I just bought some software for my home computers, and all through the installation process the program urged me to go online to register it so I could receive valuable alerts about updates and bug fixes as well as exciting offers from the company's partners.
So I clicked on the "register now" button, only to find that the city where I live doesn't exist. You guessed it: I am a resident of that geo-jurisdictional curiosity known as Washington, D.C. Trying to fill out the online address form I was sent to by the software, I was thwarted when I got to the dropdown list containing state postal abbreviations. In between CT and DE was ... nothing. Down at the bottom, there was a WA, but of course that was the other Washington, the one between Oregon and Canada.
We District residents have learned that our town could end up anywhere in these lists -- spelled out as "Washington, D.C." or "District of Columbia" -- or the full treatment: "Washington, District of Columbia," typically appearing at the bottom of the state list, down there with American Samoa and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. But at least we're usually somewhere.
The perpetrator of this particular oversight is a company called Avanquest, which has offices in CA (the state located between Oregon and Mexico) but whose global headquarters is in Paris (France, not the one in Texas or the one in Missouri). If anybody reading this speaks French, could you let them know about this issue? Also let them know about American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I. They're not on the state dropdown either, but on one that lists them as separate, independent countries.
Postscript: Eventually, clicking around on the company's site, I found my way to another registration page where I encountered a completely different online form that did recognize the District's existence. Now, however, it appears I live in something called "Distr. Columbia." OK, it's a start.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.