Each city has its own certain ways of speaking and cultural practices. The same goes for Washingtonians. If you are in conversation with a Washington DC native, in particular, you have to be tactful when it comes to the colloquialisms and traditions. In other words, the below guide will help you figure out a DC native and, if you are a fast-learner, you can join the diverse crowd confidently implying that you belong here.
Who knows, if someone approaches you for directions to the National Mall or other attractions when on a Washington DC tour, you will not want to be stumbling for words, do you?
Say Metro Instead of Subway
What applies to the Parisians is the same for Washingtonians. The District has an underground train system, which goes by the colloquial term, metro. If you ask a native, where is the subway, then he or she can understand that you are not from here. So, say metro as much as possible when touring Washington DC. Most of the attractions along the National Mall and suburban locations such as Arlington Cemetery have metro stops.
Take Up/Down Escalators Standing on the Right
If you are taking an escalator in Washington DC, be it on a metro stop or at a local shopping mall, you will notice people standing on the right side instead to make way for those walking on the left. It is a longtime tradition of the DC natives, which foreigners will not want to break. To avoid heated exchanges, it is best to take escalators of DC metro or malls standing on the right.
As far as DC metro decorum is concerned, an escalefter is one who chooses to walk the escalator to reach the destination quickly. The term escalefter actually implies one standing and is an unofficial term that describes those walking the DC metro escalator.
Join Meridian Hill Park’s Drum Circle
Another way to fit into DC’s diverse culture is to join this Drum Circle, which is held in this urban park during summertime each year. It is another longstanding tradition of the District. It is believed to have begun after human rights activist Malcolm X’s passing away, and is held to commemorate African Americans’ spiritual revival. While men and women of the ethnic group play percussions, dance with them to fit in like a native.