Yesterday evening, I had my friend Carly and her fiancée Meghan over for dinner. While Carly and I have lived here for quite some time, Meghan is new to the area. During dinner conversation we discussed their hunt for an apartment in the Fairfax area. “Why does everything have the word Fair in its name? It’s confusing!” Meghan said.
And I told her what I tell a lot of people who aren’t Northern Virginians; I’ve lived here forever and I still don’t know where things are.
Meghan’s not wrong. The F counties can go f themselves… Fairfax, Fairlington, Fauquier. It’s not really fair that they named everything the same. (But really I do enjoy Fairfax; I had to make the joke for the sake of alliteration!)
According to Wikipedia Northern Virginia is, “several counties and independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia… radiating southerly and westward from Washington, D.C.”
From most of my Google search images it almost looks like the portrait of a lady’s head, with either a tiny hat or large growth protruding from the top. Counties include: Alexandria, Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William, Fauquier, Stafford (what up hometown!) Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania. I’d say Fredericksburg and Spotsy are pushing it, but lots of people commute from there, so I sort of get it.
I think it’s safe to say if you live in Virginia and drive to D.C. for work, you’re in Northern Virginia, or just plain stupid. I’m not a fan of long commutes, I’m not really sure why anyone subjects themselves to the one of the worst commutes in the US.
Being a military member, I often hear transplants from other geographic locales bemoan my beloved region. Complaints about traffic, rude people, muggy and unpredictable weather rise to the top of afflictions these newcomers suffer. News flash people: Northern Virginia is made up mostly of transplants from other places. So, chances are you or someone from your home state is the shitty driver and or rude person you so dearly complain about. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that, y’all.
Imagine you are in a bar. A cute guy comes up to you and says, “Hi there. Where are you from?”
You respond coyly, “I’m from here.”
“That’s cool, what part?” he says.
“Stafford,” I say.
“Oh so you aren’t really from DC,” he says in a douchey fashion. At which point you walk away, because seriously, what a dick. DC folks don’t particularly appreciate NoVainians claiming their city. I don’t know why that is, but it’s not cool guys. We’re neighbors. Be nice, you might need something some day.
I suppose I really can’t blame anyone on the weather, seeing as I drive three miles to get to work. Sorry Al Gore. As I type this, I’m sitting in my highly air conditioned apartment, waiting for fall. Summers here are hot, humid, sticky, unpredictable. Winters too but on the cold side of the thermometer. What can I say, if you live here invest in a thoroughly prepared wardrobe and at least three umbrellas (home, office, car).
Y’all is another thing. Is Virginia a part of The South? People from The South will tell you hell nah. Anyone from north of Virginia will say yep, we’re some backwoods country folk (outside of D.C., that is). In the Civil War yes, Virginia sided with the Confederate States of America (hence there being a West Virginia). But is that how we really judge things in 2015? It was that way in Civil War days? As a Virginian, I like to think we’re somewhat a part of The South. My yardstick is, hot summers (check), good food (check), hospitable people (outside of the cities, check). So I reserve the right to say y’all and attribute my good manners to being sort-of Southern.
To me, Northern Virginia has all the good things in life. Mountains and waterfalls, pretty land, interesting cities. Bonus that all my parents and my best friends live here too. So my love and appreciation for this difficult, expensive and weird area is biased because of its proximity to my loved ones. That being said, though NoVa is hard to really pin down into one category, one box on a map, one group of people; I believe that’s part of the beauty of living here, that the only constant of living here is that its always changing.