Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My first (and likely only) Presidential Inauguration

The ten worst parts of the day:

1) The panic I experienced after I realized we could not get through the "purple" gate to get to "silver" gate without traversing the highway.

2) The several (hundred) moments of no cell phone service. (I'm absolutely convinced they scrambled service and claimed "high volume" was responsible. We all had lots of bars, but no service - very scary in a mob scene.)

3) The over 240 minutes that we were literally trapped on the mall.

4) The cold.

5) The fucking crazy cold.

6) The brief moment Katy lost her shit and started crying because she was so cold.

7) The moment a few hours later when I thought I might start crying because I was so cold.

8) The moment we were too polite (read: too stupid) to accept the offer of a woman who had two "extra" chemical-pouch "hand warmers".

9) The police officers barking vague, unhelpful orders from their heated cars about which direction the mobs of people should turn to reverse their course.

10) Justice John Roberts completely effing up the official oath... Seriously? you only have one job here, dude!

The ten "kind of messed up" but also kind of awesome parts of the day:

1) Getting onto the metro in the dark, before 6am eagerly anticipating what the day might bring.

2) Walking through the 3rd Street tunnel (where normally only cars are allowed) to get to the "silver" gate with about 5000 other people. I was silently panicking and a little convinced that we were going to be trapped in that tunnel for several hours.

3) The split second I thought the 21-cannon salute was an unplanned explosion.

4) Weeping during Rick Warren's prayer - would that he could live out that prayer and leave the gays alone.

5) When the crowd broke through the plastic fence, leading us to the capital reflecting pool.

6) When the only police officer in the vicinity tried to single-handedly thwart the advancing crowd of at least 1000 silver ticket holders from creeping up toward the front of the reflecting pool (through the above-mentioned plastic fence) using only his "I'm-your-father-that's-why" voice... And then finally gave up the fight 3-5 minutes later when he realized the insanity of what he was up against, choosing instead to suggest, "Walk. Don't run." Then he stepped out of the way and let us claim better seats. It was a tense, intriguing stand off.

7) Aretha Franklin's hat

8) The time I spent wondering if George HW Bush and Dick Cheney had a celebrity death match that left Bush limping and Cheney in a wheelchair.

9) The awkwardness and uncertainty I felt as at least 7 choruses of "na-na na-na, na-na na-na, hey hey hey, goodbye" were sung when GWB entered the arena for the last time as POTUS.

10) Packed shoulder to shoulder, stomach to back with the crowds of people larger than I could have ever imagined. Feeling a lot of pushing and shoving and frustration, but never really experiencing any hate or anger, practically nothing but common ground.

The ten best parts of the day:

1) Honoring the ritual of the "blood-less coup" that is the hallmark of our government and nation.

2) The 21 cannon salute that instantaneously followed Obama's oath of office. (Very cool!)

3) The multitude of black faces that paraded through the chamber and out onto the platform of the capital... Dignitaries and emissaries of a darker hue have been too painfully absent from our nation's ceremonies.

4) The tears that warmed my freezing face. This president makes me cry when he speaks. My heart trusts him.

5) Spending the day with Sarah and Graham.

6) The life-saving popcorn.

7) The soul-saving hot chocolate.

8) The indescribably amazing, "smart-wool", hiking socks I bought for the event at HTO

9) Realizing that I cared more that Barack Obama was president than that GWB is no longer president.

10) People, millions of people congregating peacefully - almost lovingly - in exceedingly stressful conditions for a thrilling event.

Shout out to our hosts, Marnie and David who not only made this weekend possible for us, but are also responsible for that fact that Sarah and Graham were our there with us today.

No comments: