This week I completed a rite of passage for moving to a new place: going to the DMV to transfer my driver’s license title and tags. I took care of the driver’s license earlier, but my car took a little longer to proclaim its city residency, since it needed so much required paperwork first. That’s merely one reason why it’s sometimes easier not to have a car in the city, but I need it for my weekend adventures, not for my daily commute.

Fortunately, when we hunted for an apartment we settled on one close to my job, within in walking distance in fact.  I log in three miles a day walking to and from work, opting to take the bus only in bad weather.  The bus will connect me anywhere in the city, and on lazy Sunday’s it is one of the best ways to learn more about where I live.  During the day trips, I admire the rowhouses through Georgetown that thin out into the downtown city areas and metro stations. At night, the open windows offer a glimpse into lives, through glowing kitchens, flickering living rooms alive with TV and computer screens, and shadowed interiors.

Driving the car through the city provides a different experience, as I quickly learned on my journey to the DMV inspection station.  To make it there for my morning appointment, I traveled around the National Mall and monuments, an area I had only been to as a sightseer. This time I focused on finding the street signs that are apparently nonexistent. Once the city opened into green spaces, the green street signs disappeared, and I had to rely on my GPS to warn me about upcoming turns.  Lesson learned: travel with a GPS and make sure you get your SmarTrip card for the metro before your driver’s license, since it will inevitably be more useful and easier to obtain.


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