free hit counter Snacks, please!: Halfway thru history

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Halfway thru history

It's 2 p.m.
I have walked 9.3 miles. (seriously, gmap-pedometer...)
I have eaten two sandwiches, one apple and the best-tasting orange ever.
A crack addict asked me if I was a man or a woman.
A pimply teenager stood behind me and said, "Push on like they're Orcs."
I feel like I've drank the bitter swill.
But baby, it's been awesome!

Let's see...

5 a.m.: Awake. Two pants of pants, stole David's long underwear. Final decision -- bike or bus? Public transit apologist in house convinces me to take Metro bus. "Nobody is taking the bus!" he says.

6 a.m.: First bus. I'm on!

6:30 a.m.: Get to Metro station. It's kind of a zoo. Already beleaguered Metro employee explains that no Virginia bus will be allowed to drive into the city -- thanks to a last-minute change by Homeland Security. I get on a bus that gets me a mile closer, but end up sitting next to a crack addict who is screaming, "Denzel Washington ain't on this bus! Motherfuckers!" And then she turns me to and says, "You a man or woman?" I eat my first sandwich.

6:45 a.m.: My march begins -- across the Potomac, covered in jigsaw ice. Bicyclists whip past me. Um-hm.

7:30 a.m.: Get to office -- I am on time!! But Cynthia and Sanjay, whom I am to meet, have been delayed. Sanjay forgot his wallet. Oh, and now he wants cocoa. Does he know there will be one porta-potty per 5,000 visitors? Enjoy that cocoa.

8:30 a.m.: Insanity. Cynthia and I approach the 3rd Street Tunnel, but we do not like it. It's dark, it's crowded, and it's rapidly filling up. Later, somebody will describe the experience as riding into one of those box canyons where they catch and kill wild horses. We hear the tunnel is closed at end, freak out and leave.

9:00 a.m.: We are going the long way around the Capitol and we are smooshed between blue lines and purple lines, maybe orange lines, nowhere near the silver line, where is where we wish to be. And we are seriously smooshed. Annoying teenager behind us starts talking about the final battle of the Lord of the Rings. I'm going to jab him in the kidney. People have babies in here? Are they nuts? Cynthia is looking grim. We hop a steel fence.

9:30 a.m.: We find Cynthia's pal in the silver line, which is sort of like Southwest C. We are waiting and waiting. I eat my apple.

10 a.m.: Still in line. I eat my sandwich.

10:30 a.m.: Still in line. Shoulder to shoulder. More than a little squished, and nobody is moving. I worry that we will miss the Joe Biden swearing-in. I didn't like Joe so much at first, but I love him now. Girl wrapped in tie-dye blanket (these are the kind of people who get silver tickets??) overhears me and snips, "I've always loved Joe Biden." Whatever. I step on her blanket.

11 a.m.: Cynthia is past grim. She is leaving.

11:30 a.m.: Good thing Cynthia left. Pandemonium has ensued. We are pushed forward by crowd, over Jersey barrier, across trampled crowd control fencing. Park Police man is bellowing, "You will be asphyxiated!" My new friend leans in and says, "Do you think I still need my ticket?"

And suddenly, it's bliss. The announcer says, "Introducing the President of the United States," and the woman in front of me begins to cheer! The announcer finishes, "George W. Bush!" "No, no!" I tell her, "Not yet!" And she says, "But I'm ready! I'm so ready!" Our crowd boos Bush. Somebody says, "A little respect!" Somebody else says, "But consider how he treated us!" Aretha Franklin sings. Oh! So beautiful. Joe is sworn in!

We are steps from the Capitol Reflecting Pool, watching Obama on the Jumbotron, watching the flags ripple across the Capitol. He takes the oath. A woman behind me cries, "Amen!" And then he speaks.

It's glorious. It's stirring. It's serious.

And now I need some water.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm glad you and Sanjay got to the hear the speech -- along with many others. It looked great on TV.

Jane, from Florida

January 20, 2009 at 11:55 AM  
OpenID marymurtz said...

Oh I'm so excited for you!!
And you described everything so I felt like I was there. Especially the guy yelling on the bus--LOL!

January 20, 2009 at 2:33 PM  
Anonymous johnny said...

Kept watching for your face to appear on TV :)

Did you see the helicopters usher Bush into oblivion? He scowled when Obama said, "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

And poor Ted Kennedy.

Read this about the 3rd st tunnel:

January 21, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

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