Friday, January 23, 2009
DC, meet VTK. The last time I was in the nation's capitol was exactly 4 years ago, several months short of the advent of VTK, for the same event - the Presidential Inauguration. Of course, that trip was in a protest organizer capacity (the Turn Your Back On Bush action), and this one was in more of a celebratory capacity (my cartoons and flipping birds at federal agencies notwithstanding). BV has a close friend in Arlington VA, so we carpooled down with a few friends and crashed just over the river for a few days. The hospitality was great and I've been assured that my paranoid certainty that the 8 year old son of the hosts had stolen my toiletry bag was unfounded. I'm still not convinced, but I'm letting it go. This is me, letting it go.
Moving on. We made our way into DC for the Inaugural concert mid-afternoon on Sunday, with a brief stop to greet the new Department of Interior.
Unfortunately, security stopped letting people into the concert area at the beginning of the show so we milled around the Washington Memorial, trying to get a good view of one of the jumbotrons. We made it in time for Stevie Wonder and Obama, which was good enough for me. Apparently, I am too cynical, snobbish, whatever, to enjoy Pete Seeger singing This Land is Your Land like everyone else. Just didn't do it for me. We walked around DC after the show and ran into Obama in a CVS. We discussed our eyeglasses.
The evening was spent feasting on Ethiopian food (everyone) and sneaking peeks at the Steelers' score on BV's blackberry (me).
Monday was pretty chill as we met friends at the Native American Museum for lunch (I had the buffalo steak mid-rare, with brussel sprouts and wild rice) and dinner (roasted chicken with date stuffing on a bed of sauteed chard). We topped it off with some vodka gimlets at VTK reader lc's "Eat My Balls" Inauguration Party, which featured cheese balls, popcorn balls, meatballs, etc. It was a good night for city roaming.
We got up before the crack of dawn to head into the city on Tuesday to meet up with everyone and make our way onto the Mall to watch the Inauguration. That plan fell by the wayside immediately as we realized that we were in trouble after standing still in line for 20 minutes with 1000 other people trying to get into the Subway station in Arlington. We decided to walk the 3 miles to the Washington Monument. It was 10 degrees, but at least we weren't trapped underground for 3 hours.
We crossed the Memorial Bridge into DC and were excited to find that we were at the Lincoln Memorial and that while we weren't likely to meet up with our friends, we had thousands of port-a-potties at our disposal, plenty of time, and our pick of Jumbotrons. In other words, I was unlikely to have the claustrophobic panic attack that I had been predicting. Best. Case. Scenario. I took this photo of what I called the Inaugural Layer Cake (sky, federal building, trees, buses, port-a-potties, people):
The ceremony itself was great, with ubercreep Rick Warren being the only downside. Fortunately, his hypocritic blather was followed immediately by Aretha Franklin's transcendent rendition of My Country Tis Of Thee. I'm not so cynical/snobbish/whatever that I couldn't appreciate this:
And then, of course, there was this:
And Dick Cheney was in a wheelchair. Great day. And traffic was a total non-issue on the ride home. Great trip. And BV's new New Yorker was waiting for us when we got home. Great fun: