On my way to work yesterday, a tourist stopped me to ask directions.
“I knew you were a local. You looked like you were from around here,” she said. I walked the rest of the way to work with a big grin on my face.
I love being from DC. It has it’s own culture and flavor that is hard to describe to outsiders. It’s very quirky and surprisingly apolitical. This Washington Post article from the Inauguration gets close
. The politicians and the lobbyists may get all of the attention, but I’ve lived in a very different world from that, where people wear their government badges with geeky pride and Metro is main way to get around. It’s a pedestrian city. I bring this last part up, because the distance between places is the thing that The West Wing usually and consistently gets wrong.
I know I’ve complained before about the closing shot in 20 Hours In America when Toby, Donna and Josh all walk back into the city over the Watergate Bridge. It’s a beautiful image of the city. But you know what else? It’s at least a 30 minute walk to the White House from there. I should know. I’ve done it before!!
Last night, I watched “Shutdown” for the first time in years. I really enjoyed it (maybe even more than I did the first time around) but then Angela Blake said that the Capitol was only a five or ten minute walk away from the National Gallery, which is definitely an underestimate. Five minutes will get you to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. If you walk fast. And how would Josh, who had been working in and around the Capitol his whole life, not know how long of a walk it was?!
Then, as an added kicker, as CJ and Toby watch the news on television, the newscaster (a self-proclaimed twenty-five year Washingtonian) mixed up the National Archives with the National Gallery. You do not get those two building mixed up. Not to mention it’s close to another half hour from the Archives to the Capitol. Again, I know because I’ve walked it!
I remember at the time having trouble buying that Secret Service would be okay with Jed casually taking a stroll up Pennsylvania Ave. (Though I always figured that Josh ran the idea by the Secret Service first before presenting it to the President.) Now, after having gone through the most recent Inauguration (HE WALKED!), I realized one reason that the Secret Service would have been okay with President Bartlet setting out on foot: it’s mostly government building from there until the Capitol. Empty government building because the government was closed. Nice how that worked out!
Other than those blatant inaccuracies, it was a very good episode. It’s easy to forget those existed during Season 5. Yes, pod!Leo was in full force, but it’s was such a Josh episode. And in a lot of ways, this was the episode where Josh went from being Leo’s boy to Jed’s virtual stand-in. This was probably the episode that helped give root to number 3 on my fanon list
. And Donna saved Social Security, which still just delights me.