(No, this isn’t VC …. at least, I don’t think it is)
I never thought I’d see the day when I’m forced to admit that some experiences defy words. I’ll try to share, though I make no promises I can convey my inner feelings.
On Sunday, at the ‘T’ meet-up I ‘won gold’! Two tickets to a section of the action for which you had to be ‘vetted’! Who would have thunk that *I* would look forward to being patted and ‘wanded’ and having my purse pawed through?
But look forward I did. Can you imagine how it feels to get a surprise gift that puts you closer to SEEing President Obama and family, VP Joe and family, Nancy Smash et al, than you had ever dreamed of being? Of being in the midst of the action even though you hate crowds? My ‘win’ brought me the experience of having a dream I never dared dream in earnest, fulfilled! I was going to the Inauguration!
(Nancy spots an old friend in Georgetown)
I went out to supper with Theo and her mom at a posh restaurant (at least for me it was) in the heart of Georgetown after meeting with the ‘T’ crowd. As alluded to earlier, I saw Nancy Smash up-close and personal. Sadly, just like some of you, she didn’t recognize me. [It must have been the little bit of makeup I tried* to add to my features. (* = don’t ask).]
(DC, Inauguration morning)
Inauguration morning was fresh, cool, invigorating and pregnant with expectation and promise. I say fresh because the morning was ‘new’, the air sharp, and also because I left my hotel at 6:10am to meet my ‘guest’, Political Junkessa, who was going to be my partner to scout out the action. Not knowing my way around and knowing the subway stations would be busy, I arranged to meet PJ on the platform of a station common to both our routes, each of us coming to it from a different direction.
Yes, I arranged to meet someone in a subway system with which neither of us was greatly familiar, but what other option did I have? The station was a central change point but if we met on the lower level it should be simpler (so thought *I*), as the upper levels had several train lines to confuse us. I got there 15 minutes early – trains were running very fast with hardly any wait time in between – and realized the folly of my decision!
(No, VC and PJ aren’t actually in this pic, but it was the best I could find to illustrate the scene)
PJ and I planned to meet each other on the platform where we both came in, though from opposing directions. Had I stipulated a specific point? No, because I thought we could look down or across the platform and spot each other, or I could stand beside the ‘up’ escalator and wait to spot her. After all, thanks to the outstanding gift of time and organization of DD4O, PJ and I now ‘knew’ each other.
Well, we did spot each other, but only after I had strutted up and down the platform for 18 minutes noticing there were more than one set of upward escalators! I confess that while strutting I was also wondering if we would meet up BEFORE the police or security guards accosted me for loitering. Meeting time had been chosen for 7am, and PJ was there at 7:03, so the moral for me is when meeting someone in an unknown venue, get there RIGHT ON TIME, not early, and save yourself the added time to wait and worry that you had botched the planning!
(Judiciary Square station, Inauguration morning)
We met at Metro Center and took the train to Judiciary Square. Did I mention that the trains were busy? They were busy on the Orange line – the one we came in on – but mounting the stairs put us in a whole new ball game. ‘Busy’ just doesn’t cut it as description. Nevertheless, movement was great and there were lots of metro (?) personnel to offer direction or help. Plus, there were thousands and thousands (or so it seemed) of people heading in the same direction, so we literally went with the flow.
After finding the appropriate section, we lined up. In truth we ‘grouped up’ through an informal checkpoint with lots of official herders in sight and ended up behind the Department of Labor building where we were herded through, nicely, TOWARDS the main vetting tents. There were now three huge sections of people waiting to be vetted but there was a long, long line of vetting tents. PJ and I ended up in the middle section which proved to be Slows-ville.
We (well I did) grumbled and muttered at the delay because both outside groups seemed to be moving continuously and we weren’t. Apart from a few similar grumbles about the lack of movement in the middle, people around us were remarkably relaxed and friendly. In the end some of US [PJ & I are not admitting to anything] climbed over the plastic orange fencing and ended up in the right side group, where we immediately made it in and through the vetting tent, free at last to rejoin the throng heading to the main event.
(VC’s pic, VC’s view)
It’s now about 8:35am and our section is already more than half full, I’d guess. People are relaxed, happy and friendly. Everyone knew why they were there – to celebrate! The weather was a wee bit nippy at times and the sun was indecisive about whether it should shine fully or not, but there was no hesitation in the minds of those gathered. Quite close to us a group of ladies were doing the Obama shuffle (**) while they waited for things to start. [**That step-shuffle-step line dance routine done by ladies dressed in black that we watched on video years back]. The dancers were a happy, hypnotic bunch who were dancing to their own (music) humming, and they became a good place marker for me when I had to leave my spot for a brief time. They stopped dancing when the formal Inaugural programme started at 9am with a couple of different choirs singing, which I’m sure you saw here.
Real excitement started for me when the Inaugural guests began to arrive, around 11am I think. The first bit of surprise… and smiles… for me was the arrival of wide-eyed misogynist Ryan. What! I welcomed PR’s entrance? Well, the audience in my vicinity booed… loudly… and continuously – a clear indication we had found just the right place to enjoy history in the making. Did you guys hear that live? That resounded with me because it was how I felt but was too inhibited to voice.
The crowd near me continued in a similar vein throughout, cheering and yelling for the good guys and gals and booing the bad guys. It was reaffirming to hear the crowd’s voices loud and clear ‘loving’ the people I had grown to know, like Nancy P, Eric H, Harry R and so on, while denouncing the rats, even griping when they came in hiding behind good guys, like they felt Cantor and Boehner did, for example. Of course, it may be that these rats had no choice about who they entered with, yet it did seem like they were slinking in.
The crowd absolutely loved the Clintons and the Bidens. I tell you though TODobots, the people surrounding me were on fire by the time ‘princesses’ Malia and Sasha arrived. I suspect I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, but lord, those girls made me puff up with pride (like *I* had anything to do with their ‘royal’ progress down the stairs).
Okay, I admit it. FLOTUS’s arrival, just about did me in. I couldn’t cry in public not being an ‘emotional’ soul so I just started laughing instead. If PJ noticed she must have thought I was going crazy, or that I WAS crazy. One lady to my right gave me a (strange) look, probably wondering what I was laughing at, but it was just that there was so much joy inside of me I couldn’t keep it inside. I think I might have shouted ‘Yes!’ ‘Yessss!’ in the midst of the laughter.
FLOTUS is one beautiful lady inside and out, AND the majority of Americans were smart enough and aware enough to recognize that and keep her in the role she has performed so wonderfully well! I was ecstatic. I was proud of the Americans who made this choice. There was a tremendous sense of rightness, a sense that I couldn’t ask for more than this moment, a sense that my heart was full, so I laughed….body shaking laughter.
Though full, I’d say my heart wasn’t quite running over yet because the man of the hour was still on his way! Or maybe it WAS, because my laughter burst forth again. The crowd around me that was already standing gave the President a standing ovation and I gave him laughter. ‘We did it!’ ‘HE DID IT!’ ‘It was done!’ McConnell’s dream of a one-term president was nothing more than a dream! Cantor-Boehner-Ryan’s obstruction hurt but Barack Hussein Obama succeeded in spite of them! Lord, you gals and guys can have no idea how full I felt! Nothing Repubs do or say in the future can ever take that feeling of success, of power, of rightness, of accomplishment away. AB-SO-LUTE-LY NOTHING!
My laughter continued on and off as the President went through what for me was his best speech ever! I know TODobots always say that was ‘his best speech ever’ after each speech and PBO has given some terrific speeches, but I tended not to say much in that regard, other than that I liked the ones I really liked.
I have rated this one ‘the best’ for ME not from the point of view as an observer/evaluator, but as someone deeply moved by the message, the use and reuse of words, the content of the character of the speaker, the subtlety AND lack of subtlety in the ideas shared, and the resolve I heard. I have an excessively strong belief in the integrity of this man who always tries to keep his word. Even as I listened, glowed, muttered ‘yeses!’, danced a jig, and laughed, I KNEW the President will do his very best to accomplish all he has outlined. This was an awesome words-can’t-describe experience!
THANK YOU, DD4O! This memory will be treasured and put in my lifetime ‘safe’, to be taken out and looked at periodically. ….. and smiled over. I am, and have always been, blessed. You were the agent of blessing this time. Thanks. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
Thanks everyone! In case you missed it in my rambling, I had a good time.
You’re a legend VC, thanks a trillion for this, it’s pure joy. Just one question: was your camera sipping champagne all day…..
(Unofficial White House photo by V ‘Souza’ C)
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