Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Inaugural Season is Once Again at our Throats


For those of you lucky enough to not live in DC during Inauguration season, let me give you what the Brits call "a fragrant nosegay" of what we are currently enduring.

*Delays in both directions on the metro, leading to platforms so packed that you can't stand on them and have to leave the station and go take a cab home.

*Union Station decked out for one of the inaugural balls, which is lovely, but not a cab in sight due to the metro difficulties and security. The taxi line was about 30 minutes long...and today's high was 29 degrees. I'll leave you with the mental picture of that agony.

*Today was the practice parade, so Constitution Ave, Pennsylvania Ave all the way to the Capitol, and 15th Street were closed from 7:30am till 1pm. At least it didn't mess with the AM rush hour...oh, whoops. Guess it did! It also meant no parking.

*With all of the street closings for the inaugural, most of the downtown businesses will stay closed.

I don't mean to be a grump about the whole thing...but I just need to be a grump. I had errands to run tonight that I had to cancel because the metro was delayed. So I traveled in the other direction to make it home, and am now glad that I didn't go back out of the station and try to find a cab since there seem to be NONE in the entire district.

The point of this entire rant, I suppose, is that DC denizens go with the flow on these things. We are used to being held up in traffic if a motorcade goes by; I often had to stay at work for an extra hour or two because my office was directly across the street from a venue that held many presidential-level events, and we were not allowed to leave the building until security said we could; the whole Clinton-Haircut-on Air Force One brouhaha from ten years ago? DC people would not have batted an eye. We live with it--and perhaps secretly like it, if we're honest.

But what makes this feel different is that this is a SECOND inaugural. It's kind of like having your second wedding four years after your first and going all out like you did the first time, registering, having showers, getting a designer dress. It's a bit unseemly, isn't it? Shouldn't the second be a bit more sedate or presidential like those of other administrations? Especially in time of war? Lest anyone think this is partisan, even moderate Republicans (you know, the blue collar workers who inexplicably voted for GWB and his non-worker-friendly policies) are quoted in the Post as feeling a bit awkward about the lavishness of this party.

Although maybe my real point is this: I love when people visit DC as tourists. I just hate it when it turns into Texas North.

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