Thursday, January 22, 2009

It is all over, it has just begun!

At approximately 12:55 pm on Tuesday, January 20th a man with a long shadow, a low IQ and little understanding for humanity boarded a helicopter and left the city of Washington DC.

Approximately 55 minutes before said event, Barack Obama was inaugurated President of the United States of America.

It was an honor to be standing in Washington DC in the midst of a Twenty-One Gun Salute and the greatest Sea Change this country has seen in a long time.

A bunch of friends and I went down with some Purple Level tickets which granted us access to The Capitol. I, like a fool, went down with the notion that we would gain civil and comfortable entry to the event. My understanding of the chaos about to ensue was mildly deluded. It was really only with tenacity, ingenuity, and the conjuring of my Dead Grandmother that me made it.

At 8:30 AM we were packed like sardines on First street and D. At first, I was patient. Because that's my new thing. Patience.

But, as time began to pass, I started to remember that this was not how I did business, and that once again, not taking action was for suckers.

We were standing in the wrong place for Success to materialize. I knew it. This feeling became more and more acute as I started to realize that no one who I have ever respected or admired would still be standing, like a Fool, in a milling and crushed crowd. My ancestors, particularly my Grandmother, would find the way in.

This last thought was interrupted by a commotion. There seemed to be strange and excited movement, a fervor in the crowd. Rumors began to spread back the two or three rows to us.

It was the Honorable Jesse Jackson. Jesse Jackson was only a few people ahead of us, stuck with a Purple Ticket on First and D. People were calling his name and snapping pictures of the back of his head.

Just after the revelation of Jesse Jackson a fireman called down, from a rickety scaffolding at the edge of the sidewalk, for everyone to clear out of the way and that there was a medical emergency. Ambulances began to drive down the street attempting, to part the crowd. At this moment there was a lot more crushing. The crowd bitterly laughed but tried to move to the side. A few people hopped on to the back of the ambulance looking for a way out of the madness.

It was also at this moment that we grabbed our chance. We allowed the ambulance to pass through, pushing us to the sides of the street and onto the side walk, but the second it passed and we were not in anyone's way, I grabbed my friends OUT of the line we had been standing in for what was then nearing two hours and told them that they had to trust me.

Grudgingly they followed me, first doubting, then acquiescing with small but kindled hope. I didn't blame them. I couldn't be sure I was right either, but we had to try something. We only had an hour to go.

Minutes later we were in the right place. A small crowd had found their way to the proper entrance off Louisiana and we were, by an act of grace, among them. The crowd in our new spot were singing good bye songs for George Bush and hello songs for President Obama. They were chanting in the new and letting out the old.

There were many, many ticket holders due to confusion and unbelievable disorganization that were left out in the cold. (It it so true that no one in Washington was properly prepared for this event or influx of people.) At one point, after passing through security five minutes before the Inauguration officially began , I looked back at the crowd we had left behind pushed up against the entry gate. As we hurried along to our spots in front of the Capitol I asked one of my friends what was going to happen to them.

He looked at me and said, "Those are the doomed, Melissa, we have no choice but to keep moving." He added, "I feel like that experience represents the last eight years. Now we are free."

I took one last look behind me to the thousands and thousands of people who were not getting through the gate. I felt so grateful.

And then the next thing I knew Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States of America and was ten times more grateful.

Just before that Helicopter took off containing George Bush, just after Obama delivered his inauguration speech, a raucous and determined wind blew through the grounds near the Capitol. It seemed to come from out of nowhere. Up until that moment the air had been cold, but still.

I shivered and muttered something out loud about it. Suddenly a lady was standing next to me with her young daughter.

"It's the breath of fresh air. The new wind," she explained. "Something had to happen for the change. We got this wind today. There will be other things tomorrow"

And a change had done come.