I have faith in our President-elect. Really, I do. I trust him, and his new administration, and I sort of trust the Presidential Inaugural Committee, but I’ve been in Washington for a long time, and I’m starting to feel the same old familiar doormat feeling. Welcome to your Nation’s Capital! Ouch! That’s my toe! And hey, stop crowding the Metro, I need that to get to work!
- Inaugural planners have announced that the entire Mall will be open for spectators to be within history-making distance of Senators Obama and Biden as they take their oaths of office on January 20, 2009.
- There are already dozens of Inaugural Balls and Galas planned for Tuesday and Monday night to celebrate the event.
- Aretha Franklin is playing at the Kennedy Center, and if that’s not enough to create a mob of divas, she’s playing for FREE.
- Diva alert #2: Oprah is landing at the Kennedy Center during Inaugural week, too.
- In the highly annoying category, D.C. bars will be open until 5 a.m., so as I head home from work, they will party on. And perhaps as I get up for work, they will be heading home.
- Meanwhile, Metro will be running at peak capacity, with many escalators turned off, for 15 hours. Tell me there won’t be an “incident” that causes a delay. I dare you.
All of this fun, and at my office, Inauguration Day is NOT a holiday. I had been thinking about taking the day off to celebrate the Obamanon, but what to do? Camp out for a good seat on the parade route? Fight the crowds to be one of the million on the Mall? So I can see our proud brown dot on the white marble staircase? When I see all these tourists (I know, you are Americans, too) littering our fair city, staring at Metro maps and wearing fanny packs, I don’t know if I want to be trampled, or frozen, into the American ice sculpture. I could see and hear it all better from the TV at work, and get paid doing it.
But there’s the next dilemma. If I try to get to my downtown DC office to get paid watching the Inauguration on TV, I STILL have to go through all the crowds and hassle. I won’t be able to drive to work, because I work a short distance from the parade route. Roads will be closed. Chances are garages will be full. I will still have to ride the subway to work with the elated Inaugural masses and probably give directions all the way. (Because Washingtonians are friendly like that.)
Some readers may laugh at my quandry. At least I don’t have to pay for a hotel in the area, if I could find one.
It’s just that the rest of the year, we hear the motorcade coming, we pause in our travels, and if it’s the President – Washingtonians know how to tell – we glance at each other and nod, “Hm, he must just be back from Kyoto.” We know how to deal with Presidents in D.C.
But this one, grand, celebratory day, the REST of the country is invited to come by and make a big fuss of things. It would be so much simpler if it was a nice, quiet tea party somewhere in Georgetown, but we did ask for Change, didn’t we?
I’m thinking that somebody sent out too many invitations for our little garden party, but luckily I’m not in charge of baking the cupcakes or ordering the folding chairs. Change is good, but scary. And I’m a bit scared that some flowerbeds may get trampled.
So, America, if you’re visiting your Nation’s Capital for the Inauguration, welcome to Washington. Please consider your hosts. Wipe your feet before you come in. Try not to litter. Ask for directions. We really are glad you came. Really.