AMERICA IS OVER, and that will likely throw a wrench into your travel plans if you’re visiting Washington, DC. For those who haven’t heard, the United States Congress refused to pass a budget yesterday because Obama is trying to deprive sick people of their freedom to die in a crippling amount of debt. As a result, the federal government has shut down all “non-essential” services.
The result has been that all of the country’s National Parks and National Monuments have been closed to visitors, and a gigantic percentage of federal employees have been put on furlough including, and I am not kidding, the goats that are being used to clear poison ivy out of the Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
Washington, DC, in particular, has ground to a halt. For one thing, the entire city revolves around the federal government, so a good chunk of the city’s population has faced the rather humiliating prospect of being dubbed “non-essential” by their supervisors, and has subsequently been given an unpaid, involuntary vacation (unpaid unless, of course, they are uniformed members of the Armed Forces or the members of Congress who caused the problem in the first place). On top of this, all of the sightseeing hotspots — like the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Museums, and the National Zoo — have been closed.
But what will the next few days/weeks/months be like in a city that’s teetering on the abyss? And more importantly, what are tourists and furloughed workers supposed to do in it with all of the best known landmarks shut down? I have a few ideas.
Fuck like rabbits
DC is a fabulously horny city. The website PornHub recently reported that residents of the District watch twice as much porn per year as the average American (that link, by the way, leads to the Washington Post, not PornHub). Only about a quarter of the city is married, which makes it more or less a singles’ haven, and that doesn’t just apply to heteros: DC has the highest percentage of openly gay residents in the United States.
On top of this, some studies have found that recessions can lead to an increase in sexual activities and intimacy, thanks to an increased amount of time at home. While a shutdown isn’t the same as a recession, it’s certainly a good time to spend less money, spend more time at home, get naked, and start the revolution.
If you’re looking for authenticity, this is absolutely what the locals will be doing: It took DC staffers that were about to be placed on furlough no time at all to start trawling Craigslist for hook-ups. BuzzFeed collected a bunch of them and, yes, they all read a lot like, “want to go out with a bang?”
But before you judge, be honest. You absolutely want to go out with a bang. Besides, the embrace of another human being is the only warmth you’ll find when the end comes and the lights go out.
Drink like fish
Another great hallmark of DC culture is excessive alcohol consumption. While DC is, per capita, only ninth in the country in terms of alcohol consumption, it is number one in terms of unhealthy alcohol consumption. (Though, to be fair, our desire to drink and fuck ourselves into a stupor is totally understandable. DC residents work for the worst bosses in the world: The U.S. Government and the American people.)
The District’s favorite way to act out this extremely unhealthy lifestyle choice is through a magic time called “the Happy Hour.” While Happy Hour is traditionally a time for up-and-coming yuppies to “network” — a DC word that means “meeting people and finding out if you can use them at some point in the future” — during the government shutdown, it will more likely be a time to cry on each other’s shoulders and worry deeply about the future.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. DC bars understand perfectly that, during a disaster, people want to be together, so they do awesome things like create Hurricane Sandy themed playlists, or offer discounts to furloughed government workers. Bars will be the best place for DC residents to collectively cry over their shattered dreams.
See the sights anyway
Yesterday, when the World War II Memorial was closed, a bunch of WWII veterans crossed the barricades anyway, and a bunch of slimy doucheballoon Congresspeople crossed with them to take the opportunity to grandstand and decry the shutdown that they were personally responsible for.
Doucheballoonery aside, the vets were right: You shouldn’t let governmental intransigence ruin your trip to the Nation’s Capital. A good chunk of DC is outdoors, and things that are outdoors are often visible from other places that are also outdoors. In spite of attempts to hide the Washington Monument with scaffolding so sightseers can’t view the majestic penile obelisk during the shutdown, it’s still visible from a pretty huge chunk of the city.
Besides, the public transportation is still running, and it’s virtually empty thanks to the lack of people, you know, actually working. But if you’re going to see DC, see it now, because as I said, America is over. The city might not be around that much longer. Unless, of course, Congress gets its act together and reaches a compromise.