1/20/09 Inauguration Day
The alarm on my cellphone went off at 3:25 a.m. Luckily for this techno-peasant, there was a 12 year old at the house I was staying at in Silver Spring, MD who was able to set the alarm for me, otherwise I’d have had to stay up all night to make sure I got to the Glenmont Metro by 4:15 to assure myself of parking. Glenmont is the last stop on the Red Line and that was good news since it meant I’d probably get a parking spot and a seat. At 4 in the morning if you can’t have a warm bed and a roaring fire, a parking spot and a seat on the train are a close second. Why 4 in the morning? The media said that all Metro parking lots would be filled by 5:30, the latest. I wasn’t taking any chances. I’d driven the almost 500 miles up from Asheville, NC the day before and I wasn’t about to be driving around a strange city in the pre-dawn looking for parking. So 3:25 it was. Had a few sips of water, 3 mini-donuts left from the trip up and a handful of pumpkin seeds. Went to the bathroom any number of times. Felt like a child – nothing was happening. But I wasn’t leaving until something did. I was going to be standing at the National Mall with more than a million others. In the cold. The freezing cold. It was 11 degrees at 3:25 a.m. Not much different at 4. There might’ve been 6 thousand portable toilets on the Mall but there was no way I was going to be using any of them. I’ve seen Trainspotting. The Worst Toilet in Scotland. I figured any Andy Gump in DC on Tuesday had to be that bad. Or worse. So, yeah, I was going to be cold. I was going to be hungry. And it was going to be great.