Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've Never Seen So Many People. Anywhere. Ever.

If you'll look at the photo above, I'm standing towards the upper left, about 8,000 rows back from the Capitol building, 42 people in from the edge, kind of near the Native American Museum. I have one or the Silver invitations to the ceremonies, which put me up front with the chosen quarter million. I'm standing where I can sort of see a jumbotron, except for the tree in front of it and the people in the tree. It's cold. It's crowded. It's really crowded, and I'm thrilled to be a part of the event.

There's not much to say beyond that. Since commenters have asked about my travel plans:
I stayed with a friend in the 'burbs, got dropped at the Metro about 6 AM. I got a seat, but the train quickly filled. I stood in the wrong line for over an hour, but there was no way I could have known that, and no where I could have moved anyway. More lines, cold, and I expected all these things, so it was fine. There was no wind chill factor because all those bodies shielded me from the wind.

The first Metro stop I passed had long lines formed down the street. I tried Union Station and couldn't get near it. I sat for a while on the floor of the lobby to the Postal Museum. The woman next to me was talking on the phone about how she was way in the front, seated and there were marble bathrooms. She saw Usher and Oprah and Denzel. We were at different events, clearly, but both landed on the floor of the museum lobby as inaugural refugees. Oprah and I would hit it off right away, I'm sure of it. All the while, I was getting text messages from the Metro system alerting me to various crowds and shut downs. I texted a friend who works in the District to see if maybe he wanted a visitor. I don't know if he was near me, but what's a few more miles to walk in a crowd on a glorious day? He was inside a building, waiting for the parade, but didn't invite me to join him. I tried the Metro stop in Chinatown, and got through right away. A train pulled up just as I reached the platform. After the first stop, I got a seat, and there were taxis lined up at the station on the other end. I got to my car, drove another hour, and was home by 6.

What an exciting day! I've never seen so many people in my life, anywhere, ever.
Congratulations, President Obama!


shrink on the couch said...

I've been wondering how it was "on the ground" today -- wow -- sounds like a madhouse.

And as it happens, I was at the Postal Museum, one of the few buildings I saw from the inside on my recent trip to DC. So now I feel somehow distantly apart of the inauguration, thanks to your post. It's a stretch, but it's all I've got.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being part of the most exciting inauguration of my lifetime!

Catherine said...

My students and I watched it in school today and over and over again they would turn around and tell me, "Look at all of the people!"

I was so proud of them. They were attentive and polite, even the students who may not have been happy that he had been elected. Several of them even gave up the bulk of their lunch period so that they wouldn't miss anything (we had a bit of a picnic later though!). Truly, it was a good day.

itsjustme said...

Wow! That's incredible. I got chills watching the inaugaration on television. I couldn't have imagined what was like to actually be there. Thanks. How did you get invited? What an honor!

Anonymous said...

NYTimes said 2 million people. A LOT! I am thrilled for you despite cold and crowds endured.

Sarebear said...

It was a historic day, indeed.

I can appreciate that, even strongly misliking and distrusting the candidate that became our President.

I am uneasy with President Obama in office, but that's the way things are. I'd be uneasy with anyone as President whom I believe presented themselves throughout as something different than I suspect they'll turn out to be.

If I could believe his more positive pronouncements, I'd be happier.

Anyway, sorry, don't mean to start a political debate, cutting off now.