Government Shutdown Chat: What Does It Mean for Me?

CityBeat staffers have an intelligent conversation about the shutdown over email

Oct 3, 2013 at 6:41 pm

On Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM, Jac Kern wrote:

Hey Maija,

This shutdown thing is pretty crazy, right? It's like these Washington dudes went a little too far channeling their inner Liz Lemons. But — real talk — are we actually going to be affected by this? I'm supposed to close on my new house next Wednesday and I emailed my lender to see if the shutdown would delay the process of our FHA loan (I read stuff sometimes) but she never responded. Does this mean she's been furloughed? 

Speaking of being furloughed, being told to go home from work doesn't sound as bad as the "essential" government employees who have to stay at work ... without getting paid. If I was employed by the government (ha!), I'd be like "Non-essential over here! Gimmie dat unpaid vacation." But I'm lazy and used to being broke, so maybe it's just me.

[Find CityBeat's entire collection of Shut It Down 2013 coverage here.]

On Oct 3, 2013, at 3:38 PM, Maija Zummo wrote:

LL truth. Someone pass the Sabor de Soledad while I non-essentially lay here.  

My fiance's sister works for social security or something like that. Ehhh social something. Disability, maybe? Whatever. She's considered an essential government worker in the way that she still has to go to work, every day, but she isn't getting paid and she can only work on part of her workload, aka the "essential" part.

This is concerning, obviously, because: 1. Who goes to work without getting paid? This isn't a barter economy ... unless we start getting paid in puka shells; and 2. If only part of her work is considered "essential," why would she ever have to do the other part? Even when the government comes back? 

Also, my brother just moved to D.C. Bad timing, bro. First, his street shut down during the Navy Yard shooting, and now he can't even go into a Smithsonian Museum branch to pee. There's like a million Smithsonians in D.C., and they're all free, so when I was visiting, it was easier to find a museum to pee in than to find a Starbucks toilet. Also, apparently the D.C. trash, recycling and public services are federal. That means no trash pick-up. I wonder if their subway system is federal? 

I would have a problem if our trash/recycling wasn't picked up. Mine are seriously full of dog poop bags and wine bottles. Homeowner problems. Get ready for it, unless they cancel your house. Does the "F" in FHA mean federal? 

On Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM, Jac Kern wrote:

Being told any part of your job/person is inessential would have to be pretty depressing, right? I wonder if it's like Up in the Air and a George Clooney type walks in and tells you you're furloughed. This actually did happen in an episode of Veep, though. I should really re-watch.

Yeah, I read that garbage collection will cease in D.C. if the shutdown lasts for more than a couple weeks. That shit is not cool. Americans (/humans?) can barely handle the concept of "Put trash in receptacle. We'll take it from there."

What do you do with garbage if there's no collection? Drive it to the dump and throw it out of your window as you drive by (going in the dump is clearly out of the question)? Burn it? The horror! But it would lend itself to a new reality series, Trash Kings or perhaps Garbage Wars? Hey, TLC, I'm on this.

FHA loan = Federal Housing Association — government. Fingers crossed on that one. If we do get delayed and have nowhere to live, maybe I could just build a home out of all the D.C. trash that overflows north?

On Oct 3, 2013, at 4:04 PM, Maija Zummo wrote:

Garbage Wars is brilliant. Especially because I think the EPA isn't allowed to work. TLC would definitely take the show. Or the Ovation network, and play it after James Franco's new show.

Did you see that joke on the Roast of James Franco? Thank god TV channels aren't federal. I wonder what TV channels or personalities would be considered essential or non-essential. Al Roker: essential. Jay Leno: non-essential. 

Come to think of it, I literally don't even know what's federal and what's not.

On Oct 3, 2013, at 4:19 PM, Jac Kern wrote:


AV Club

 actually tied in the shutdown with the announcement that The Simpsons is killing off one of its characters this season: "Amid government shutdown of institutions,  The Simpsons  will kill nonessential character."

Well played.

I'm also confused about what the government is actually in charge of. I mean, isn't Big Brother everywhere? Are the feds still screening my texts and Facebook shares and the number of Groupons I buy? Are homeland security spies "essential?"

The furlough thing could work on a very small-scale level, though. Like getting rid of all the non-essential shit you don't want to deal with? Although it sounds like something a Real Housewife would do after a divorce ("I'm getting rid of all the toxic relationships in my life!"), it would be nice to furlough things like people who call to say they're "following up on an email I just sent" or mall kiosk people who think it's OK to touch my hair. NON-ESSENTIAL, BYE!

On Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM, Maija Zummo wrote:

Well, seriously, I'm not phased (fazed/FAZZZED). We don't live in D.C., and I would feel bad for the federal employees who have to go to work and not get paid except the ones I know get sweet vacation time and better hours and it might be nice to randomly get your paycheck all at once one time so you feel like you made a lot of money. Like cash it and fan yourself with it. Or buy organic groceries for once.

I do feel bad for people who want to go to national parks, though, but I'm pretty sure Yellowstone burned, the ones in Colorado are flooded and the only one we have here is the William Howard Taft National Historic site, which I think I'll be OK not visiting until it reopens. (They have a freaky animatronic descendant of Taft robot in there.)

Now I'm going to furlough myself to happy hour, early.