June 04, 2014

Day 3: So Cookie Cutter

When I asked around my office about places to live, all I heard was "Arlington."  Arlington, only 20 minutes from DC on the subway, populated by young professionals who run 5Ks on Saturday and brunch on Sunday.  In other words, a community of 200,000 Nicoles.

But I was also warned: Arlington is a bit "cookie cutter."

I waved the warning off because, c'mon, I don't have the luxury at this point for my problems to include the word "cookie."  Unless it's followed by "shortage."

I also waved it off because I wasn't completely sure what it meant.  I got the general idea: everyone's the same.  But that left a lot of unanswered questions: were they all peanut butter or chocolate chip?  Gingerbread?  Maybe sugar?  And who doesn't love a sugar cookie?

But as I sit here in the Whole Foods cafe eating organic tricolor quinoa, I've already learned what sort of cookie lives in Arlington, Virginia.  And they are not sugar.

The cookies here are ex-lacrosse players in pink Polo shorts, holding their girlfriends' Marc Jacob's purses... err, I mead handbags... while these girlfriends pick out a pair of Lululemon cut off capris for their Save-a-Puppy charity 5K this Friday.  These cookies spend the afternoon at the Pottery Barn on the corner before crossing the street to split an entree at the Cheesecake Factory.  The girl next to me is eating kale.

In other words, Arlington is the natural progression of the collective private school America.  If healthy living bloggers ever decide to colonize, it would be in Arlington, Virginia.

I'm not new to this lifestyle.  In fact, I went to a private Catholic high school.  I wore knee highs and plaid uniform skirts, and so God help me if I even thought about chewing gum.  But I've also been out of the game for a while.  I spent college in sweaty sports bras, literally referred to once as a "wet rat."  Then I moved to Chicago.

You see, in Arlington, moms push their babies in strollers outside Whole Foods.  In Chicago, my least favorite bum called me "baby" outside WalMart.  The street corners in Arlington don't smell like pee, and I haven't had a pigeon target my forehead here yet.  I mean, I spent my last three months in Chicago with a dead rat somewhere in my apartment wall.  I know I've got cookie cutter in my blood, but I'm out of practice.  Quinoa is terrifically contemporary and I'm sure I'll learn to love it, but man... where's an empanada truck when you need one?

But on the bright side, no one asked me for a sandwich on my walk here.  Maybe I can get used to this place after all.

"We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance."
- Harrison Ford