INAUGURATION FROM HELL: $5 foot longs and gravel
Trip Start Jan 15, 2009
37Trip End May 2009
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Where I stayed
In front of the capitol building/Rachels' room
We rolled out of bed and went to an overpriced salad bar. THE END. JOOSSTTT KIDDING
We mazed our way through thousands of people towards the Smithsonian, where we waited in line because the building had reached capacity(8500 peeps) and FINALLY we got inside... sneaking in mango juice in on the way. It only took about 5 minutes before we lost eachother because of all the excitement.
Heres a nice little image for you:
I(Caitlin) see B-Frank taking pics with little children so I naturally needed to get in on that action. I walk over and do my usual pose(Captain Morgan status) and he backs away from me. I was really offended and was all like "You don't want to take a picture with me?" and he's like "Only if you pose like a lady" and then I asked him what that entails, and he made me link his arm. He then told me I was a beautiful young lady and asked where I was from, when I told him Massachusetts he was like "MASSACUSETTS?! THAT'S WHERE THE FIRE COMES FROM!!!!" It was DEFF a defining moment in my life.....Oh yah while all this was going on Jen and Sophie were getting galactic in the simulator...apparently it wasn't worth their money..We rendezvous -ed in the family bathroom...
After we left the museum we thought it would be a great idea to go camp out and wait for the inauguration EXTRA early. So we went to a discount food store and bought cheetos, carrots and hidden valley,gensoy bars, two gallons of water, fruit punch, and ditto(generic sprite).We went back to Rachel's room to prepare even further.... We got sleeping bags, blankets, activities, extra layers, and about 30 pairs of extra socks....we got there at about 9:30 and decided to let the festivities begin. We were so close to the State building...SO CLOSE...little did we know that the area we were in was "reseved" for ticketed people...In the mean time before we got the memo we scoped out the scene...there were a few brave people along with ourselves, that including a hippy man giving away tree hearts...Sophie believed that this man was a "angel in the outfeild"...he disapearred right after gving us a heart....
AND NOW I TAKE OVER (SOPHIA): sorry for the delay
So a park ranger approached us on a golf cart/ SUV truck thing and told us that we hadddd to move with alllll of our stuff and could obviously detect the desperation and disappointment in our eyes and out of the kindness of his heart, and at the stake of his sternly upheld reputation as a park ranger in D.C., he decided to give all of us, and ALL of our camping necessities a ride to the closest park bench within reason of the fact that we didn't have tickets.
Once we had gotten all sorts of cozied into our park bench/ metal gate territory between rows of porta-potties and a giant Mack truck with a screen, using innumerable layers of socks and spandex on all parts of our bodies, people started flocking to us. Some asked permission, some tried to discreetly capture us in action, but the message was clear: we were monumentally more entertaining and unavoidable than anything those people had or would see that entire week.
So after several more photos, videos and interviews, Caitlin and Jen decided that it was absolutely imperative that Caitlin charge her camera immediately. While I tried to persuade them to simply ask the man operating the Mack truck, they took it upon themselves to seize the opportunity for adventure and were not heard from for about 2 more hours (apparently they went to Starbucks).
In the meantime we discovered some neighbors had moved in, and instead of competing for ground, we decided to team up with them to create a plan for a makeshift fort. At this same time we noticed a group of college students building some po-dunk castle just feet away using these white cardboard boxes that were apparently free. I ran over to the goods and managed to only grab 2 boxes before I was informed that the motherload of boxes was sitting just across the park. I grabbed Alise (A friend who was naive enough to meet us for this adventure) by the hand and lurched across the park frantically in search of anything white and cardboard. While others had discovered a pile of cardboard next to the porta-potties, we delved deeper into the mission and uncovered an entire container of cardboard-shelter-bliss. As we heaved and hoed at the boxes, trying with all of our might to free our new homes from the plastic that bound them, a spotlight suddenly blinded us and stopped us in our tracks. As I tried to wedge myself between the boxes to hide, Alise grabbed my arm and started dragging me away from the possibility of arrest. When we had finally retreated back to our bench, I begged Alise to try just one more time as I watched dozens of others fleeing with arms full of potential shelter. We sprinted to the porta-potties and took cover, waiting for the police to back off, and when they did we succeeded with gusto as we expertly extracted the boxes and ran through the field with this cardboard bliss falling all over our heads. Back again at the safety of Rachel, our neighors (a 50 year old latin couple) and our supplies, we began constructing what I would consider along the lines of a bomb shelter.
With cardboard surrounding us on all sides but the roof (as a camera-man filmed and questioned us) we believed we could sleep in peace and confidence (especially after all of the time and physical strain required) that we had the best, safest and most refined of all D.C. gravel camping enclaves, until the police ordered us to return the cardboard within five minutes or face the wrath of the law. With haste we obliged, and returned defenseless and heartbroken. After deciding we no longer had the spirit or motivation to complete such innovative activities as "sleeping bag races" and "mismatched shoe relays", as we had planned earlier, we resorted to feeding eachother cheetos, sleeping bag to sleeping bag as we lay in fetal position, cold and vulnerable and awaiting the return of Caitlin and Jen.
I woke with a start, something, no someone, was stepping on my shoulder and my mouth gritted with the taste of old cheetos and ungodly amounts of gravel. I could feel Alise shaking me and hear Rachel yelling for me to get up, but all I could see was a sea of feet and clouds of dust. When I finally understood that we were being trampeled (Jen woke to her face being stepped on, and Caitlin her hand) I got up in a hurry and tried my best to collect all that I could and get out. Lost from the group and without shoes (they were kicked away in the scuffle), I wandered aimlessly through the masses of anxious and aggressive supporters, trying to understand where we went wrong. And that is when I came to the shocking realization that not only had the police seized our only form of protection, but they had also moved the gate so crucially protecting our heads (and my shoes) without waking or warning us of the thousands of people that were soon to be ruthlessly stomping on our pride and sleeping bags. Still disoriented I tried my best to remove myself from the chaos and attempted time and time again to exit the mall, only to be turned away, led somewhere else or told that I would have to wait until 7:00 a.m. When I had reached 14th and Columbus (Columbia?) and it was 6:40 (after about 45 minutes of walking, again shoeless) I decided I might as well get in line and wait. Shaking from the cold, crying from the shock and the only caucasion girl in a sea of angry locals, I stood in line, fingering the pepperspray in my pocket in case of emergency. As time went by people around me started getting more angry and aggressive as time passed from 7:00 a.m. to 7:45 and we had still not moved (obviously I had my choice words to the dozens of police surrounding us who refused to give us any information as to why we had still not moved an inch). At one especially emotional moment the police tried to call an ambulance because they thought that I was hypothermic because of the way I was acting (they had no idea what we had been through hours before and all I wanted to do was sleep) and finally, after what seemed like days, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to need you all to move on now to 18th and Columbus (Constitution?)" and then....... UPROAR.
As the police tried to shuffle the crowd, while people from other streets flooded in confused as well, I crumbled and eventually got on top of a giant planter, and sobbed as I tried time and time again to get through to Rachel while a near riot erupted around me. When the signals finally had cleared enough, Rachel frantically told me not to move anywhere and she was trying her best to get to me. The police continued to push. Rachel continued to try to find me. The police approached me. Rachel was one minute away. They told me asked me to move. I refused. They got the Chief of police who informed me that if I did not move he would arrest me. I informed him that I was waiting for a friend and he had no grounds on which to arrest me. Just as he was about to start explaining the process in which he would arrest me (which at this point was looking pretty good considering my current situation) I heard Rachel yelling. I jumped (or toppled) off of the planter and tried my best to weave my way through the crowd away from the police and praying that I wasn't going to faint.
Several hours later we sat in Rachels dorm. All reunited at last. Unable to taste any food, going through cold sweats and mostly numb from the neck down, I recovered. At first on Rachels closet floor attempting sleep, and then in bed, sipping soup and watching the Inauguration on T.V.
Rachels roommates friend came over to dress for the ball and Caitlin, Rachel and Sophie Willey did make it to the Inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial, but thats my side of the story. My sad, sad version of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. And although it was terrible at the time, I would do it again anytime to be that close to witnessing the history that is BARRRACKKK!