impression they don't want to be helped. Not saying you did, but this can be the case.

    Also, I think you mean New Hampshire Ave, not Rhode Island Ave.

    Hope you have better experiences in your next 3.5 years here. Sometimes, I think self-fulfilling prophecy is a reality, and that if you think DC is really full of as heartless people as you seem to believe, that's what you'll encounter. I don't get the "I'm stuck in DC" attitude. DC can be a great city and provide lots of great opportunities. I don't know your background, maybe you're here on scholarship, I don't know, but if you have 101 reasons to hate it, how many do you need to leave? I hope your experiences improve though.

  9. I'm sure if you were seriously hurt, someone would have helped you. Except for asking "are you alright", what would you like for them to have done for you? Call an ambulance? People can get surly when they are majorly embarassed and minorly hurt. I tried to help one woman up after she twisted her ankle and she screamed at me DONT TOUCH ME LEAVE ME ALONE GET THE F*CK AWAY FROM ME.

    Ok then.

    It's human nature.

    Also, if you really needed assistance you could have asked for it. I'm sure that sarcastic remark to the woman who passed you didn't convince anyone that you needed assistance, so much as acknowledgement that you hurt yourself.

    FWIW, I was doored on my bike last year on 14th St. Knocked me off my bike and sent me sprawling into the street. A bunch of people helped carry me and my bike (and my belongings) back to the sidewalk. I was so dazed I never got the chance to thank them.

    I'm sorry you got hurt and I'm sorry that you felt ignored by everyone around you.

  10. When I crashed on my bike here last year, no one gave a shit, even though I was sprawled out a busy street corner, bleeding from my head. Cops even rolled by and...kept going.

  11. Dude, sorry you got hurt. For real. Hope you heal fast. However, unlike the person above who was "not defending DC" I totally am. if you hate it so much here and "these kind of people" then get the eff out. Sorry to be harsh but I've lived here pretty much my whole life and love it and with a million people int he metropolitan area they cant all be bad. we may not be the kings and queens of hospitality, sugar and spice and everything nice like other parts of the coutry, e.g. the South (and I've lived in North Carolina for anecdotal evidence) but those types of people are just nice to your face anyway and debutante bitchy/elitist behind your back. But what DC does have is some of the smartest, most diverse, most cultured people that I for one am COMPLETELY grateful to be SURROUNDED by and getting to know and learn from and work with. And if you run in Dupont and head down to the Mall/Hanes Point you would know its also a GORGEOUS city to be in, with mild(er) weather compared to many, i.e. Chicago UGH AND with great transportation (albeit not perfect but at least it exists via Portand.) All cities have their advantages and disadvantages. Obviously someone kissing your booboos is important to you so yeah head West. Happy trails!

  12. ugh..sorry bout your spill.. but i have to say..i've fallen down (a lot im pretty clumsy)and folks have alwasy surprised me by ow MUCH help they have offered... im sorry we let you down when you needed a helping hand...

  13. so I was TOTES harsh on you the other day. But it did inspire a blogpost. I may be a DCnative, DClocal, DCsnob but I do have a 101 reaons of my own. Sorry about the haterade. Here's my lame ass excuse for shoving it down your throat:

  14. Similar experience today via my car. I hate this town and I hate the selfishness of the people here. I know there are those who say "oh DC is such a great city", but a city is NOTHING without the integrity of its citizens, and as of today, as far as I'm concerned, DC can go f*** itself. Sorry about your spill - take good care and hang in there.

  15. okay, coming from Jersey I get the whole mentality of NYC and DC. Quite honestly, NYC is far worse. Perhaps just the top assholes of the DC community happened to be around you. Because had I witnessed such a catastrophe, I would have asked, helped, and even called an ambulance if neccesary! I wouldn't put all the blame on DC. It certainly has it's redeeming qualities. But I will say that as I live just outside of DC in a tiny community affectionately deemed "Old Town", I don't believe this negative experience would have happened.

  16. I can't stand this place either. And as much as I would *like* to get the eff out as some locals suggest -- guess what boys and girls? Sometimes we have to do what we have to do in order to get an education or gain experience and unfortunately that has to happen in DC sometimes. So feel free to share your gripes because you're clearly working hard and we'll all someday get out of here!