The radio reports said don't do it.
TV bulletins advised that anybody who tried it would be crazy.
The police said stay home unless you have a tank with a place to park.
Metro said good luck, because it couldn't promise any bus or subway service.
The streets of Washington looked like a Hollywood set for the Battle of the Bulge.
Parking lots looked like Antarctica.
Be that as it may, government workers who couldn't make it in to work Wednesday will just have to consider it their first "vacation" of the year.
Uncle Sam, who had been generous (and wise) by telling everybody to stay home Tuesday, got tough the next day.
Most of the town's 350,000 federal and city workers got off Tuesday with no problem. Essential people had to come to work. But that is the price of being essential.
By Wednesday, the picture had changed. Although public transportation either was horrible or nonexistent, the government decided that people should sled-dog in if necessary. Agencies were told to excuse workers who were tardy, if they made it in. And employes were encouraged to take annual leave (vacation time) if they possibly could. But no day off. Anybody who missed work Wednesday will have to take a day of annual leave, or be docked for that day.
A lot of federal workers are upset about it. Not because they are goldbricks, or unable to cope with snow, or lazy. They just have a hard time understanding why, in the aftermath of a blizzard, when local transportation failed, when street cleaning failed, when the system was totally bogged down, that they were expected to come downtown and add to the mess.
"I'd gladly work a Saturday to make up the day," one caller said. "But they had us in a Catch-22 situation. Common sense, and official bulletins, said it would be a nightmare. Yet they told us to pile in and add to it. It just doesn't make sense."
People who made it in will disagree. The theory is: "If I made it, why can't they make it?" But this is a big metro area. Getting from Georgetown to the State Department is one thing. Stashing the kids with someone and trying to get from Burke, or Olney, to Justice or GSA is another thing.
Maybe, with the money the government "saved" from Wednesday's nonholiday, we can buy a few more snow plows or invest in a transit system that runs when you need it.
Federal "Bible"... There is a new one out chock full of facts, figures, charts and explanations of the mysteries of government, federal employment and retirement. Price is $1.65 at newsstands or $2.65 by firstclass mail. The Federal Personnel Guide is put out by Federal Personnel Publications, P.O. Box 274, Washington, D.C. 20044. Or call (703) 532-1635.
Incidentally, the guide has a section on early dismissal or excused absences during emergency conditions. It says "... in order to be excused, you must be in an actual duty status at the time of dismissal. If you are in a leave status at the time of the early dismissal, you will continue in your leave status with full charges for leave for your period of absence." So, no administrative leave if you were out sick, or on vacation.
Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Two Left Feet: The Sirrocco, an all-night disco in Baltimore, is offering $2 discounts to postal workers. All they have to do is show up BEFORE midnight and flash their official ID.
For That Matter... a liquor store near the State Department gives discounts on wine, and the hard stuff, to customers lucky enough to have State, AID or ICA badges.
Tacy S. Cook is Defense Mapping Agency's new public affairs officer. She succeeds Chuck Waterman, who retired and now has his own communications consulting operation. Cook had been with Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and before that with Housing and Urban Development.
Tie One On: The Library of Congress is offering neckties ( $10 per) with the official library seal on a blue background.