Washington is usually such a lively place, with its rats and whores and millionaires and non-essential government employees. How will D.C. change when the Federal Government actually shuts down forever Friday at Midnight? Maybe you like the socialist safety and security of your paycheck and don’t care for this unpaid, forced spring break? Or maybe you’re excited that this has the potential to be as much fun as snowmageddon, only without the snow and the paid time off? The reality for D.C. is rather unpleasant: No trash pick up, no fixing the potholes, government workers struggling to survive without their BlackBerrys, and thousands of tourists on Segway tours to nowhere because all the attractions are shut down. Other than dumping your trash in front of Boenher’s house, here are some suggestions for how to make it though the Shutdown.
About 11 percent of the Washington metropolitan area workforce is employed by the U.S. government, and about a third of D.C.’s economy is dependent upon it. This shutdown will be the closest D.C. has come to feeling the great recessions. It’s also a great excuse to enjoy some booze-y free-for-alls.
- Shutdown Specials: The main difference between this shutdown and the snow days isn’t the desire to drink heavily, it’s the lack of a paycheck to fund the drinking. Recognizing that furloughed employees will only be able to waterboard themselves with vodka if the drinks are cheap, many restaurants are offering Shutdown Specials. If a shutdown actually happens, you can expect discounts at the Pug, Room 11, Radius Pizza and Lounge 201 — if you can show your government ID. Union Pub will be offering penny house drafts, Monday through Friday from 5PM-6PM with your Congressional ID and Pound will be offering a “Keep ’em Fed” discount of 25% off of all food for government employees.
- Happy Hours: Most happy hours in this city start at 3PM and end by 7PM, leaving only an hour or so after work to be “happy.” But now furlough employees can enjoy happy hours that have previously only been accessible to night-shifters and unemployed alcoholics. Try the Happy Hours at the Mighty Pintstarting at 11AM, Firefly at 4PM, Masa 14 at 5PM, Laughing Man at 3PM, and Iron Horse at 4PM.
- Food trucks: Employed people have to sacrifice precious time at the office downloading porn to wait in line to be served cheese, tacos or pasta from a truck. But now that you’re non-essential, you can meet the trucks right when they park, so as not have to waste your day waiting in line for food.
- Walk around the Mall and the Tidal Basin: The Cherry Blossom parade and Kite Festival will probably be canceled if there’s a shutdown, but the Mall and the Tidal Basin will still be “open.” And you can fly a kite on the Mall on Sunday, even if it isn’t a Cherry Blossom sanctioned activity.
- Farmers Market: Without a paycheck you may be tempted to forgo buying organic, locally grown whatnot from the Farmers Market and settle instead for genetically modified vegetables and cheese clusters, but this is letting the Republicans win. Besides, wandering around the Farmers Market is a free activity and you should be able to have enough samples to hold you over for at least a little while. The Dupont Circle Farmers recently expanded and now opens at 8:30AM on Sunday.
- Corcoran Gallery of Art: If the government shuts down, the Corcoran will offer free coffee and refreshments in its cafe, as well as free admission for government employees with ID. If the shutdown is an excuse for you to enjoy D.C. culture, try the Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Woolly Mammoth Theater — there are often cheap tickets available for those under 35.
- There is a bar in the Reason magazine offices, and libertarians love anarchy and violence. So invite yourself inside and help yourself to whatever looks good … booze, computers, people’s wallets, etc.
Sure, no one will have any money, there will be trash everywhere, the city will smell, and the tourists will be bored without monuments to erratically circle. But the impending anarchy and lawlessness that will soon overwhelm D.C. could be great! At least there will be cheap booze! During this trying time, if you see a government worker, buy him or her a drink. If they start complaining about life without a BlackBerry, go ahead and hit them. Total anarchy!