Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Hello, Goodbye

OK, so, it's been a while.

I've been trying to compute that whole "inauguration" thing. As you know, I was twittering, in a manner that was somehow both unabashed and ashamed. Obviously, one-liners can't really sum up the experience. Except for the time I ran from the Western States ball. There really was no other way to express that feeling other than "Abort! Abort!"

If someone ever offers you the opprotunity to run (run) around in DC in the middle of January in high heels and the equivalent of a nightgown, I suggest you politely turn them down. You will underestimate how hard it is to throw yourself over a stone blockade. I felt a bit like Gavroche, but less dead and less French.

Anyway, the ceremony itself was very emotional, and I won't try to describe to you what that was like, because I will fail. I will say that I cried a whole lot, and I am flabbergasted that anyone would describe President Obama's speech as dour or somehow unimpressive in comparison with previous speeches.

I will, however, attempt to show you what it was like after the ceremony. A couple of night ago, I had a dream I was in a press corps waiting to interview Valerie Jarret .

Never underestimate my dorkiness.

Anyway, in the dream, there was some sort of fire nearby, and everyone was told to evacuate. Rather than a panicked free-for-all, the whole crowd quietly made its way to safety, and along the way hugged, shook hands, and occasionally told total strangers, "I'm so glad I got to share this moment with you!"

That is exactly, EXACTLY, what it was like leaving the Mall. Minus the fire, of course. People were laughing, crying and pausing along the way to hug and shake hands. It was like that moment in a church service, the only one I really like, where strangers turn to each other and wish, "Peace be with you."

And it was beautiful.

But I have to say, in another vein of beauty, was the moment when we were all paused as a car was let through the path. A huge roar came up from the crowd, and everyone turned and craned their heads to look up: and there was Marine One, taking that man away. Forever.

If people were crying before, the immediate three hundred people around me started sobbing in full-out cathartic breakdown. Everyone waved goodbye to him, and then, getting louder and louder, the mass of people started singing.