My trip to Maryland over the weekend was bad.
Houses boarded up. Shirtless men sitting on sidewalks, listless and defeated. Graffiti. Fist fights. Broken glass on cracked pavement.
At one point I even saw a gang of street children dressed in black leathers, playing a game of football with the skull of a dog. I tapped my second cousin on the shoulder, pointed, and whispered "The Shutdown".
She shook her head and said "No – Baltimore's always like that."
My cousin is nice, but she clearly doesn't know what she's talking about. I've reviewed the amount of money that the government normally sends Baltimore and there's no way that the place could possibly look like this normally.
Anyway, my mind was on the family emergency (thankfully resolved) and before I quite knew it I was being dropped off.
…at the Amtrak station.
As the car drove away suddenly I realized the danger I was in. I looked around nervously. The Amtrak station behind me was closed because of the shutdown, the neighborhood ahead of me was blasted, burned and covered with garbage for the same reason.
I needed to get out of there, and ASAP.
Without much hope I pulled on the door of the Amtrak station – and it opened!
Inside the air conditioning was blasting, the lights were bright, the marble gleamed, four agents sat behind their desks.
Amtrak was up and running? The shutdown was over?
For the first time in a week I felt hopeful, thinking that our country might yet survive.
I smiled and bought a ticket. Twenty minutes later I boarded the train and made my way to the dining car where I bought a cold sandwich on stale bread for $9.50 and a Sierra Mist for $2. As I bit into the cardboard-like food I smiled. The thing libertarians will never understand is that we can't just go it alone. The sand-which is the perfect example. I know, it might seem like a small thing, but if I and other yuppies were forced to pay Amtrak's actual $20 cost to deliver this food to me, we'd have chaos. People need to understand that government is just a word for things that we all do together, like subsidize food for yuppies traveling by train to the tune of $833 million.
Anyway, the sandwich is done and I'm going to take a nap. And I know I'm going to sleep well, because America is safe. It looked bad for a few days, but we came through it. Together.
UPDATE: Just woke up and overheard two people talking. The shutdown is still going on!?!? Not quite sure how that can be given the amount of government subsidies that Amtrak needs to operate, but I'll worry about that later. Right now I need to get home to Mrs. Clark to make sure that she, the salted beef, and the gasoline are safe.
UPDATE #2: Between setting up a defensive perimeter around the condo and trying to find generator parts on Craigslist, I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have to blog. Follow me on twitter: @ClarkHat
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