Pentagon (partially) closed due to snow
WASHINGTON — Before the snow even started falling, the Office of Personnel Management told non-emergency federal employees that they didn’t have to come to work on Tuesday. OPM launched a preemptive strike against the 3-5 inches forecasted to hit the Washington region, thereby saving government workers from a potentially messy and dangerous commute. That modest amount of snow wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in many American cities, but it brings to a standstill a town that is already known for political gridlock.
Being a dedicated public servant, I decided to brave the elements and go to the Pentagon. When I arrived, snow was coming down steadily. Security guards that normally stand watch outside the metro entrance to the Defense Department were absent. The doors were locked. This necessitated a wet 10-minute walk to the other side of the concrete behemoth (Soldiers in Kandahar probably wouldn’t be impressed by my plight).
Inside, the hallways were eerily silent and sparsely populated. As I walked down an empty corridor where military personnel are normally buzzing about, I felt like an Army of One.
Downstairs, the normally packed food court was virtually abandoned, save for a handful of people having quiet conversations and an unfortunate employee at the Rollerz sandwich shop (the only store in the food court that was still open) who apparently has a Dickensian boss.
Moving on, I was horrified to discover that Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks were closed. Clearly DOD’s definition of essential services is different than mine. As I wandered the building in a caffeine-deprived state of panic, I came upon the Market Basket store which not only was still open, but had an abundant supply of coffee. God bless America. The terrorists didn’t win.
With coffee in hand, I returned to the press bullpen where a few of my colleagues were at their posts. The few, the proud, the Pentagon reporters who didn’t get the day off.
You’re welcome, America.