(Editor’s Note: As Inauguration Day approaches it all looks exciting on TV, but how is it for those of us who live in Washington?To give us a glimpse, a special email from a systems analyst and FOW — Friend of WVFC — lets us know below. Her name and employer have been anonymized for perhaps-obvious reasons. — Ed.)
My office downtown is at 18th and E Streets in the District of Columbia. D street is a corridor towards the entrance gate of the white house and E street is an exit corridor from the white house. The “VP caravan” goes there most mornings around 7:20.
Most of us who work downtown get used to the mini-parades of motorcycle cops and black suburbans. They drive around and we ignore them. If someone really important goes by, the bicycle cops show up first to close the roads. Then the uniformed officers in the police cars. Finally the caravan flies by. People downtown tend to scurry across the street when they see the bicycle cops madly pedalling into position, because if you don’t move fast, they’ll close the street and no one wants to get stuck standing for 10 minutes, especially if it is for Cheney. The President has more motorcycle cops, and also a Suburban with a camera operator filming the entire time.
When the President is about to speak at the Daughters of the American Revolution Hall, at 1776 D Street, the snipers go up on the roof in advance. At the last minute they close all of the roads near my office, and the president’s caravan goes the wrong way down 18th Street. There is nothing like looking out the window of your office to see several long range rifles staring directly back at you.
During the past week, the police have started closing off parking meters in my work area. At the same time, some company set up portable toilets on the sidewalk. Some wags thought that it would be funny to decorate the potties with Obama and W stickers. I saw several ‘mission accomplished’ bumper stickers last Thursday, stuck next to ‘Voting booth’ signs on several of the potties.
A nearby park is home to a large number of homeless people. They are largely harmless. and most of us who work down there bring them coffee or sandwiches every other day or so. The Secret Service has announced that the homeless people will have to go, but I don’t know how they plan to keep them away. They have a tendency to migrate back to the park after they have been moved.
My office is closed on Tuesday, because it is inside the zone of office building closures and the Secret Service has announced that anyone in that zone who wants to work on Tuesday would have to be locked in, starting Saturday the 17th and will not be able to leave the building until Wednesday morning after the inauguration.The Disaster Operations Center for the Red Cross is downtown, and they spent last week moving the entire operation to suburban Virginia.At great expense may I add.
We have been told to check email before going in on Wednesday, because the Secret Service hasn’t decided whether the roads will be opened up into the district at 5, 6, 7 or 8 AM. If they don’t open the roads into the district by six o’clock we’ll need to work from home on Wednesday. There is supposed to be an immigration march in the district on Wednesday. Right-to-life groups have announced a protest march for Thursday. My manager threw up his hands last Friday and told everyone to work remotely next week if they need to.
On the good side, the DC government passed a special bill allowing
restaurants and bars to stay open until 4 AM from Saturday through
Wednesday at 4 AM. At last account, approximately 350 establishments
have applied for permission. so the event should at least bring plenty
of revenue into the city.
My family has tickets to
Monday night’s children’s inauguration concert. We will Metro downtown with all of the other parents and have been told to build in extra time to get through security. On the other hand, the concert involves the Obama family, Biden family and all of the Disney stars under contract that they can fly in, so it ought to be fun. We’ve been lucky enough to secure tickets to a suite in the Verizon center: It even has its own bathroom, which is impressing the heck out of the 9 year old crowd. “You mean we can go to the bathroom right in the suite? Cooool.”
I stopped by the Metro Friday to pick up several Metro passes for the group in advance, so that we don’t have to deal with queues on Monday night. There was already a line of people doing the same. I spent about ten minutes showing a group from Alabama how to use a Metro card machine.
This town has been getting nuttier by the minute….