5 Bad Things About Living in DC

I’m always so pro-DC. I’ve lived here a long time, it’s provided my family and I a good life and we’re generally happy. There’s a lot to really like and appreciate which I cover in so many other videos. But are there downsides? Of course there are! What are five of the worst things about living in Washington DC?

1) Mosquitoes

Spring is almost here. While I love our cherry blossoms, I cannot stand when the mosquitos arrive. These suckers are no joke. They show up early and they wear out their welcome well into the fall. We probably spend half the year dealing with mosquitos. These are not like the mosquitos I remember growing up in Connecticut. Those were so huge they could fly away with a small dog. But they are also not like the tiny “no-see-um” mosquitoes in Florida. Here in DC if you stop at all when you are outside they will swarm. Chatting with a neighbor will cost you. You’ll look down at your bare leg and there will be 20 just feeding off your blood. It’s probably the tiger mosquito

We have our yard sprayed a few times a year. It helps, but it’s not perfect. When you live in close quarters to other people, there’s just no way to really avoid them unless everyone else has their yard sprayed as well. One tidbit, the tiger mosquito, a product of Asia, loves bamboo. They breed inside the stalks, so if you hate mosquitoes and you find a house with bamboo – or a house with a neighbor who has bamboo, think twice about buying that home.

2) Tourists

You may not view this as one of the worst things but trust me. When Cherry Blossoms are in peak bloom, which they are right now, it will take hours to go a few miles. Roads are gridlocked all over the place, all the non-DC drivers have no idea how to navigate the roads and it’s a general disaster. The good news is if you choose to stay home, everyone you know will be posting photos of the Cherry Blossoms on social media, so you won’t miss anything.

While I would say Cherry Blossom season is the worst time for navigating DC roads, there are middle school field trips that relentlessly descend on DC. Their teachers and chaperones try to corral them but when that light turns green and a processional of single file 14-year-olds looking at their phones while they slowly cross in front of you, you better hope you’re not in a hurry. And don’t let your foot slip off the brake by “accident.”

3) Most Branches of the DC Government Don’t GAF

Let me be crystal clear here – working with mostly any government agency of the District is infuriating. Many of these offices are drenched in incompetence, fraud or corruption. I met with a client today who used to work for a branch of the DC Government and he said “DC” stands for “Don’t Care.”

The rare times I’ve had to call 911 I actually thought I was being punked. I would say, “There’s a man with a gun in the 1900 block of J Street Northwest. (There is no J Street, this is just an example.) And they would say, “Did you say the woman has a knife in the 700 block of X Street Northeast?” What? No! How did they get that. The person’s going to be dead by the time they get the address right.

I went to register my vehicle once and the DMV was pushing back for multiple reasons – the car had unpaid tickets they said. The car failed emissions they said. I said I didn’t know how that was possible as I just purchased the car and it was shipped from Georgia. She kept yelling at me that she wasn’t going to register the vehicle until I proved it passed emissions and paid the tickets. I kept responding that it wasn’t possible all these things could have happened to a car in DC that just arrived here a few days ago. After several rounds, I asked her to provide something showing me the inspection failure or unpaid tickets.  She cites a date in 2005. I said, “Ma’am, I’m not trying to be difficult but this car is a 2008.” She was so disgusted with me that she got up and sent another woman over to continue helping me.

I hope you never have to deal with getting a business license for a rental property in DC. The city created this “business license,” also known as “another money-grab.” And they are too busy to administer the inspections themselves so they “trained” members of the public to do it. It’s a crapshoot on who you get. They get paid per inspection so they love to fail people. I’m pretty sure some of the “inspectors” sleep in the woods at night. We’re talking about people who have serious issues at coping with life, who are incentivized to fail you so that you have to keep paying for reinspections.

The Mayor’s office has oversight on most everything in the city to include the schools. For those who advocate DC should be granted statehood, I’m not so sure. If we’re just going to add a second layer of the same incompetence we already have then no thanks. I do not need my bread buttered on both sides.

4) Politics With a Side of Big Law

It can get real old real quick living in a place where people live and breathe politics if you find it a snooze festival. Many people’s jobs here revolve around politics in some fashion, whether it’s working directly for the government, for a contractor, or as a lobbyist. Don’t get me wrong, living near the seat of where decisions are made and the home base of where our country was founded is pretty cool. But you have to endure many more political conversations here than in most other places.

Going on vacation is always like a breath of fresh air for the change in non-stop focus on government. Of course you’ll probably be in a place where they print photos of aborted fetuses on highway billboards. And you will have to explain to your kids that the people who made that billboard care about fetuses before they are born but don’t care that children who are alive today like you two, now have to figure out how to unsee the aborted fetus and not let it infect your nightmares.

There are a lot of lawyers here too. Tons. Most of them think they are smarter than you and that can also get old pretty fast. You will often see comments on various sites from an attorney who starts off with the “I work in big law” declaration so that you’ll know whatever they say next is true and your opinion doesn’t count. I’ve gone toe to toe with some of them in various real estate forums and they’ve been known to give people wildly incorrect advice.

5) Crime

The crime right now in some parts of the city is atrocious. There are crime bills and multiple missives from the DC Council to create drug free zones and get tougher on crime, but see item 3 above. I don’t trust the powers that be of DC to administer or execute anything properly. First, you have a large population of people in the city who feel the need to be apologists for the crime. They feel bad for the kids, or when there’s mass theft from a store like CVS they say they don’t feel bad because CVS is a huge corporation and they have insurance. Well joke’s on you. CVS will close up if they consistently have theft in some areas and that’s just bad for the whole neighborhood.

The fallout from the pandemic is real. Teenagers right now are responsible for most of the carjackings in DC. You will see comments on social media asking where the parents are, but the carjackings continue. In 2023 there were 959 carjackings, up from 485 in 2022. It’s too soon to tell if 2023 was the peak, and 2024 will be better. But carjackings and assault with a deadly weapon are both down 33% since the same time last year. Something’s got to give.

I’ve long been a critic of the police, from the days 20 years ago when they appeared to be arrogant and lazy. But in recent years it has not felt like that at all. It seems that of the arrests made, only 1 out of 3 were prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General. It’s hard to know where to point the finger here but I hope we’re on the mend to turning this around.

I hope enjoyed the 5 Worst Things about Living in DC! I probably should have made it 6 things because we also have rats. But they don’t bother you, they mind their own business. Mostly.