Many of the Occupy campers dug in two long blocks from the White House have gone home for a week or so of holiday R and R, though they left their tents standing for a New Year's return.
When they come back, they may find intensified impatience with their protracted takeover of McPherson Square, soon to enter its fourth month.
Unlike in many other cities, Washington, D.C., officials, along with the National Park Service, have largely left the protesters alone.
What's starting to grate is the cost of the Occupation. And, American taxpayers, you are likely to pick up the ever-rising bill.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray last week said the city's cost — mostly for the 24-hour police presence accorded the campers, as well as the mobilization needed when they take over city streets — is $1.6 million and growing.
Since the city routinely is reimbursed for the services it supplies for national events such as inaugurations and anti-abortion marches, Gray said the occupiers are a federal problem, and the District of Columbia — with its own budget blues — should not be forced to shoulder the cost. Odds are, it won't.
There's another cost U.S. taxpayers certainly will bear. The October onslaught of the occupiers came a few months after the Park Service had unveiled a $400,000 rehabilitation of the park. The 100-plus tents have rendered much of the improvements to mud.
Grumbling is also growing on Capitol Hill, where House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has begun an investigation into why the encampment is allowed to stay.
And the 99-percenters — the working stiffs on whose behalf the movement was formed — are getting fed up, too. The Occupy forces periodically block K Street, a thoroughfare synonymous to some with the lobbyists and lawyers with offices there.
But K Street is also a key cross-town route for the buses that bring thousands of 99-percenters to their jobs every day, and, unlike the 1-percenters, they have no other way to get to work or back home.
So what to the occupiers is a meaningful protest is to the ordinary Joes a miserable commute. And those workers, more than any protester, are the ones who deserve a "break to rejuvenate," as one protester described her holiday respite at home.