Monday, January 28, 2013

Inauguration Day

The days leading up to the inauguration were crowded in DC. We went out to dinner for my birthday the Saturday before, and called half a dozen restaurants the Wednesday before that to get a reservation at a regular dinner hour. ("Hi, would you like a 4:00 or 9:30 reservation? Everything else is booked." "Um..." We ate at Tabard's Inn and it was an excellent—even romantic!—meal at a normal 6:00 hour.)

I got all sorts of emails about road closures and extra security measures to take (like, write your and your child's personal information on a note card and fix it to their person if you plan on taking them Downtown. Yikes).

The day of the inauguration, Capitol hill was eerily quiet. Either people were all already on the Mall by mid-morning or they were smart enough to sleep in, have brunch and take the day off. We were neither.

We opted to not leave the house at an ungodly hour and wait in the cold with our toddler just for a good seat, so at 10—and calling upon the strength of our pioneer stock—we left the house for the day with a tin of peanuts, a package of licorice, a PB&J and a few water bottles.

"We don't always agree with the President, but we always pray for him (1 Tim 2:1-4)"
I sort of regret not buying an "Official Inauguration" something. I'm so not a souvenir person, but it would have been fun to wave a flag or something. Right?

The walk down was a cultural slice of life. Being a non-ticketed attendee meant walking, and walking, and shuffling past vendors and closed streets and innumerable police men. The entrance at 7th Street (above) was close by the time we got there—minutes before the speech began. The group dynamic of being collectively rerouted was interesting to say the least. There was a collective sigh as people regrouped and figured out where to go. It was like being in a river of people. When a we came upon a roadblock, we trickled out in a dozen different directions and white capped on occasion. There were numerous frustrating moments when I questioned the authority of nearly every cop who said, "Sorry. This road is closed. Walk two blocks to the south and then over 5 blocks and up two more blocks and you'll be where you want to be." "Grrrr..."

Vendors lined the streets and back roads that snaked through the maze-like city. At one point Mike commented that maybe all this extra rerouting and walking was some secret part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. I think he may be right . . .

Our view. I know. High quality photo.
We walked over 25 blocks down to the Washington Monument where we caught the tail-end of the inaugural address. It was actually nice to not be pressed up on by a thousand people like I heard the view a few blocks closer was. We heard enough, ate our peanuts and licorice, ran around a bit, took a few pictures and then started the mass exodus back east (when I swear even more roads were closed...) towards our house.

Hooray we made it!
Awesome mothering tip: give your kid licorice constantly and they'll be happy as a clown in their stroller all day.
 People have asked me, "Are you glad you went?" I answer, "Totally. It was a great do once." I don't think I'll ever have to make the trek again (unless I had awesome tickets and handwarmers).

There were moments that I don't think I'll ever forget, like watching the pride on a black woman's face as she glaced over a row of Obama Calendars, fixed her eyes on a picture of the First Lady and exclaimed over and over, "Michelle is gorgeous! Just gorgeous!!" I agree. She is. And I like her haircut.

Or the guy selling Romney and Obama condoms. Or the vendor who used the back of an old Romney/Ryan campaign sign as the backing to his sign advertising Obama inauguration gear. How resourceful.

Or Ada watching the horses before they took off for the parade. Or how sweetly she would ask for "More licorice, please." After getting reminded to use her manners 20 times first and "Ask nicely."

It was a 6 hour outing. Needless to say we stopped for a pizza on the way home.

So much trash every where. The can on the left is long before the ceremony actually began.
Inauguration porta-potties anyone?

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