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If you could just learn how to behave
By Susan Olling

This piece runs the gamut.  Fasten your seatbelts, and read on.
There are mystifying lists of the best you-fill-in-the-blank.  Who takes them seriously?   Someone ranked the top twenty expensive, overrated tourist destinations.  Mount Rushmore made the list.  Really?  Washington, D.C. did not.  It certainly isn’t cheap to visit here, and it’s very much overrated.  There was a list of summer tourist destinations to avoid.  Ocean City and Virginia Beach were among places to avoid (no surprise, go in the off-season).  Washington, D.C. wasn’t included.  It’s very much a place to avoid at any time of year.  Williamsburg, Virginia made a list of affordable tourist spots for 2017-2018.  While the District didn’t make the list (no surprise), it seems almost no one goes to Williamsburg without going to D.C.   At least from what we’ve observed in both places. 

A list that made me laugh quite hard ranked the top twenty best places to live in the United States for the weather.  Washington, D.C.’s number seven.  Hmm.  This area has large bodies of water on the east side and mountains on the west side, and they all contribute to our weather.  Summer: beastly hot and humid; and tornados (Kent Island earlier this week), hurricanes, and tropical storms are not unheard of.  Not to mention the occasional derecho.  Winter:  freezing rain and snow.  Can we remember Snowmageddon?  Spring and fall are abbreviated.  We can have frost until Mother’s Day.  Who moves here for the weather?
Our little subway system continues to amuse.  I’m still chuckling about a writer who described it as “semi-functional”.   Very charitable.  Also, it “feels like” a forgotten, unclosed fair exhibit.  Agreed.  During July and August, a long stretch on our side of the Red Line is closed on weekends for repairs at two stations.  Shuttles buses will take the poor passengers between Grosvenor (pronounced Grovenor, by the way—the s is silent)-Strathmore and Friendship Heights.  Tourists from Ohio were interviewed about their experience with this mess.  They thought everything went fine.  That’s what I’d expect from anyone not familiar with our little subway system.
Mr. History rides his bike to work.  Unfortunately, tourists seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to sit on his bike (or let their kids sit on the bike-photo op for the little trolls) or to stand around the bike for pictures.  These incidents further illustrate how stupid and entitled Americans are.  Think folks, would you want strangers messing about with your transportation?  If you’re unable to ask the owner’s permission (because you don’t know the owner), leave the bike alone.
The pool at the World War Two Memorial has been attracting the usual population of waders.  During one stretch of hot weather, a local news crew set up a camera at 11:00 one morning.  A few minutes later, there was wonderful footage showing a kid, old enough to know better, going into the pool.  Not sure what the parent who was standing right there was thinking.  Oh wait, tourists don’t think when they’re on vacation, silly me.   During a more recent period of hot weather, there were lots of people with their feet in the pool.  A mother and her two daughters were wading.  Must have missed those signs or couldn’t read them.  Mom couldn’t understand the difference between soaking one’s feet and wading.  My dear, if you don’t know the difference, this country is in more trouble than we realize.   Later in the day, one couple was curious as to why tourists couldn’t understand what the signs meant.  Good question.  Another visitor, bless him, suggested a solution to the problem.  Taser anyone getting into the pool.  What do you readers think?
Even some tour bus drivers are displaying conduct unbecoming.  These folks seem to have decided it’s perfectly acceptable to sit and wait for their groups, bus engines idling, in full view of signs saying “Loading/Unloading Only”.  Then these drivers want to ignore police officers who tell them to move their buses.  Until the officers reach for their ticket books.  There’s movement pretty quickly then.
One recent evening, a tour bus was parked in a handicapped parking space (that’s a $250 ticket).  Another driver was trying to park his tour bus in front of the first offending bus.  Also in a handicapped space. A crunching sound was heard.  I’m sure the responding officers had fun with this.
To the more than sixty-one million of you who just had to visit the national parks around the District of Columbia in 2016, thanks for putting 1.2 billion dollars into the area economy.  Now, if you could just learn to behave.  Appropriate behavior during your entire stay is too much to ask, but is it so hard to behave in the local national parks?   I know, some readers may think I have nothing good to write about tourists.  If tourists gave me good things about which to write, I would.   However, that hasn’t happened yet.  Surprise me, tourists, and behave like travelers.

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