Hey, hey, bye, bye

Our good friend Betsy from Washington, D.C. has just headed home after a two-day visit. We met Betsy, a southern belle, while we lived in Georgetown in the early 1990s and have maintained the friendship ever since. Her visit was a reminder how enjoyable Washington is and how unplugged you can become from events.

On election night, she told us, houses across the city emptied as people headed for Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, where they sang “Hey, hey, bye, bye” in full-throated joy to the current occupant, George W. Bush.

With the election of Barack Obama, race relations in the city that’s two-thirds African-American have improved 100 per cent. Everybody’s talking to one another other and feeling good about their political future. Together.

As for the economy, the latest trend in Georgetown is for people to run up their credit cards with no intention of ever paying off the charges. It’s as if they expect a government bailout or, if that’s not forthcoming, they’ll declare personal bankruptcy. Either way, everything is free.

Still, reality has sunk in with some people. Betsy spotted a neighbor, who had just renovated, swinging a pick ax to clean up some cement in front of his house. When she asked what he was doing, he said he didn’t want to call his architect about the repairs. Anything the architect arranged would be far too expensive.

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