I spend a lot of time every day waiting for the bus. The bus comes up I Street, stopping at the southeast corner of Franklin Square. It then circles the square, stopping again at the northwest and northeast corners (but not the southwest). I wait for it at the southeast corner, the Washington summer clinging to me like a second skin. Pigeons and squirrels flock to the old men who sit on the park benches; they have spent too much time being fed by people who spend too much time waiting for the bus.
There are several buses that stop at Franklin Square: the ones to Maryland are silver and blue, shiny, new. The Circulator comes by occasionally, maneuvering through traffic as fast as one can possibly maneuver in downtown D.C. traffic at 5 p.m. on a weekday. The Circulator only stops at places of great tourist interest, and I live on the edge of Trinidad, so I watch it speed past as my bus, old and lumbering, crawls up to the curb.
Trinidad is "a garden community," according to the banner on a streetlight by my house, but there are few gardens here. The Asian woman two doors down has a struggling bunch of daisies in her front yard. Walk two blocks west, and the street is lined with colorful rowhouses. Someone is having an art sale; a man is washing his dog, which pants in happiness.
Walk a block south, and the rowhouses are still prim on the west side of the street. On the east side, razor wire encases the top of the fence surrounding an old apartment building, most of the windows boarded over. Supposedly they're doing something with it; no one knows. On H Street, just a ways further, guitarists strum late into the night at the Red Palace while grad students lick tzatziki from their fingers at the neighborhood schwarma joint. The windows of each shop are covered with bars--just in case.
Each morning, I stand around the corner from my house in front of the Chinese/seafood/chicken takeout place that's always open, except at 8 in the morning when I'm waiting for the bus. The bus comes and takes me past the rowhouses, past NPR, past the Government Accountability Office, past homeless men shaking cups of change, past Capitol Hill, past the Library of Congress, past dilapidated rowhouses clinging to the side of high rises, past the beginnings of buildings that will scrape the sky to the southeast corner of Franklin Square. I walk four blocks southeast to work.