Thursday, January 22, 2009

48 Hours to Assimilate Inauguration ... Part 1

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Traveling to Washington, D.C., I sensed we were up for something beyond what we could imagine--but utterly worthwhile. The anticipation alone was palpable by the time I got to Chicago Midway airport, regardless of the fact that I thought I was at O'Hare--what did it matter? I was riding the wave of imminent change and letting the excitement carry me along. Without getting too extraneously long-winded about this allow me to cut to the chase ...

Picked up at the Hyatt at 3:30 a.m., 10 miles outside of Washington, D.C., the Romanian cab driver knew the back roads of suburbia. He to got us to the right Metro station, circumventing the extremely long car lines and letting us know with his southeastern European accent, "for the right price, I will get you anywhere you want to go." Hey, this is America; why not make a buck on a this historical event!

Once on the Metro, we stood close, a mild understatement for the theme of the day. I felt honored to be in the midst of this, and imagined what it meant to our fellow travelers as well. One lady next to me wore a purple Obama cap and meticulously applied fake eyelashes; I wondered how she put them on so precisely that early in the morning. Maybe, like us, she never even went to sleep. By this time it was probably about 4:15.

When we got to the city, the bitter pre-dawn wind was a blowin', and I began to get nervous about how we thin-blooded Arizonans would make it through this without getting hypothermia. We had no luck meeting up with Sean's brothers as planned, but we carried on to where the masses led.

As we approached the gates, the crowds began to get really compressed. It was a bit scary but definitely helped to keep us warm. I kinda liked that. At one point, a military bus tried to get through this dense sea of people, but because we were up against a barrier, it caused even more compression. Just then, the gates opened, even though it was several hours before they were scheduled to.

Suddenly, in what amounted to one of the peak moments of my day, a large group of African-American people broke out singing "Movin on Up" from The Jeffersons, a sitcom I used to love as a kid growing up in the 70's. It was amazingly appropriate ... "Mooooovin on up, we finally got a piece of the pie." It was complete with a great male baritone. We all joined in on the chorus.

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