Friday, January 23, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Mall

You've seen, on television and in the paper and everywhere online, the crowds that packed the National Mall, waiting for Barack Obama to be sworn in as the 44nd President. None of those people drove to the Mall. A few were dropped off by limo or taxi. Many of them walked. But many more arrived by Metro, Washington D.C.'s subway system.

My friend Sharon and I took the Metro in from her home in Bethesda, MD. Because her stop is almost at the end of the line, the cars were relatively empty when we boarded. But by the time we transferred to the correct line, the trains were full, and when we finally reached our station, the cars were packed so tightly that you didn't actually need to put your feet on the ground.

It took us 40 minutes to get from Bethesda to the L'Enfant station. It took another hour to get from the train door to the street:

The funny part? No one was angry. Some were afraid that they might miss everything. Some were pushing, but only because they were being pushed and had no choice. But everyone apologized for pushing and made sure no one pushed or knocked over the little kids. But no one was angry about being stuck underground for so long with no idea when we were going to be set free. We just laughed and chanted "Let my people go" and "Yes We Did" when we finally moved toward the gates.

Of course there were a few other, less polite, chants:


Pranayama mama said...

That is great! Na na na na hey hey hey goodbye indeed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you!. What was not caught on main stream media was what you shared. It brings tears to my eyes that you were there, that you saw it and have shared it. And yes, I agree with the chant. I am amazed at the grace and patience of all who were there that day, especially YOU!!! We kept the kids home to watch, then buzzed on with our day.

Linda Ziskind, Principal said...

How completely awesome that you were there. I loved your description of feeling incandescently happy. That captures the day precisely. I think, aside from the moment I pulled the lever on the voting machine for Obama, inauguration day was my proudest moment as an American. Being there is something you can be proud of forever.

Melanie K said...

It's definitely not something to be forgotten--I hope it's one of the things I'll hold on to when I'm old and shuffling around trying to remember where I left the house.

And I definitely left the Mall with far fewer tissues than I had when I arrived :)