Day 3 will go down in history as National Oh, So This *Could* Get Weirder Day. Picture it, a temp agency, 2013. Old maroon carpet, asbestos tile ceilings. I was staring at a Microsoft Word skills test. It was asking me to demonstrate the steps to create a new outline format with bolded Roman numerals. Huh, I thought. I’ve never really done that before…
My phone buzzed. I looked down. A friend had posted something on my Facebook wall involving the words ‘shots’ and ‘Capitol.’
An explanatory image immediately played itself on the movie screen of my mind: a lone gunman on a rampage, sick and tired of one party or the other, taking matters into his own hands, bringing terror to the Hill. For a minute, I even thought– what if he were a gunman whose only cause was bipartisan cooperation? Was someone rampaging for reasonableness at the Capitol?
The real story turned out to be less cinematic, but weirder. (There are a couple versions of the story– one more detailed version here and a brief version here.) A woman with a child in the back seat of her car drove up to the security barriers near the White House. At some point, she hit one of the barriers with her car. She then turned around and led cops on a chase through the city, toward Capitol Hill. Police shot at the car. The car hit another barrier; more shots were fired. The woman was killed. The child did not seem to be physically hurt. It seems that the woman was unarmed. The Capitol was locked down.
There’s so much else going on right now that this event– which, on a normal day, might have taken over the news cycle and given rise to endless speculation about all kinds of things– is just a stream feeding into the larger river of today’s crazy. That is almost the weirdest part of this weird– a woman with a child possibly attempted to drive into the White House and/or the Capitol, and, well…shrug. Not sure what that was. Anyway, should we fund certain parts of the government? What about the debt ceiling?
And so, in that vein, I finished the temp agency tests. Hopefully, they’ll have something for me next week. Or even the week after. Right now, it seems like the shutdown could go on for at least that long. I’m not counting on getting paid retroactively. A CNN guest commentator (and, separately, one of my friends) wondered– if government services are not being rendered, shouldn’t taxes be reduced? I think they kind of have a point. And also, I’m not working, so…why should I get paid?
I just hope that if we don’t get paid, someone’s taxes actually get lowered to account for that. But it seems like that would be asking a lot of the bureaucracy. Maybe if we don’t get paid, the money can be used to build a monument to shutdowns, or a shutdown museum. In the future, we can all go there and marvel at how long ago it feels that things were so dysfunctional.
As my dad said tonight: We’re to some extent in waters that are…only partially charted.
I’m still thinking about Facial Hair In the Halls of Power. The owner of yesterday’s brows was Rep. Matt Salmon, R-AZ! I was watching this interview (in which he says the shutdown will send us to a “part-time economy”) when I was struck with the expressiveness of his northern face.
I’ll give you a hint: he has apparently tweeted his support for Hugo Chavez.
Also, this happened yesterday, so it’s a bit old by now, but it’s pretty great– a member of Congress comes face to face with what it means to shut down the government. It means, you see, that the government is shut down. ‘Shut down’ means not in operation, which means no access. That’s…what that means. Like this: