Dec 7, 2018

DC v. Dallas: Smackdown!

I lived in the DC area for over 40 years and have lived in Dallas for about 3 months. Seems like enough information to do a smackdown, right?

FRIENDLY PEOPLE

If you are the chatty type, and I am, Dallas wins. By a lot.

The first time I walked into a supermarket, the cashier turned around and started talking to me. I couldn't understand why she was talking to me. Our neighbors talk to us. My doctors chat about non medical stuff. The waitresses and hair dressers chat. I enjoy all the friendly strangers. Breaks up my otherwise quiet life.

On the other hand, if you like to be left alone, live in DC. There is mandatory silence on the subway. Eye contact is not a good thing. Everyone minds his or her own business as everyone is assumed to be a serial killer until proven otherwise. 

CRAZY DRIVERS

DC "wins" in a landslide. In the DC area, a red light is an invitation to plow faster through the intersection. If you are first in line at a traffic light, do not go into the intersection when the light turns green. You must wait for the intersection to clear (and that can take a while) or risk death.

In Dallas, people tend to stop at red lights. Yes, I've been cut off in Dallas by a couple of rude drivers, but nothing like I experienced in DC. Then again, I don't drive on the Dallas highways, so maybe I'm missing out on the crazy.

CARS

Speaking of cars, IMHO, DC wins. In DC people tend to drive smaller cars. Our 2003 Prius ($15 a month in gas) is a joke here. It can take forever just to back out of a space in a parking lot in Dallas because I'm surrounded by really big car/truck things!

MORE CAR STUFF

I'm comparing Virginia to Texas now. Virginia wins.

Virginia's Division of Motor Vehicles has won awards for its efficiency. In Texas, you have to go to a different place to get your car registered, get a driver's license, pay property tax, get an inspection, etc. I still don't understand it as Mike took the lead.

NEIGHBORHOODS

Dallas wins. The residential areas we've seen are gorgeous. Lots of older homes with old trees laid out in easy to navigate grids. And they are conveniently located -- retail and commercial and medical spots are easy to get to. I'm impressed. And the suburban neighborhoods are very nice too -- many beautiful homes at reasonable price points in convenient locations.

Of course there are many beautiful neighborhoods in DC and the suburbs. But the DC area is so expensive and DC itself has a lot of "traffic circles" a/k/a death circles.  Even I, a tentative driver, am navigating Dallas.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Dallas wins. I've never seen so many houses decked out with so many beautiful lights. Seriously, get on a plane and drive down my street!
BUGS

Dallas wins and by that I mean loses. And that's all I can say about that ... .

COST OF LIVING

Dallas wins, but not by as much as I expected.

Real estate and rentals are cheaper. There is no state income tax in Texas. Restaurant meals are cheaper. And it looks like we are paying less for the repairs we are having done on our house than we would have paid in DC. 

On the other hand, car and property insurance is 3 times the cost with enormous deductibles. Utilities are high (I'm sitting in the dark as I write this!) Property taxes are also much higher.  And, sales tax in Texas is much higher than in Virginia. 

MUSEUMS/BOTANICAL GARDENS

DC wins the museum category but Dallas wins in the Botanical Garden sweepstakes.   

RUNNING TRAILS

Dallas wins. At least, that's what Mike says. (How would I know?)

FALL FOLIAGE

Dallas wins. A couple of weeks ago our neighborhood exploded with color. This was a surprise as several people had warned me that Dallas' trees went from green to brown. Nope. I was thrilled.  

PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADES AND MONUMENTS

HA (Although we live about 5 minutes from the President George W. Bush library.)

AIRPORTS

Not sure. We live about 20 minutes from Love Field (Southwest Air) and that is so convenient. Plus, it is much easier to get in and out of Love compared to the airports in DC. However, I'm totally drugged up when I fly so I really can't compare the actual airports themselves...

SPORTS

High school and college football are huge in Dallas. So if you love that, Dallas wins. Both cities love their pro teams. We're not into any of it at the moment as our football team, the Giants, are horrible and we haven't made the transition to baseball yet. We enjoy baseball and expect to become Texas Rangers fans.

WEATHER 

No one wins.

Winters are milder in Dallas and I love the prospect of no, or almost no, snow. I hear we get ice, but since we live in the city, it's significantly warmer than the north suburbs, so hopefully we'll escape that scourge. DC's a crap shoot in the winter -- the Northern VA suburbs can get significant snow. 

DC summers are hot and humid. Dallas' are much hotter and just as humid. I have no intention of going outside from May through September and apparently will pay a small fortune to run our AC!

Don't move to either place for the weather.

AMOUNT OF DAYLIGHT

Dallas wins. There's over 30 minutes extra of daylight in Dallas in the middle of December. We LOVE that. Such an unexpected and welcome surprise.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

DC wins the friends category, but Dallas wins the most important family category.

We are still adjusting and are a little homesick. Our friends and everything we know is in the DC area. It's harder to transition at our age than we expected, so it's going to take a while for Dallas to feel like home. 

However, we see our son every weekend, and see other family (Mike's brother and his family live here) often. 

So, Dallas wins.


9 comments:

  1. We relocated from Wisconsin to alabama when we retired and it took quite a while before Alabama felt anything like home … and yes, age makes a difference. At our age, people have "paired up" or formed their friendship groups … being with family though, would make any move worthwhile. When you miss friends too much, take your drugs and get on a plane for a visit … Merry Christmas in your new home. Judy

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    1. exactly. we are a bit lonely, but hopefully things will change!

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  2. Yay for you. Sounds like you are settling in.

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    1. Cat it still does not feel like home, but we are working on that!

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  3. Wishing you a Merry Christmas in your new home and a New Year filled with new friends.

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  4. I totally get what you are going through!!! We moved from the Detroit Michigan area to Raleigh area of NC last January. I am going through all the same kind of comparisons. My main categories of changes include weather( Dah!), things to do, and taxes. NC wins with weather hands down. LOVE the milder weather here even with 2 hurricanes this year. As for things to do this area is perfect. We have tons of parks and I am NOT joking. This area is pretty new compared to lots of cities and there was a lot of green space planning in the design. We are only 2 hours from the ocean and only 3 hours from the mountains. We hike and kayak all the time here. Taxes are a different story. Property tax and sales are better here but the car property tax is insane. DMV is horrible for long waits. Friends - I miss my Michigan friends. The Midwest wins for making close, lifelong friendships and just friendly in general. The South is definitely friendly, but I think it is more "surface" friendly. They have good manners and all but I am still struggling with finding some real friends. And services for disabilities are the pits in NC. I guess this just means that every place you go in the states have different pluses and minuses. You just have to make the best of your situation. Attitude is everything! Thanks for sharing your story. PS. I love Dallas Botanical Gardens, too!

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  5. Oh Joan, I just love your writing. What a fun comparison. I will never forget when I moved to VA (just outside of DC) for grad school and felt like I was in a foreign land. I quickly grew to love the area, just in time to move back to MN/WI. When I moved to WI, I could not quite figure out the DMV situation. In addition to only being able to attain certain services at certain offices, they rotated staffing through their offices in each county so one DMV would be open 8 - 12 noon where you could get your tabs, but then you'd have to drive to a different office that was open from 2 - 4 to get your license. It was weird. Hopefully the card-making will bring you comfort as you continue to adjust. XO

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  6. That's a lot to take in! I'm still trying to weigh the difference. Maybe Dallas comes out on top? I'm hoping it does for you.

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  7. Love this post, Joan. You are so right about Northern Virginia/DC. "Unfriendly people" is the number one reason I'd love to move. Traffic is horrible (always), people are cranky (always). And I'm convinced DMV employees all hate their jobs. It might be organized, but there's no such thing as a quick trip (usually two+ hours) and everyone is miserable. That's why I like to stay home. lol. Enjoy Dallas. :) ♥

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