In the nation’s capital and environs, the infrastructure had deteriorated to what sometimes seems like Third World standards. In some cases, make that below Third World standards. In most of the developing countries I’ve visited, for example, they manage to keep the power on during a garden-variety thunderstorm. But here, in the most powerful city in the world — a city of humid summers, where thunderstorms are to be expected all season long — all it takes is a few flashes of lightning, and inevitably at least a few thousand households are left in the dark.
The highways around here are so clogged that there’s no longer a predictable rush hour, just random times when the Beltway is at a standstill and other random times when the traffic is merely oppressive. You could take the subway, but whatever station you use, the escalator will probably be broken. Our engineers can design a cruise missile that will turn a 90-degree corner, knock on the target’s door and say “Candygram!” to bluff its way inside, but we can’t quite master the intricacies of the escalator.
You could just walk, but be advised that occasionally something beneath a heavily trafficked sidewalk will short out and explode, turning innocent manhole covers into Frisbees of Death.
That manhole thing is either made up or blown way out of proportion. But he has a point about the other stuff. But hey at least Washington has some cool statues (See above and below):