The airport's lighting dimmed as one by one the little shops locked up for the night. No more LED lights flickering and beckoning you in for an Orange Julius or Dunkin' Donuts or Nathan's famous hot dogs.
As the crowds thinned you could see for miles down glossy floors of the main corridor because they were no longer littered with thousands of passengers worried about getting to their terminal on time as they lugged impossibly heavy, over-packed carry-ons crammed with items that they will never, ever use once they get to their destination.
With the lack of all of those noises, there were also no more public announcements about departing planes – because there were no more planes departing from this airport until the next morning. The airport was closing for the night.
My husband, his two sisters, and I were spending the next 13 hours at Dulles Airport because our connecting flight was three hours late getting us here for our connecting flight to Pittsburgh because of the lay-off of hundreds of airplane controllers as the sequester kicked in full tilt.
The sequester seemed abstract and dumb back a few months ago when the politicians began to threaten each other with it and I dismissed the whole idea with a flick of my wrist and a click of my tongue.
I didn't put our magical trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my husband's retirement and the sequester blowback together.
I never put together sleeping upright in straight backed, plastic, incredibly uncomfortable chairs in a cold, empty airport overnight and the 'do absolutely nothing if it can be helped' attitude of the Congress of the United States of America. But they do go hand in hand.
The past four years has been disappointing and maddening. I don't know what to do to fix our country, but I do know without a shadow of doubt that none of the fools in Congress have a clue either so I will not be extending their stay in office with my vote.
Maybe this whole fiasco had nothing to do with Congress. Maybe it was karma. I have a little prick of conscience when I remember about the day we heard that there had been snow the day before in Somerset and the current temp was 36 degrees. We reacted badly. In our defense, we were sitting under a thatched roof cabana, sipping a tropical drink and sweating in the 80 degrees on the white sandy beach watching the waves cresting as the ocean rolled in and out.
We probably were wrong to giggle.
We should have known that karma was waiting on that type of rude behavior.
I heard on the news today that the Congress is going to be on a "well-deserved" vacation for the next week or so, eliminating any chance of putting an end to all of the sequester foolishness.
I don't make it a habit to wish bad things on others but there is a big part of me that hopes that all of Congress has travel arrangements which include a thirteen hour layover at Dulles Airport due to the sequester.
(You can reach Janet Good, Somerset, at email@example.com at any time of the day or night.)