Tell me about urban living. I think I have a taste for it. (DC, Austin, Seattle, etc)

CantidoCantido Registered User regular
edited March 2020 in Help / Advice Forum
When my military career took me to South Korea, it was the first time I lived in a dense urban environment and I absolutely loved it. By sheer luck, I ended up in Washington DC after that. The work was...chaotic, but the dating scene was great, the gaming scene was full of charismatic dorks who got me into eurogames, and the activities and events were endless. I rode my bike to work every chance I could for three years. I wanted to live there and die there.

...Then they sent me to San Antonio. A city where I thought I would find a similar social circle and a good dating scene. The people there are carrying 30 extra lbs of Jesus. The gamers are elderly or obsese slobs (one fat bastered didn't wash his hands in the bathroom and sneered at me when I asked him to). The dating scene is awful (teen pregnancy capital of Western Civilization.) My bicycle is in storage becaue the thoughless design of San Antonio's roads eat bikers and spit out their bones. I found myself visiting Austin whenever I could, because it reminded me of DC.

I've been thinking of leaving the military (something I've been dwelling on since Trump got elected) and a recent epiphany about why I was miserable in San Antonio leaves me to believe I will never be happy in the military.

You see, when I tell my peers that I miss DC, they look at me like I'm bonkers. Its because I don't have a family and don't want one (I've seen too much trauma in poverty during the Bush Recession). I've heard someone on the internet, also in the military, complaining about being "lonely" in DC, which boggled me. It turns out he has a family, and the churches weren't giving him the community he wanted. Meanwhile I will probably never set foot in a church again. I'm done with their hypocrisy.

I am repulsed by my peers. When the Iran strike happened, they were giggling and looking at war memes while I was trying not to puke. The base I'm currently at school at only has the Weather Channel and Fox News, and I have to keep my head turned away from the news. I'm surrounded by a lot of folks who think the detention centers are just such a swell idea because they make the immigrants stop coming. I'm fed up with the casual racism of the military community.

I was happy in DC because it was not a military community. There are tons of military, but why is it not a military community? Because at the end of the day or week, I could get rid of the uniform, find concerts, poke around in Meetup and Eventbrite, and mingle with educated, charismatic strangers who know how to dress and eat a damn vegetable. None of them were military. The military all drive home to the suburbs of Virginia to raise their families. The women in DC were educated and healthy. Dating didn't go well for me, but I did meet my first girlfriend there. I was mostly lonely, but make no mistake, I was never, ever bored. Leaving the military is no longer just about Trump, its about finding the community I belong in.

I think I'm meant to live and die in a big godless metropolitan environment. And my recent graduation from a cyber school was the final nail in the coffin. I have extracted possibly the most lucrative training imaginable from the military industrial complex. I have an opportunity to get out of the military before Trump gets me killed, and be wisked away to a cyber security job on a chariot of gold.

Sorting out separating the military is a different topic that I will seek help with from professionals soon. I would like help learning about urban America. I want to be with my formless, shapeless, raceless, godless brothers and sisters in a big city, but I've only lived in DC while living with a housing allowance that let me get a reasonable apartment easily. What is the nature of living in DC and/or Austin for regular civilians? Do you rent an apartment or own one?

I'm only slightly curious about Seattle. I'm not a northerner. I grew up in the south my whole life and prefer warm climates.

3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
Cantido on


  • Options
    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    Typically people rent apartments.

  • Options
    GorkGork Registered User regular
    edited March 2020
    So I grew up in the suburbs of DC, lived in the city for twelve years post college as a renter of apartments and in a group house and recently just moved back out to the suburbs to a house I purchased. You definitely sound like someone who fits in here, with the caveat that portions of the local population change with every presidential administration. There are definitely people here now who fit the description of the people you don’t get along with. However, the lifers generally fall into the category of people you do want to spend time around and DC has a large population of people who chose not to have families, just like you.

    As far as housing goes, DC is generally in the top five to ten cities in terms of cost. There is always a large inventory of apartments available for rent and condos for purchase because people come and go frequently here. Prices can vary wildly by neighborhood, but generally NW is the most expensive quadrant and SE is the cheapest quadrant. Because of the cost of housing, group houses are common in DC. Generally, a privately owned townhouse is rented out to a group of friends who either came in together or individually as rooms opened up. I actually “administered” one for five years that started with a group and then, as people left, I would find replacements via Craigslist. It’s a good option if you want to save money and be social. Also not weird in DC if you’re older; we had 40 year olds applying.

    I would suggest doing some research on neighborhoods to see what might be closest to where you want to hangout. Considering your field, you will probably be well paid and have some decent options. Also keep in mind, if you go private sector, you may end up working in NOVA and have to commute out of the city, which is easier from some neighborhoods.

    Let me know if you have any other more specific questions.

    Gork on
  • Options
    chromdomchromdom Who? Where?Registered User regular
    edited March 2020
    Community can be a hard thing to come by in Seattle. I recommend looking into the Seattle Freeze, and realize that it is a real thing. You can definitely find it, but making friends with strangers can be a little harder there. It also can get physically kinda cold in the PNW -- currently snowing there and here in Portland.
    Out of curiosity, you seem to really like DC. Thoughts given to other big cities in the warm south? Atlanta? Tampa? Miami?

    chromdom on
  • Options
    QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    I'm just outside of DC and love it. The areas around it are taking off and there's plenty of work to be had in your field.

    Living within DC proper gets really expensive really fast. It might be worth looking in to places on the metro lines like Old Town or Bethesda. Both are pricey but nowhere near as bad as downtown. Each also has a really nice swath of amenities of their own.

    IMO DC has the best of both worlds in terms of cities. It's extremely walkable, there's tons of culture and events, vibrant neighborhoods, but with nowhere near the crowding you see in other major cities. The metro has issues still but has improved notably over the last few years.

  • Options
    IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator Mod Emeritus
    Austin is great, but if you really dislike San Antonio, but really love DC, I would keep your eye to more liberal states. I like it here and plan to stay, but it comes with the caveats of knowing its Texas and still having to deal with a more purple to red gradient when it comes to politics of any person I may run into. I spent my college years in Baltimore and miss it terribly sometimes, but I made a great network of friends here in Austin.

    We rent, but are hoping to buy before Austin completely shuts us out of housing as prices rise. We're looking to be in a quiet, slightly out side the city sort of area. It is not a city I would live in and not own a car. I lived in Baltimore for at least 3 years before I had car there, and that was before uber was a thing.

    One of the things to remember as you get older is that finding a community takes time. Wherever you land, try to give it a chance for a little while. We make fast acquaintances, but feeling like you're finding folks you can really connect with, rely on, feel close to can just take time. Our first year in Austin we were hanging out with real nice people, but by year two we had done more social hopping and those early connections developed enough to feel like we had solid ground.

Sign In or Register to comment.