Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is it News? Area Businesses Go to Night Schedule Due to Heat

With the relentless heat wave forecast to last until Halloween, area businesses and government agencies are switching to a nighttime schedule.

The first to make the switch will the be US Postal Service, which will start its mail delivery rounds at 10pm. "It's unbelievably hot, and when you're carrying several Amazon boxes, you're near collapse," said letter carrier Jim Doyle, who delivers mail in 20016. "And by the time I've gotten to two or three houses, I've dripped sweat on a lot of people's mail."

"Our letter carriers aren't built to take this kind of heat, and this temporary switch is going to save a lot of lives," said Assistant Postmaster Marcus Sweet. He said that letter carriers are going to try and be as quiet as they can when making their nighttime rounds, but noted that if you have to sign for a package, you will hear your bell ring in the middle of the night. "We hope that customers will have some consideration during this oppressive heat."

UPS and FedEx have indicated that they will move to a nighttime delivery plan soon.

DC Courts are expected to switch to a nighttime schedule by Wednesday. Anyone  summoned for jury duty should plan on arriving at 8pm, instead of 8am. "This switch is going to save us a huge amount of power," court spokesman Angel Darr said. A few lawyers reacted positively to this news. "You have no idea what it's like to wear a wool suit in the daytime in Washington, DC. It makes me want to quit my job and sell ice cream -- indoors," said one Armani-clad attorney, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Encouraged by Pepco, which is offering businesses a discount for electricity consumed between 11pm and 6am, in lieu of matinees, many movie theaters will be extending their hours through dawn.

The City Council is considering legislation that would double all driver moving violation fines whenever the temperature is above 95 degrees. "If you think that the police really want to get out of their air-conditioned car to write you a ticket when it's this brutal, think again," said a police union official.

Even Metro's getting into the spirit. "We're going to modify our schedule ASAP," said Metro spokesperson Wanda Tremor. "Customers can expect more infrequent trains during the day, and continued service all night long," she said. Fares will be increased by 50 cents between 7am and 9pm.

Area residents have had mixed reactions to this switch, but most seem resigned to doing whatever they can to cope with DC's new tropical reality "We're becoming like New York City," said one ex-Manhattanite, "We're a city that never sleeps. This is great!"

Is It News?, written by Bill Adler, is All Life Is Local's humor column. 

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