Overheard on the Red Line: Explaining D.C. to a Canadian child 

If the fannie-pack-wearing families clogging up the metro escalators didn't tip me off, it was the family on the Red Line debating whether the White House or the Capitol was the "American equivalent of Parliament." Tourism season has begun in earnest.

After settling the debate (the White House is the equivalent of 24 Sussex Drive, I learned) and as we pulled into the Tacoma metro, the Canadian father pointed out that we had left Maryland and were now in Washington, D.C. The two girls (probably ages 12 and 10) debated whether D.C. was in Maryland or was it's own state. The father explained that it was neither.

The 10-year-old insisted this made no sense:

Daughter: "How are we not in any state, but we're still in the 'United States'?"

Dad: "If you're in Yellowknife, what province are you in?"

Daughter: "Yellowknife is in Yukon."

Dad: "But that's not a province."

Daughter: "It's a territory, which is almost the same thing."

Dad: "Well, that's how you can think about D.C. -- it's like Yukon."

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Timothy P. Carney

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