Monday, January 5, 2009

Fortress Washington

Hate to disappoint any of you, but I will not be going into Washington DC for the inauguration. So if you were hoping for a local's first person account of the events, you won't be getting it here.

Ya see, I am working that day. I know, I know the federal government has been given that day off - - but we contractors don't get that day off, unless we take vacation. Now, I will take vacation in the middle of the winter if I'm going someplace warm were I can enjoy it.

Washington, DC is being turned into a closed city. A 'fortress' of sorts. Thousands of law enforcement, National Guard and Active Duty troops will be on the ready to control crowds. Four metro parking lots will be closed. One of them will be used for metro employee parking only, the other three will be for charter buses. Many of the roads in DC itself are going to be closed. Almost all the bridges from Virginia into DC will be closed to motorized traffic. If you want in, you are going to have to walk in and keep walking.

What if you want out? Sorry, you are stuck. You can't leave. One of my co-workers who lives in the District says she has to take the day off because she won't be able to get out of the city to make it in to work.

My parents asked me if I was going to rent my house out for the event. A lot of people are renting their apartments and homes out to inaugural visitors for HUGE sums of money. I'm talking HUGE sums of money. Like $20,000 for a week. Of course the home owner in those cases has also agreed to be your personal driver, cook all your meals and do all of your laundry. O.k. for $20,000 that's not bad. I had to remind my dad that I don't' live THAT close to DC. I'd be lucky to get $2000 for the week for my townhouse. If I got that, I'd be afraid the people would trash my house. And besides, where would the cats and I go.

The other reason I won't be going down town for the event. It will be cold.

Cold I tell you!

O.k. it won't be 20 below - - well it could be I think it was really cold like that for someone, like Reagan? I can't remember. I am not a cold weather person. Never was. I was born a Southern cold wimp despite the attempts of Ohio winters to condition me. Any pictures I would attempt to take while freezing my patuckus off would be all blurry so if I can't take any pictures, it has no fun potential for me. Take a tripod you say. Um, yah, after finding out that its an arrestable offense to set up a tripod on the side walk outside the White House gates, I'm not going to risk doing that at an event like this.

The other reason you won't find me down town -- the number of people. They estimate 3 to 5 million people will be converging on Washington, DC on January 20th. No thank you. I've experienced DC during spring break when it seems like every middle school in America has arrived in the nation's capital. No way am I going to brave crowds that big. Do you have any idea what 3 to 5 million people looks like?

Um, ya, neither do I, but its a lot of people.

A lot of businesses and restaurants are worried about how they are going to get staff in and food delivered for the hungry throngs. Remember the bridges are going to be closed as well as many roads.

An interesting piece of trivia I learned today - - the largest crowd for an inauguration was 1.2 million in 1965 for Lyndon Johnson. Yah, Lyndon Johnson.

Its 15 days and counting to all heck breaks out here in DC. I better go stock up on toilet paper just in case I can't get out of my house!

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