Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Recently the Password Gods, evidently vexed by Ol’ Robbo’s accumulated failed attempts to get the liturgy right, cast him into the outer darkness, where there is wailing, gnashing of teeth, and denial of access to his work computer system. When Ol’ Robbo consulted his Help Desk for the proper remote penance, he was cheerfully informed that They Couldn’t Do That, and that he would have to physically schlepp into the Temple ID Office in order to make the appropriate mea culpas.

Ol’ Robbo had not been into the depths of downtown in nearly fourteen months. I went yesterday.

I wish I had a more lively report to relate of my journey there and back again, but the chief characteristic of said trip was……the emptiness.

First, I metroed in from my usual station. Said Metro has made much noise about the importance of keeping one’s mask on while in the system. But as I stood on the above-ground platform, trying to read my book through the fog on my glasses, I realized the platform was completely empty and asked myself, “Self, what are you doing?” In answer, I pulled it down. I noticed Metro recently has installed a lot of platform security cameras. No doubt one of them spotted me, and with facial recognition technology being the latest vogue in Big Brotheriness, I’m sure I’ll shortly get something in the mail demanding I pony up for my transgression.

Both inbound and outbound, I had Metro cars entirely to myself.

Downtown was outright spooky. I’d had no real idea what to expect. Guard troops all over the place? Barbed wire everywhere? Boarded up biznays? Piles and heaps of garbage? Roving gangs of neo-Marxists?

Well… At least not where I was.

As I looked about me, everything seemed to be open, including some new eateries. The sidewalks and gutters were clean far beyond my past experience. But the thing is……nobody was there. There was a certain minimal amount of car traffic, but the sidewalks? Virtually empty.

The rational part of Ol’ Robbo’s braims can process and understand this. The other parts retain memory of almost 30 years of what late April in Dee Cee usually is like and were appalled. This time of year, especially on a beautiful day, the sidewalks in this particular quarter should be chock-a-block with tourons, shoals of high school kids, shoppers, office folk, and street hucksters and entertainers, and Ol’ Robbo should be starting his traditional grumbling about them.. (I suppose that the shock of it all hit me more so because, apart from the damned masks, things in my part of the ‘burbs have been more or less back to normal for some time now.)

Strange days, indeed.