We hadn’t planned on going to the inauguration until just a few days before, when I heard from one of my best friends who had a few extra tickets, super close. Since we didn’t attend the last time around (it was something like 6 degrees) we really couldn’t pass the opportunity up. Political junkie and shameless Obama/MObama fan that I am, I would have regretted missing their second time around. Plus, it was a chance to spend some time with my friend who lives four hours away in New York… I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I’d like…
Since we had tickets for a specific location, we decided we’d all meet there. Mark and I got all bundled up and headed into the city by metro (knowing that the metro was sure to be bad… but driving would be impossible). Unfortunately, even though we were still pretty early, some folks had been camping out since the wee hours of the morning. By the time we got there, they were climbing the walls (and even the porta-potties) to see. We got ourselves stuck in a claustrophobic little holding dock just outside of our intended location… and since I’m short (really short) we almost just turned around. It was a tense 10 or 15 minutes in that little pen, all thinking we’d come for nothing, before the gates were finally re-opened and we made our way in. Of course at this point the whole idea of pushing through to our friends was lost… we were happy just to be anywhere near the celebration at all, and lord knows what some of those folks who’d been waiting for hours might have done to us had we tried to push through. But we had a great spot, so we were content to meet up after.
The celebration was beautiful and I feel honored to have been there (even if I did have to listen to this guy the whole time). As we left, I was frozen almost solid. But, moved by the president’s speech and energized by the crowd, I was happy we’d come.
We took off in the direction of the metro, knowing that we weren’t going to be able to get on… but just hoping to find a warm place to duck inside and hopefully meet up with everyone else for a little lunch… of course, that’s when the fun really began.
By moving our feet at all, we didn’t realize that we were also pigeonholing ourselves into a location we might not be able to get out of. All we wanted to do was to get to the Native American museum… but like the river crossing in Oregon Trail where you always lose an ox, it was impossible to cross without the risk of death or… well, mostly without the risk of getting arrested. We were stuck. Unable to get to our friends, we decided to try another route. If we could just get to the red line… or hell, to any metro at this point, we’d be fine. We went back the way we came, but suddenly that was blocked too.
We were literally trapped on one single city block, with hundreds of other people and nothing but the Air and Space Museum (one of the only museums that both Mark and I have already been to… repeatedly) to see.
Dodging our impulse to behave like a caged animal and just flip out, we eventually decided to go in, have some food, and regroup. One side or the other had to open up eventually. Right?
It took some time, but we did finally find an escape… and along with hundreds, then thousands of other people… we just started walking… kind of aimlessly… figuring that if we had to walk all the way to Georgetown before we found a break in the road, at least we could hole up in a good bar.
Well, super long story (kind of) short, we didn’t have to walk all the way to Georgetown, but it was close. If you know DC, we finally made it to the red line at Farragut North (something like 2.5 miles…) and made our way home – surprisingly easily – from there.
I’m shocked that we had the energy, but on the way home we managed to make our way to McCutcheon’s for some fresh apple cider. We spent the rest of the evening with a piping hot mug and an extra large helping of rum.
It was the perfect end to a long, cold, and totally epic day. Next time we have a president I like this much, who knows, I might even consider doing it again.