Fact: Washington, DC is a small town. Look, I didn’t grow up in small town America. Where I’m from was no Mayberry – there were no fishing holes or front porch sitting. I grew up in a wonderful town called Vacaville, which sounds like small town America but actually has a population of 150,000. Even still, you’ve probably never heard of it, unless you have been incarcerated there or really like Nicholas Cage movies from the 1990s. So I don’t really know what it is like to live in a place where everyone knows your name and they are always glad you came. But Washington DC is a small town. Like, deceptively small.
According to my friends over at the Census Bureau, about 600,000 people live in the District of Columbia. Not to mention the hella people that commute in every day from the burbs (yes, hella is the official number). With that size population you should be able to go about your everyday life and not run into everyone you know. Think again.
Turns out there were some things Aaron Sorkin Forgot To Tell Me:
1. Blind dates never end
I’m gonna get real with you for a second. I went on a blind date with a very nice man in 2008 and it really never went anywhere. Common enough, sometimes things just don’t work out. It was one date, no harm no foul.
Except I run into this kid everywhere.
On the Metro, at the gym, in my favorite coffee shop, on the street. If that wasn’t enough, it turns out he went to high school with one of my closest friends! Basically, I met this guy during Bush Administration and he is STILL around, popping up all over town, making my life awkward.
Just last week my roommate came home and said, “By the way, I heard two girls on the metro talking about Jonathan Sparky today.” Can. Not. Shake. Him. You know what never happened on The West Wing? That. Just any part of it. Yeah, Sam kinda went out with Mallory and Josh dated Mandy (you forgot about her didn’t you?) and Amy – whom he ended up working with. And there was the whole Charlie and Zoey thing. But they ran into those people in the White House. Where they, or their fathers, worked. There was a reason for them to be in the same place. If this was real DC, Sam would have run into Mallory on a Sunday morning in a coffee shop nowhere near her neighborhood. Or in Zumba class. Or at a bar in Clarendon where neither one of them ever goes but their friends forced them to leave the house.
2. You might be dating the same person as your friend
Not your friend might have dated someone a couple months before you, I’m talking currently dating the same person. Imagine you are at a nice Sunday brunch chatting about your weekend, when you brunch friend mentions she went out with a guy, let’s call him Chris. The more she talks about Chris, the more familiar he sounds. What explains this phenomenon, might you ask? The fact that she went out on Friday with the same guy that YOU went out with on Saturday. True freaking story. You NEVER saw these kind of dating hijinks on The West Wing! If art had imitated life, then Josh and Sam would have discovered over a mid morning walk and talk that they went out with the same women. Possibly even to the same restaurant.
3. Kevin Bacon has nothing on us
Everyone can be connected to you in six degrees? We are not impressed, Mr. Bacon. Did you ever tell a hysterical story about Goldschläger at a party in a different state and in doing so accidentally out one of your friends to his fraternity brother? Did you ever met a man’s friends, sister, mentor’s daughter, fraternity brother, and wife all before meeting him, thus forcing you to pretend you didn’t already know everything about his life? Did your good friend call you one day because he discovered his new research assistant was your camper 10 years ago at a tiny camp in the Redwoods? Did you ever sit next to the same person flying to and from London only to discover he worked across the street from you? I. didn’t. think. so.