Inauguration Day Recap
2am - While Mr. Obama was warm in his bed and deep in his sleep, my sister arrived from NYC. It was only a few minutes in the cold before she realized that taxi's were not coming to my side of town because all the roads and already been shut down. Think she could just walk to my house, she sets forth eager to unload her backpack and throw on an extra layer of clothing.
2:30am - The thought of a warm apartment is totally removed when she is told that the mall is completely shut down for any crossovers for basically the rest of the day. While, I'm restudying the inaugural maps, she finds her way, along with several thousand friends, to the nearest Starbucks.
4:12am - I'm out of the door and headed to the subway. Since I can't meet her by walking across the Mall, I can at least go the one stop by train and try to meet her at Starbucks.
4:45am - Ride coat-tail of a police officer through a sea of people and into Starbucks! REUNITED
6:45am - Police opens up first block and we rush to the barrier for the entrance to the mall and parade route. Gates are suppose to open at 7am.
7am - Gates do NOT open. Crowd begins to shout that the police should open gates. Police aren't even at the gates yet. Other police officers smile down on crowd from nearby building with warm coffee and freaking DONUTS in hand!
8am - We have moved about 3 steps. Gates are open but security is checking EACH PERSON through metal detectors and searching belongings. Think JFK airport but with about a million people behind you in line.
8:30am - All sensation in the toes have gone. Have already put in useless hand warmers into shoes and they were....USELESS.
By this time, everyone is playing meet-and-greet with the neighbor. It's more of a "Hi, neighbor I can't lift my arm to shake your hand and since I'm close enough to see your nose hairs, I say we skip the handshake!'
10:00am - Serious debate abandoning ship. I can't feel my toes and the line hasn't moved. But sister says 'we've come this far' and therefore we stay.
11:00am - Through some very deliberate pushing and shoving along with neighbor Carl, we burst through the first barrier.
11:30am - We are through security. It's only been about 7 hours since I left the warmth of my apartment to stand in the below freezing temperature. Nothing compared to others but still a LONG time for me! Have I mentioned that I can't feel me feet?
12:04pm - In TRUE African style, Obama is sworn in LATE. Really, what is there not to love about a guy who even as President of the 'free world' can't escape the stereotype?!? Secret Service and Congressional planning be damned!
I listen to 18 minute speech while trying to rub warmth into my toes. I fail, but at least recognize the David McCullough, 1776, quote that Mr. President ends his speech with. Praises to Sudan for giving me the time and mental space to read this book (not to mention having lived with someone who would read this in the first place). I highly recommend it if you haven't read it already.
Still can't feel my feet!
1:08pm - Give into frostbitten toes and had home. Sorry Mr. President, but getting a glimpse of you just is not worth my toes!
2:00pm - Back in warm bed, toes in excruciating pain but with a warm cup of tea on the fire. Start to watch news coverage of Congressional Luncheon where Ted Kennedy has turned sick, and start to hear parade through the daze of sleep!
4:30pm - Sister makes it to apartment and is one dread-locked block of ice!
All in all....I probably would have been a.ok watching the whole thing from the warm comfort of my apartment, but the time among my fellow Americans, Asians, Africans, Latin Americans, Australians and all the others who traveled SO far to get here to be squeezed up breath-to-breath with each other, was well worth the hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of standing in the cold!