Friday, January 16, 2009

Long Johns, Fuzzy Hats, and Porta-Potties

These are just a few of my favorite things. The big Inaugural countdown in DC is on, and this is pretty much what you hear people asking each other all day is:

How are you getting down to the mall?
When are leaving your house?
How many miles do you think you'll walk?
How long do you think you'll be standing out in the cold?

Here are the typical answers:
4 or 5 miles.
Six hours -- at least.

I realized yesterday, as I was begging the phone gal at Smart Bargains to expedite shipping on the Aerobed that I was hoping my husband and I would be sleeping on Monday night, that most of the nation does not get the kooky effect the Inaugural has had on our city, Washington DC. When I explained to Aerobed gal that there would be no mail service in DC on Monday or Tuesday, that streets would start closing here on Saturday, and that I NEEDED THAT AEROBED BY SATURDAY BY THE LATEST -- because I would be sleeping Monday night in a downtown office to get a jump on walking to the Mall on Tuesday -- well, she sounded like she was backing away from the phone as quietly as she could to call security. "Thank God," I could hear in her voice, "that this nut-job lady is not in the building with me."

But the powers-that-be at Smart Bargains got the Aerobed out of their warehouse (maybe to keep me from coming over there) and a UPS truck is at this minute driving it to my house. Then, the mobilization will begin. My husband, son, and I are actually sleeping in hubbie's office Monday night (with said Aerobed, space heater, food, and cameras in tow). This means that instead of having to walk out of our house (five miles from the Mall) in the predawn hours, we can "sleep in" until 6AM and still hit the security perimeter by 7AM. We figure it will take us an hour or two to walk the mile or so to the Capitol, where we have tickets to watch the swearing in. (OMG, I will see the first African American president in the U.S. be sworn in! Take that, all you rednecks I grew up with!) Then, we think we MIGHT be able to walk seven blocks in an hour to be able to get into position to see the parade. We might. If the gods smile on us and the crowd is one everyman-lovin', brisk-walkin' mass of communal bliss.

Okay, we'll be as lucky as hell if we make it three blocks and see the parade.

But, I don't care. I really don't. And what is even more amazing is that somewhere between 2 and 4 million people are just as fine as I am to put aside our creature comforts, freeze our fannies off, and get a few blisters so we can see Obama be sworn in. Other than a small bottle of water and my phone (no backpacks or purses allowed), I'll be carrying lots and lots of Kleenex for me and whoever is around me, because I figure after the great hurrah that will rise from the mall when Obama says "I do", we will crying all over each other -- as happy as DC clams can be.

Fun Fact: If the projected 4 million people DO actually come to the swearing in, that will be the equivalent of having the population of the Republic of Ireland standing on the Mall.


painter girl said...

Lucky you!
Can't wait to see the pictures and to hear the tales of the scene, the feelings, the wonder of it all. Hope you post them soon!

MikeT said...

I'm as delighted to hear about your adventures as to see that you're blogging away again.

Over the years, I've become jaded by inaugurals, convention speeches, State of the Union addresses, and the like. Today, I was stirred by the combination of Obama's sobriety over our multiple challenges and his self-confidence that we can meet them, and profoundly moved by the nonviolent transfer of power and the accession to power of a member of a once-disenfranchised group. I don't think there's been a similar moment in American history since JFK's inauguration. I'm glad you got to see it (and hope you didn't catch cold!).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts once again. Keep it up!--Mike T.