I went to the Mall on Monday, so I am better or worse than you
Like so many things, this week’s presidential inauguration divided Washingtonians into at least two distinct camps. There are the trendsetters who attended Inauguration 2009, back when it was, like, still cool to see Barrack Obama being sworn in and wouldn’t deign to venture onto the cold, touron-crowded National Mall this year. And there are the savvy survivors who spent the day wandering the Mall in the cold with the cranky out of towners and now, like, deserve medals, because they’re hardier than those pansies who stayed home and watched from their couches. If I had to classify us, I would say that Jason and I fall into both camps, which leaves little to tell you except that we are obviously better than all of you. Or worse. I don’t really know how we’re counting. We’re still not nearly as cool as this guy, who wrote a complainatory column about the scarring experience, because its apparently really tough to have seated tickets to a presidential inauguration if you have to encounter the plebeians from Minnesota.
Anyway, it’s once again news that crowds of people actually come to big and important events on the Mall and that we have to shut down Metro stations or ride the train with other people. If only we lived in New York, Boston, or San Francisco, where the subways are clean and ample and the people few and far between. If only we were smart enough to know that we wouldn’t be the only ones on the Mall this year . . . or were smart enough to kick off the Minnesotans. What do they think this is, anyway, a national event? Why are they even here?
I won’t lie, there are moments in large crowd settings that make me almost lose faith in humanity, but there are also moments that make me feel privileged to be part of such a huge celebration. I’m not normally a flag waver, but we got free flags on Monday (prob the highlight of Jason’s day, even though they didn’t appear to be from CraigsListFree. We also got free Pepsi, so it’s a toss-up), and like many of you I heard lots of things on that historic day that were worth waving it at. And that is a special thing that leaves warm fuzzies in place of the human cattle memories.
Other than the ceremony itself, one of my favorite parts of inauguration is playing a new game called “Where on the Mall is Anderson Cooper?” We were lucky to spot the rare Silver Fox in 2009:
It was a good day. It also snowed today, because presidential inauguration years always bring snow (see also: Snowmaggedon 2010, the year after the last Mall Day). I wish other years brought snow, too, but I’ll take what I can get. And it was a great week in terms of school seminars, making connections, learning cool things, and actually getting work done. What can I say? Some weeks are just awesome.