My Inauguration Day: Where Were You?

Guess where Parlour was?!?! Right now I’m thawing my toes in my American Apparel “winter” tights, thermal bottoms, wool stockings, two pairs of socks + leg warmers, t-shirt, turtle neck, flannel Polo shirt (gotta stay stylish :0), my pops’ fleece, a full length coat, two hats, one scarf, gloves AND hand warmers! Can you say freezing? It topped out at 31 degrees (thank god for that) w/ a wind chill of 15. I’m a soldier. Here’s a run-down of my Inauguration Day:

430am: mom wakes me up by snatching back the covers. I want to fight her but know there will be a zillion people on the Capitol Mall so I drag arse.

530am: it’s pitch black and my two aunts, uncle, dad, mom and I all walk to the Capitol Mall. it’s a zoo, streets cut off, snaking lines around buildings and about 18 degrees (sans wind chill). no one knows where/when the doors will open.

630am: we’re stuck at the “purple gate” – the entrance for people with tickets. we don’t have tickets…volunteers say that the gates open at 7am for the little people…we pray for favor.

early morning crowd…
inauguration day- early morning crowd

730am: they open the gates- but there’s a bottle neck and we don’t get in. ‘mall is full-kick rocks,’ say the volunteers. my feet are so cold I’m doing the running man in place to keep my pinkies toes alive. people are shoulder to shoulder, kids, elderly, middle aged. it’s brick.

830am: cousin texts with the hook-up for the”blue gate”- 3 extra tickets!!! ugh, there are 6 of us…pops & uncle volunteer to let the women go and walk us over. we realize every other street is blocked off- family argues about when/how to go and meet cousin for 20 mins…

moms: “where are we going?”

steels:”blue gate.”

auntie: “where are we going?”

uncle: “blue gate.”

auntie/moms: “are you sure?”

uncle/steels: “YES!”

930am: moms hits the restroom at McDonald’s. best idea ever. we eat snacks we’ve stuffed into our pockets and thaw out our toes, hands and faces. Proceed to argue…moms and auntie keep asking the same questions (again) and my mother keeps directing folks ( though she’s uninformed). I run from her. the metro police yell at her in the train on the way to meet cousin because she’s arguing and grabbing me to listen to her. police officer to our shenanigans: “I don’t care if it IS your daughter- leave her alone and stop it!” I win.

10am: get on wrong train- (my bad). retrace steps. train stops open and close and re-open in a matter of 30 secs. we, accordingly, hop on and off trains, hope for the best. instead of being frustrated- I decide that everything is hilarious. am punch-drunk, proceed to make jokes non-stop for the rest of the day. family joins in.

1030am: make it off the metro, calling cousin, no answer, text, no answer. nervous. inauguration time is getting close- can’t see any big TV’s from here. where’s cousin- he’s got the tickets…argh!

1045am: get cousin on the phone! he’s got 6 extra tickets!!! YES! moving in crowd toward “blue gate”- “silver gate” folks nearby are trying to have a baby riot- they’re tired of standing in endless line. people packed so tight to enter Capitol Mall, I could literally raise my feet and the crowd would carry me.

11am: lose uncle, pops and auntie in the crowd. am pissed- we got this far and these slow pokes are lagging. have to wait for 20 mins for them to catch up- cousin has been waiting for an hour with our tickets. po’ thang. that’s that love.

1130am: we make it inside the gate right as Dianne Feinstein starts talking!!! WOOOOHOOOO!!! but we can’t see…well.

the infamous port-a-potties
inauguration day port-a-potties

1145am: auntie figures if we squeeze between the pot-a-potties  we get a better view. everyone else has the same idea…port-a-pottie almost topples over.

1230-45pm: He’s sworn in! OMG we have black president!!! WOW! WOW! WOW! I will survive the 15 degree wind chill, frozen toes, endless running nose, mother-daughter fights, lost fathers, crowd mushings, don’t have tickets, might have tickets HAVE TICKETS! and exhausted uncles.

It was all worth it. Like Justin Timberlake said on Obama’s victory via the Oprah show, “We all of a sudden have swagger- America, we’re cool now!”

Yes, I did.

inauguration crowd

The crowd on the Capitol Mall! This isn’t even all of the people…many were stuck all the way out by the Washington Monument…

inauguration day the capital mall

ps. please forgive any typos- am tired as hell…

Last 5 posts by Hillary Crosley