Shutdowns, sex and traffic... Was it good for you?

Friday - 10/18/2013, 2:00am EDT

So it's over. Until next time.

Many people, federal workers and federal contractors, had up to 16 days of forced time off. The civil servants apparently will get paid, eventually. The contractors not so much.

How bad was it? Traffic in the D.C. area remained terrible. Food purchases were off somewhat, but alcohol sales rose. Romances seemed to blossom as more people turned to dating websites, and furloughed spouses saw each other in the daylight for the first time in years.

Most news reports of the shutdown were of the-end-is-here variety. After one particularly gloomy newscast I vowed to convert all my dollars into the new international currency of choice, the Chinese yuan. Maybe next week.

It had been years (the winter of 1995-96) since politicians have done anything this visible and stupid. This was all brand-new to a new generation of politicians, reporters and cable news and social media junkies.

Networks concentrated on stories about people — especially in the hospitality and tourism business — who were hurt or ruined by the latest political food fight. D.C., where government and tourism are our top-dollar items, took a hit. But many places, especially those around the 401 National Parks really got nailed. There won't be any retroactive business, or pay, for them.

On the radio yesterday morning, I heard a reporter who said that downtown D.C. this week was a "ghost town." I think she was reporting from the Federal Triangle area. Ghost town! Really? I don't know, since Georgetown is the closest I got to mid-town. But it was booming, and parking spaces were few and far between. Night and day.

Traffic over the past two weeks here was still horrible. Shutdown notwithstanding. Metro reported a 20 percent drop in riders. The Virginia Railway Express said at one point during the shutdown its paying customers dropped 29 percent. But on the roads, our beloved Beltway ( I-495) and the infamous moving parking lots of I-95, I-66, and I-395, things were still nasty. The drop on traffic at key points was only a couple of hundred cars per day.

Several of my colleagues, who commute from Virginia and Maryland (one near Baltimore), say things were still pretty bad during rush hour.

Our sister station, all news-weather-traffic WTOP reported that in many instances, traffic during the shutdown was higher than before the shutdown.

So now that its over — until mid-January — how did it go? What did you do? How did you survive? Was it as bad (or worse) than they said it would be? Or did you turn it into a surprise paid vacation? Let us know.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Before it was sold to Parker Brothers as Monopoly in 1936, the famous board game was originally called The Landlord's Game. A woman named Elizabeth Margie created the game to "spread the economic theory of Georgism — teaching players about the unfairness of land-grabbing, the disadvantages of renting, and the need for a single land value tax on owners," according to Mental Floss.


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