Getting home from work was especially stressful. Anyone who has lived in D.C. through a “winter” knows that the slightest possibility of snow will result in sheer panic, hours of improbable gridlock, and lines at grocery stores rivaling Russia in the early 90’s. And that’s just for a wintery mix.

By the time I left the office – not long after Betsy absconded for the I-Hop – it had been almost an hour since Mayor Diggs’ announcements about the Emergency Legislation, the ban on food in the Metro, and the city-wide curfew. People were literally running down the street and pushing kids and old ladies out of their way to get into the Metro stations to get the hell out of here. So long D.C., howdy Montgomery County.

Why? No one seemed to know, but they all shared the common notion that it wasn’t smart to stick around to find out. Something clicks in people’s brains in this city when there is a disruption to the daily routine, however minor it may be. Normally rational and intelligent human beings become impulsive, curt, distrusting. Drivers here are terrible to begin with, and all of a sudden, they act like it’s a free for all, like rules no longer apply. Gotta get home, gotta get safe, gotta pick up eggs and milk. Come hell or high water.

Now, logically, we all had plenty of time to get home before the curfew went into effect. Seriously, how many folks are left hanging around McPhereson Square at midnight on a Wednesday anyway? But no. You tell people that there is a storm coming, they’ll go running for their ponchos, be damned if you get in their way.

I can take a hint when I see one, so I decided to walk home from work. I can’t stand crowds to begin with, and the extra tension in the air is like Agent Orange when you are stuck on the Metro on days like this.

All this for a curfew. All this for a ban on food in the Metro. Just then it hit me. “Wait a minute,” I stopped dead in my tracks on H St. and 9th, “the food ban was MY idea. I told the Mayor we could to do that. He’s implementing MY plan. He read the Memo. But what about this curfew? That had never been discussed before. It doesn’t add up.”

I was getting colder, and I stopped caring pretty quickly. Waiting for the light to change, I looked across to the old Convention Center lot, now completely fenced off. Hmmmm, that hadn’t been there two days ago when I stopped off at Capitol City Brewing Co. to get shitty after work. But there it was:

******

Massive panic or not, there are few sounds better than your deadbolt clicking behind you when you get home. There is a certain division of the world that takes place. It’s instantaneous and reassuring. I’m in here, zombies and all the world’s problems are left out there.

I kicked off my shoes, undid my tie, and filled the biggest pint glass I could find with cold, delicious lager, straight from the kegerator.  [When the zombie apocalypse hits your city, you’ll wish you had a kegerator, trust me]

Feeling mildly voyeuristic about the present hysteria, I clicked on Fox 5 News. It was the normal bullshit you’d expect – water mains broken, cats stuck in trees, the undead walking the earth – nothing out of the ordinary. The next segment looked promising: “Marion Barry Speaks Out Against Mayor Diggs’ ‘Racist’ Laws. This and other news, after these commercials.” Now that’s something I’m willing to watch a few commercials for!

When the News came back on, the live video feed started immediately. Marion Barry was standing at the podium that Mayor Diggs had made his announcements from just over an hour ago. Maintenance men were attempting to take down the stage and the DC emblem from the podium, but Barry fended them off with his cane. “Back you invalids!” he jabbed. The cameraman must have waived, because his head jerked back to the front, he stood tall and laid both hands on the front of the podium. He cleared his throat.

“My Fellow Americans, I thank you for this opportunity to speak to you all tonight. I have to speak to you – it’s my duty as your Mm…Councilmember – to expose Mr. Diggs for what he is: A Racist! Now, I’ve been around the block a couple of times, and I can tell when something’s a-miss with these Johnny-Come-Latelys. Many of you folk haven’t lived here very long, but we do things differently around here!

 Mr. Diggs is trying to punish my constituents. He’s a racist, and these laws are racist! I can’t read between the lines! I can see what he’s pullin’. While he is going all loose and wild with these “regulatory proposterings” what he’s really trying to do is break the fabric of my community. A curfew! Who’s he kidding!

[he takes out his cane and bats at the maintenance guys, who are still trying to take down the stage.]

It’s crime fighting measures like these that are bringing this city down! We have to stop these trends! I hope you all see the gravity of this! I will not tolerate it, I will not stand for it, I will not sit here while he runs my city into the ground! He’s a racist! He needs to be stopped!

You know what? I’m re-running for Mayor right here and now! I declare war on you Diggs!!! Do you hear me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just then the camera feed cut off and returned to the anchors, sitting there stunned – for the first time I felt like me and the talking heads were on the same page.

“And in other news, today is opening day at Nationals Stadium, here’s Bill with sports…”

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