A few more photographs, taken by my sister during last week's visit to the Washington, D.C. branch of J. Press not far from Dupont Circle.
While I really like and enjoy our Michigan home (and how lucky we are to be within easy reach of major cross-country skiing areas in the winter), there is just no arguing that most national capitals have a level of sophistication -- in dress, behavior, interaction, institutional, and cultural outlets -- missing from daily life out in the provinces.
That's not a moral judgment you understand, but rather a feature that leaps out at you when meeting and observing people on the street, in restaurants, or frankly any other establishment. My brief visit provided a much needed breath of fresh air.
How nice it is to dine out in a few places where most men sport either suits, blazers, or sports jackets with neckties and decent looking dress shoes. The women were dressed correspondingly, the few children present were well-behaved, and people conversed in hushed tones as they enjoyed their evening meals. Ah, yes. For a few days at least, I felt like I was back on my home planet.
For many years, almost half of my life at this point, I have called the Upper Midwest home. There are many great things about the region, and at this point I cannot imagine living too many other places in the world. Berlin, Hamburg, and Bergen, Norway, for example, are three cities where I could happily relocate and stay forever, if we ignore potential developments in Europe for a moment.
With the notable exception of the Chicago area, however, there is simply no getting away from the fact that the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the U.S. are very different from places like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and now Michigan when it comes to daily life, outlook, and worldview.