(Please scroll down to the Jane Harmon post to gather the captions for the pix if you're coming here for that information.)
Just returned from Kathleen Paralusz' first Meet & Greet as she pursues one of the three seats available on the Manhattan Beach City Council. Vote for her come March and if you can, catch one of her many upcoming Meet & Greets listed on her website. She is one sharp lady and I love seeing women get involved in this way. She has some excellent endorsements too.
I don't live in MB, but I love politics and find it's a great way to meet intelligent, involved people who care about the community. Time to expand my political horizons above and beyond Hermosa.:) Arentcha happy Hermosa? LOL
Wanted to give you the final wrap up of what it was like in DC after the inauguration event from my perspective. Also to say, it was beyond amazing to be part of history. I really am grateful to have been selected to participate and am so glad I got to experience the Obamania up close and personal.
Obama is such a dynamic man. I totally understood why so many people followed and promoted him. I wish him all the success in the world for his sake and our country's sake. God bless us one and all. Now back to the account of the day.
I ducked out while the poet was speaking and the gay bishop was going to pray because I figured it was going to be crazy once the inauguration ended and I wasn't wrong. We had to exit the way we had come in and people were jumping the fence and ledges to get out of the crowd. One guy was nice and agreed to catch me as I joined the rest in jumping over a wall too.
We were all heading in all kinds of directions hoping to find a metro that would take us out of the crowds. There were no taxi's and none of the security seemed to know anything. I heard later that there were more military in DC than in Afghanistan that day alone!
I also heard that the reason there was no taxi service was for security purposes. It didn't make sense at the time, but it made sense later. Apparently that's why the metro system was a total mess too.
One guy I met was complaining that DC hadn't planned for this event well enough because all the metros were such a mess comparing to the ease of the New York City subway system. I had nothing to compare to since LA is the least non-car friendly city around and could just nod and smile.
When I left the area I made the decision to walk along one of the streets that I thought would lead me back to Chinatown because I had my bearings from there, but made the mistake of walking in the total opposite direction by accident.
I wasn't the only one aimlessly wandering around. One lady described the scene as something out of a horror film. I kept feeling like it was the end times where a bag of gold could buy a piece of bread from that 70's rapture film because everyone just seemed so disoriented and bewildered.
I had run out of memory on my camera because I took so many videos (which I still haven't figured out the best way to upload.) As a result, I have no pictures to share with you. Just know it was really amazing that everywhere you looked there were just throngs and throngs of people walking, waiting for the buses lined up, no cars driving anywhere, just crowds of people lined up for the metro.
The only good thing about walking the way I traveled is that I made it to the outskirts of town and to one of the few functioning metro stations. By this time I was absolutely exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster of the day's events, standing for hours in the cold, and total lack of sleep. I was also alone because Jeannette didn't get my calls till too late to connect till later.
I had wandered into a housing development neighborhood and didn't think I'd ever find a place to eat when I found a woman passing out a flyer for a cafe, or what she called a cafe. It was actually the basement of a church that had decided to serve lunch for a reasonable price to everyone who came through which was really nice.
They normally served the homeless and the service was extremely slow, but soul food never tasted so good. I had home-made pulled pork sandwich, home-made cole slaw and fries. YUMMY. It was so nice to use a real restroom vs. a porta pottie, sit down and relax. There were all types of people - all ages, all races, it was really pleasant. I felt like this is what America is all about. People coming together to share a wonderful event that the whole world celebrated with us.
After eating I decided to continue trying to figure out my way home and joined the throngs heading towards the only metro in the area. Since I had decided to skip out that night and head to the airport then to make sure I caught my 7am flight the next day, I stopped in the local Safeway to pick up some food and water.
I've never experienced such a crowded grocery store in my life. There was a huge line to use the restroom which lined one wall. There were also groups of people sitting on the floor everywhere doing what? I don't know. There were many others sitting on the ledges of the refrigerated food sections everywhere you turned.
Food packages were ripped open and just lying around like people had been snacking indiscriminately. The lines were long and the manager kept shouting "Please be patient. Please have your money ready to pay to help the lines move."
It really felt like looting could begin any minute - it was extremely unsettling. I was one of few white people in this part of town which also made me want to get out there before dark and before any real craziness began. Sorry, but that was my true feelings at the time.
(I'm watching the SAG Awards and just have to say I absolutely adore Meryl Streep - she always gives the best acceptance speech.)
When I left there was a HUGE line of people waiting to enter the Metro that was wide and deep and wrapped way around the block. I took one look at the line and decided right then there was no way I was going to go to the back of the line which was really awful of me, but I'm sorry, that's just what I felt then.
I just wanted to get home and walked up to the front of the line and cut in with a few other people bold enough to lead the way. People were yelling at us to get to the end of the line because they'd been standing still for what was probably hours and the line had just begun moving, but I didn't care.
Self-preservation was very high at that moment of time. I'd been polite and patient all day long and had finally reached my final straw. I just wanted the hell out of dodge. It was still wall-to-wall people entering the terminal and on the actual train.
One guy was very gentlemanly and gave up his seat for me to sit. I ended up sitting next to a woman wearing a full length fur coat from Mississippi who was very nice.That was what was so cool about that day. You met people from all over the United States and we were all united in one moment. It was so special you really had to be there to know what I'm talking about. Maybe there was something to the Obamania after all.:)
Fortunately, I only had five stops to go before reaching my stop. My friend Jeannette, who didn't make any of the stops to eat or shop I had made along the way, ironically enough arrived at our area right about the same time as me. She had gotten caught in the crush of people trying to get out of Downtown and was literally exhausted.
We popped into our local cafe to allow her to eat since she hadn't eaten all day. When she was finished we jammed home and both quickly packed and were out the house in less than an hour. She to MD and me to the airport. The bus transport was so nice and gave us free passage in honor of the day. The bus riders were buzzing all the way to the airport, but I just sat quietly exhausted.
Upon arrival I checked in hoping I could go standby, but my ticket didn't allow it. I ended up hanging out in one of the bar/restaurants watching the news with one of the other guys who had to wait. After they closed, we moved downstairs to a coffee spot and found another group of people waiting on flights too.
That's when the fun began because we all began sharing stories from our inaugural experiences. If you want to read some of their stories, go to my twitter page because I uploaded them there as soon as I heard them - www.twitter.com/thejoywriter.
We had a great time! Two hours passed quickly since we were watching the ball coverage and chatting. As soon as it hit midnight I left to go through security. I was fortunate to meet a nice airport guy who persuaded me to move from where I had camped out to the actual terminal and gate where I was to leave.
The airport was completely empty and it was so nice and warm I instantly fell asleep. I woke up hours later to people milling around and soon after got on my flight. I was still so exhausted I slept all the way home. As soon as my seat mates left to go use the restroom, I was instantly back asleep.
When I got off the plane I couldn't wait to strip off my shoes and socks because my feet were aching. No wonder, since my ankles and feet were swollen almost three times their normal size. I hadn't experienced that since I was pregnant nine years ago!
I was so exhausted it took me days to finally feel like myself and I kept napping every day since arriving home. I finally feel back to normal. And that ends my inaugural trip to DC for the historic Obama ordination, oh I mean presidency.:)
Have a good one. Thanks for your interest. Now the real work begins for everyone!
May God Bless America and God bless you!