Good news. Those of you in the greater DC area "enslaved" by parking authorities are officially emancipated from their oppressive rule for today while the district government takes the day off.
(And no, this isn’t a special reward for having to pay your taxes that were due today. It’s just the bi-product of government stiffs getting another day off.)
I found this out when I called the Metropolitan Police Department a few moments ago and I was coldly told to call back tomorrow because today was a holiday.
I took a quick glance at my desk calendar and seeing nothing scheduled for today (and still feeling full from yesterday’s Easter dinner), I asked, "Oh, what holiday would that be, again?"
The woman who answered the phone and acting annoyed replied, "Emancipation Day!"
I thanked her, then scratched my head and yelled across the hall to our Managing Editor Chris Field and asked him if he had heard of such a thing. He and a few other people in our office speculated that it was a different version of Massachusetts’s Patriot’s Day that is celebrated the third Monday in April by a few northeastern states to commemorate the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
A quick search of the mayor’s website told me that today is the day President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. According to the mayor the act "represents the only example of compensation by the federal government to free enslaved persons." Mayor Williams signed legislation establishing the new district holiday in January 2005 and parades, speeches, bell ringings and other festivities have been scheduled throughout the day.
The site also said for the holiday the Department of Motor Vehicles would be closed both Saturday April 15th and today and that the Department of Public Works "will suspend trash and recyclables collection, parking and meter enforcement, and rush hour and residential parking restrictions on Monday, April 17."
So, while I won’t find out the answer to a question for a story I’m working on, I want you all to park wherever you please today. Take those coveted handicap spots, dang it! Park as close to the fire hydrants as you like. Muhahahah! Block your neighbor’s car in his driveway. Keep your quarters! Ha! Take that government! See, we do what we want! We are free, you see?
That is, except for those of you using this new found freedom to park closer to the post office to fork over what you owe on taxes. They just have to take all the fun out of everything, don’t they?