There are several different ways to answer that question. For instance, you can qualify the "DC experience" using adjectives like "horrendous," "soul-sucking," "douchey," and if you're insane, "great." However, if you answer in the first three ways, be prepared to face an additional inevitable follow-up query: "Well, then why do you live there?" Now, unless you hate yourself, you will most likely answer "work," the only sensible answer, which will then invite your unwanted interviewer to ask you yet a third inevitable question: "What do you do?" Yawn. Unless your occupation is ice road trucker, having a conversation that entails the phrase, "What do you do?"* within the first five sentences usually ends in at least one party (again, if one or both of you are not ice road truckers) falling into a near-comatose state. For that reason, I cannot condone a 100 percent truthful answer to "What's it like to live in DC?"
At the same time, however, I can't condone a 100 percent false answer, such as "great," "awesome," or the most cringe-worthy of responses, "amazing."** I myself have never done this because I save lying to people's faces for important matters (i.e., "No, I didn't drink the whole bottle," "I don't know how the entire first season of Gossip Girl ended up on my iPod," "I wasn't fired, I quit," "What? No, I don' t have a gambling problem.). However, if you do decide to lie in the hopes of coming off as less of a miserable bitch than
However, while running away from your problems works the majority of the time, it doesn't solve everything. The world isn't perfect. *sigh* There is one catch-all response, though, that can get you out of the sourest of proverbial pickles, including questions about life in DC: "It is what it is."
This answer is neither too depressing, nor unbelievably optimistic. It doesn't invite further inquiry, nor will it alienate your conversation partner (unless that's your goal -- it's usually mine). If you want to end the conversation, don't say anything else. If you want to continue it, "It is what it is" offers the perfect segue for you to change subjects. Observe, an actual conversation I had in Las Vegas last week:
"How do you like living in DC?"
"It is what it is. Say, what's the haps with the craps?"
"Shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em up, shake 'em. Roll 'em in a circle of homies and watch me break 'em. With the seven, seven-eleven, seven-eleven. Seven even back do' Little Joe. I picked up the cash flow."
OK, so that last bit of the conversation may have been between me and Ice Cube in my mind, but the first half actually happened. Not only did I successfully deter any further questions about DC, my job and several other subjects only the douchiest of douches would want to talk about while in Las Vegas, but "It is what it is" allowed me to then find out that the craps tables in the hotel I was staying at were three feet longer than normal. That casino tried to hustle me! Asses.
So I guess in a way, I'm thankful for that most annoying of inevitable questions, "How do you like DC?" Had I lived in Chicago or some other town where I'd freely be able to state my opinion without sounding like a bitter jaded jackass (although, that is kind of a key element of my personality), I might not have gleaned that valuable craps tidbit. And since I suffered for that betting information, and subsequently just made you suffer through reading how I suffered, I'll go ahead and pay this tip forward for the other compulsive gamblers in the e-house (I mean, "What? No, I don't have a gambling problem.") -- If you ever find yourself at the JW Marriott Spa and Resort, steer clear of the epic 15-foot-long tables. That sh*t is for suckers, or compulsive gamblers like myself who just had to play anyway (I mean, "What? No, I don't have a gambling problem.") Don't judge me!
*Incidentally, "What do you do?" is the most popular conversation starter in DC. Coincidence? No. Douchey? Yes.
**If you're not lying then you're a douche. What do you do?