Thursday, January 22, 2009

The View From Below - A Short Person's Take on the Presidential Inauguration

So after deciding not to either flee the country and take the train to Montreal (way too cold) or fly across the country to visit a friend in Seattle (too much work to deal with getting to and from the airport), I reconciled myself to staying put in the midst of the craziness that was the inauguration. Most of the weekend I sequestered myself in my apartment, but I did see the crowds swelling. I didn't venture down to the Mall until Tuesday, and it was quite an experience when I did. Boyfriend had a ticket, so we left the apartment at 8 am and went down to meet up with our friend who also had a ticket, pretty much as far away as you could get on the Mall away from my apartment. After they went their merry way, I wandered back down towards the Lincoln. At this point though, the crowds were starting to get bigger and bigger and the majority of the time, I was unable to actually see anything, as I happen to be a short person, and I was completely hemmed it. At one point there was quite the traffic jam and we were stuck for a while, and people around me said that a bunch of buses had to go by which had the band members for the parade in them.

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My view for about a mile - the back of people's heads

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I eventually made my way down to the Lincoln and checked out all that was going on around there, and then made my way back up to the Washington Monument, stopping to take a peek at the World War I memorial, which I had been wanting to do for a while, but hadn't yet.

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I played "Spot the Secret Service Sniper" wherever I could

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World War I Memorial

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Life, liberty, and a porta-john for all

By the time I managed to find a spot by a jumbotron though, everyone else had already staked out the prime viewing areas, so I forced to do the awkward hop and peer around heads if I actually wanted to see anything. At least I could hear though, and everyone around me managed to block the wind a bit.

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I expected to see lots of crazy outfits, but this guy was about it.

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It was pretty cool to be there in the middle of it all and I was glad after all that I didn't try and get away for the weekend. Unfortunately though, I didn't have any choice about whether or not I wanted to stay and listen to the end of the ceremony after Obama's speech though, as every person in the crowd was determined to beat the other 1.8 million people off the Mall. It was an admirable effort, except for the fact that the general flow of traffic landed us all in a dead end corner hemmed in by porta-johns. Luckily, everyone was quite jovial, and so there wasn't too much pushing. After climbing through bushes and over jersey barriers (I felt terrible about joining the millions of people destroying my city) and after only a little more than an hour, I was able to escape the crowd and go home.

Because the inauguration planners miscalculated, the several blocks around my apartment were turned into bus parking lots. The one below was definitely my favorite.

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1 comment:

Ashley said...

Love it! Thanks for the insider scoop. I was wondering what it would've been like to be there...

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