I could also call this post The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Attending an Inauguration. We decided Sunday night that we couldn’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime-unless-we-live-here-long-term experience and set our alarms for 6:30 AM. I think I finally got up around 7 AM, and got ready at a leisurely pace. I’m perpetually cold, so I bundled up in many layers: running tights under jeans; turtleneck that used to be Jason’s before I stole it for running, sweater, and coat; regular socks under wool socks under warm boots. The most weatherfearing part of Jason’s ensemble were his mission-era boots.
We left the house at 8:30 AM and proceeded to the metro station. I was (maybe overly) concerned that the parking lot would be full and we’d have to go home and take the bus to the metro and be late and miss the whole entire thing. Instead, there were lots of available spots and we easily got seats on the first train into town.
We emerged from the metro (on my recommendation) at Metro Center. This turned out to be the worst plan of the day. My thought was that it would get us moderately close to the mall and save some walking time. I hadn’t taken into account the post-inauguration parade, the route for which went straight up Pennsylvania and of which we were now on the wrong side. Eventually we made it through parade security and were instructed by a red-pinnied volunteer to cross at 11th street and exit the south side of the parade route. This seemed easy enough, but we were told at 11th that we wouldn’t be able to cross after all and would have to go up to 17th and walk around the White House complex. We returned to the original volunteers who assured us that yes, we would be able to cross at 11th, so we tried again and were permitted to cross and exit the seventh circle of parade-watching Hades. (Incidentally, I have no idea how parade-goers lined up in the early morning and waited around all day long without dying of boredom. No parade is worth my time unless it features someone dressed as a golden onion.)
At this point it was about 10:45 AM, so we staked out a spot just about even with the original Smithsonian building. A couple asked us to take their picture, which Jason did and they were mightily impressed with his fine camerawork. We were nearish a jumbotron and industrial speakers, so we could actually hear and see pretty well once things got going (and after the too-old-for-that chica in front of us got off her boyfriend’s shoulders).
The inauguration ceremony itself was awesome. I loved the poem. I loved the speech. I even loved Beyonce’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (though admittedly not as much as some apparent Beyonce afficionados in the crowd did). The whole thing was very faith-in-democracy-affirming and I’m very glad we went. I’m also very glad we didn’t get on the metro at 4:00 AM when it opened as I thought at one point we should; no need to get there early if you’re resigned to being an unticketed mall stander anyway.
The weather hovered around 35 and it was a little overcast, but I only felt really cold when the breeze picked up in the middle of President Obama’s address.
We wandered around post-program and walked up Constitution toward Foggy Bottom. On the way, we saw an array of laughably hideous commemorative merchandise–all now very cheap. Cold and hungry, we stopped at the GW Potbelly’s and had a quick lunch before continuing to Foggy Bottom. (Fun fact: we ate breakfast at the GW Dunkin’ Donuts adjacent to that Potbelly’s on Jason’s 24th birthday).
The platform at Foggy Bottom wasn’t too crowded, but every single outbound train was bursting with inauguration revelers. After probably six trains went by, we hopped on an empty inbound train, rode it a few stops, then hopped off and got on an empty now-inbound-headed train going toward Foggy Bottom. We Frosts know how to work the system.
We arrived home without further incident around 4:30 PM and turned on CNN parade coverage. We had curried coconut butternut squash puree (was supposed to be soup, but I think I underestimated the weight of my squash) and biscuits for dinner and got completely caught up on Downton Abbey. Happy Inauguration/MLK Jr. Day!