Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Check-point city

Code Orange living

Living, as she does, within blocks of the headquarters of two of our three branches of government (the Supreme Court and the U.S. Capitol), your blogstress finds her neighborhood resembling Berlin before the wall fell.

Though no wall yet exists--just lots of fencing and jersey-wall barriers--checkpoints abound, with every car being stopped on virtually every block within a ten-block radius of the terrorists' presumed high-value targets. People with guns sport a variety of official costumes, the most common of which is a navy blue shorts outfit, dayglo yellow vest and a 9mm pistol. Not particularly attractive.

Note to self: remember to wear an ID badge while walking through nabe. Any kind of ID badge is preferable to none--unless, of course, one sports an employee ID issued by the Arab-American Anti-Defamation League.

The walk from East Capitol Street, on which the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress sit, to Union Station, has always been a lovely, meandering stroll through a patchwork of greenery seamed with footpaths. Today, at the small, charming flight of concrete stairs that marks the end of one path, your blogstress found a large concrete barrier around which she had to step through a 1-foot opening left between it and the barrier placed right next to it.

Note to self: keep passport current. Carry at all times.

The traffic back-ups serve as a reminder that, if the hood is hit, there's no getting out by motor vehicle.

Note to self: keep bicycle tires inflated.

Yesterday, we learned that the administration forgot to tell us that the current alerts are based on information compiled by al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. The adminstration is indeed correct that al-Qaeda works years in advance of its attacks, planning in meticulous detail. Yet the current frenzy, at least in this neighborhood, wreaks more of a show of force than an actual attempt to find potential terrorists.

Note to self: be vigilant.

Today we learned that Capitol Police have received training on how to shoot a suspected terrorist in the head. No word on what qualities define a suspected terrorist.

Note to self: wear nothing exotic. Wear helmet.

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