So what does one do when the government is closed and you are on furlough since you’re not “essential” personnel? After cleaning out the closets and filing all the pieces of paper floating about your house, you need a break so off you go to the museums. Oops, they’re closed if they are free. The non-government ones are open, but you have to pay to enter their doors. So then if it’s a nice day, you want to go for a long walk on the mall and see the monuments. No, can’t do that either since they are all fenced off. So you need to spend some of the money that you are not being paid to go to the movies.
I do wonder about how the Executive Branch selected on what they were “not spending” our money. To fence in the monuments that are normally not fenced and are in the open air, the government had to pay for the fencing and the labor to put them up. Then, in order to prevent the taxpayer from pushing aside the metal three-foot fence sections, they made the non-paid Park Service police stop people from entering. Normally there are not police manning the fences that also are not there. So far, it doesn’t seem that money is being saved from closing the monuments.
Another interesting way that someone decided to save money is that all the closed monuments are fully lit at night. I am guessing that is a large electric bill that the taxpayers are paying. Who made the decisions once Congress couldn’t deliver a deal? Was it an “essential” person in a basement somewhere? Or was it someone who wanted to make tourists miss the World War II Memorial and instead pay to go to the Spy Museum? Was it someone who has a glorious view of the Mall and didn’t want it dark at night? Or maybe it was someone who owns stock in the movie theater business?
Two interesting side effects of the shut down: traffic is just as bad as when the government was supposedly working, and every restaurant I have been in is busier than usual. All the restaurateurs with whom I’ve spoken have said they have more business and people are staying later in the evening. So I guess boredom drives one to drink and eat more frequently and for longer times in the day.
In case anyone reading this needs any restaurant recommendations in the area here are some of my favorites: Al Tiramisu on P Street NW; Black Salt on MacArthur Boulevard NW; Rasika on D Street NW; Chef Geoff’s on New Mexico Avenue NW; Hunter’s on River Road in Potomac; and Old Angler’s Inn on MacArthur Boulevard in Potomac. Go forth and enjoy!