So where were we...oohh, yes, we are waking up at 5:00am on a shivery Tuesday morning so that we can meet our friends at the Caribou Coffee on 14th to head to the Swearing In of President Elect Barack Obama! Rise and Shine, people, it's a whole new nation!
This was the longest, most miserable, most exciting day ever. No lie.
Somehow a group of about 8 of us managed to make it down to the mall with our coveted tickets for the swearing in ceremony. The 1.8 million on the mall? That was general admission. We had been granted these (this is of course what we thought during our pleasant walk) magical tickets to view history. Then we hit 1st Street. Or maybe it was D. I don't
know. What I do know is that I was crammed into an intersection with about 3,000 of my new best friends, who also had no idea what was going on. Luckily we still had caffeine and energy to make this fun, and Karl, who kept the crowd entertained. Homeland security tried to get through, carrying...Jesse Jackson - but he just got out and walked.
Somehow we made it to 1st and Constitution, in front of my old office building (W00t, NALC) where we stood for another few hours. This meant more standing around staring at large gated off areas where we thought we needed to be. It was around 9am now, I think, and the crowd was getting a bit cranky. This kept up for a while, and then it was all sort of a horrible, scary blur, involving pushing and crowding, and a few people losing it. I'm claustrophobic, so this is my own version of hell...I could see the gate, and was being smooshed by tons of people, and I thought I was going to miss it, and oh god, I'm getting a panic attack again thinking about it...and oh! Pushed through security! It was one of the scariest moments of my life. That there wasn't a riot is really a testament to the people standing in these crowds, and not to the planning of the event. It could have been worse - I didn't end up in the Purple Tunnel of Doom.
Anyway, now it's about 11:25am, and we get to Pennsylvania Ave in time to see:
Wow. I've lived in DC for 6 years, and have seen the motorcade a million times, but for some reason this was just cool. Also, the car is bad ass.
The swearing-in ceremony was really exciting. People went crazy once Biden was sworn in (Bush-Biden ticket?). People went even more crazy after Barack Obama was sworn in. I have no idea if the news crews caught the booing when Bush was up there, but it was intense. I actually felt bad for him. I did not, however feel bad for Reverend Rick Warren, and I was one of many who silently protested his speaking role by turning around.
After this, we hit up a lovely brunch near the mall hosted by Groom's friends. We walked home, because I was afraid to be in a tunnel or the metro system. (To be fair, it's a week later, and I still flinch when people get too close to me).
Groom and I had to hurry home, despite my desperate urge for a nap, because we were hosting pre-prom! Seriously, how often do you get to see all of your friends dolled up in black tie! After snackies and my champagne punch, we headed over to the President's Youth Ball.
Kid Rock, Kanye West, and Fall Out Boy performed - in the room next to ours. We arrived a bit
too late for the main room, but we had a great time in the "overflow." The bummer was watching President and First Lady Obama dance to "At Last" on a big screen.
Please remember, we all had Monday and Tuesday off. I didn't take Wednesday off, so despite any logic, and the fact that we'd all been up and active since 5am, we still found time to hit our favorite bar - just a little more dressed up than usual.
However, our story does not end here. Wednesday was a full day at the office! Seriously, no idea how any of us managed. My boss thoughtfully let me leave a bit early, because Wednesday night, beginning (inexplicably) at 5pm was the Obama for America Staff Ball (I know a guy)! This required some careful planning prior to a full day at the office (cocktail dress, shoes, clutch, check. Makeup, hair stuff, check. Work items in big work bag? Good to go. For those of you who wonder why DC women carry enormous bags, its because we have a party in our purse - literally). This was by far my favorite party of the week. The amazing Arcade Fire started out the evening. (ps I seriously considered playing their music on this post, but decided to spare you if you are in your office. Go to iTunes and buy their stuff. I mean it). Kal Penn introduced the campaign manager. Then the Bidens came out - I still heart Joe, I can't help it. Next up was Mr. President Awesome and his wife. He gave a wonderful, inspirational speech...and believe me, most of us were so exhausted at this point, that we only wanted motivation to not take off our heels and call it quits. This calls for a photo montage:
NOTE: Groom does in fact exist. He is not married - like Big Poppa, or a celebrity (outside of our little world, anyway). He just doesn't want to be a public figure just yet.