Sunday, January 4, 2009
Duck and Cover!
It's T-minus sixteen days until the inauguration of President-elect Obama. Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited about this as can be, but as a citizen of Washington DC, particularly as a citizen of Capitol Hill, as well as excitement, I'm bracing myself for what will no doubt be a hellish onslaught that weekend.
The more we learn about the impact of the two to four million visitors on the city, the more that weekend sounds like a natural disaster in addition to being one of the world's biggest parties. For instance, if "only" a million people show up, on the national mall there will be one toilet for evey six thousand people. Can you imagine?
In my neighborhood alone, contracts are signed for seven thousand tour buses. Every business I know about will close that day except restaurants and retail. Even my doctor's office will be closed. They figure anyone silly enough to make an appointment for that day would never find a place to park. We also hear that every one of the bridges that connect DC to Virginia will be closed to all traffic except for emergency personnel. Many street closures will discourage even the most intrepid among us from attempting to drive around.
The Metro has suggested that anyone living within five miles of the Capitol should walk as it will be much faster than taking the subway. City planners are concerned about the extra drain on the electrical grid, and "emergency" cell phone towers are being constructed all over the mall.
So - we're preparing. At my house we plan to have the kitchen fully stocked. We're also buying a case of wine. Maybe we should buy two cases, what do you think? All fantasties of making money by renting out the house have gone by the wayside as we've begun to realize we're going to need the comfort of our normal haunts if we want to get through the weekend in good spirits. I mean, we should get to celebrate, too, right?
I completely understand why so many people want to be here. It's going to be an historic event, an incredible jubilant moment in American history. Of course people want to participate. C'mon, ya'll, join us. But for those of us who live here, sharing the nation's capital with a huge chunk of the nation is going to be kind of a bitch, pardon my language.
Duck and cover? Oh yeah!