Thursday, January 22, 2009

FREEZING in History vol. 44: Inauguration Vacation (and so much more)!!!

It had been quite the 3 week jaunt. First up, the American Bus Association Marketplace, held this year in Charlotte, NC. A full week of schmoozing, boozing, bad luncheon eating, business card swapping, small talk with big people from all over America & Canada, and the slow but sad realization that Charlotte, although pretty and pleasant, is as dull as its former cotton fields turned into financial skyscrapers. Although Gideon and I did come across the World's Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair, in Thomasville, NC.
That, and we took a few spins around the NASCAR racetrack.
Nextup, Gid goes to Miami and Matt makes a lovely little visit to old college friends in Athens, GA. Indie rock noise and beer before noon, Golden Corral Buffets and lots and lots of coffee. Scott, small-time author and music-romantic drove me around Athens on a personalized tour of the old stomping grounds of Elephant 6. E6 was a legendary lo-fi recording collective who's members made the greatest indie-pop album of all time, Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea among other albums by other bands including Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control and Of Montreal. Drove like a maniac across South Carolina, stopping to visit the World's Largest Fire Hydrant;
as well as check out fragments of an Atom Bomb that was accidentally dropped on Mars Bluff, SC in 1932.
Picked up the girlfriend in Wilmington, NC and headed to the Outer Banks to meet her entire family as well as consume outrageous amounts of oysters at Aunt Susan & Uncle Richard's yearly OYSTER FEST!! Everything good was here: hand-built stove, five bushels of the aphrodisiac, chowder, beer, wine, salad, more food, good vibes, great music and homegrown people. Our Brooklyn 'tude went great with the gf's fam and so on so forth. We'll be back for more oysters. Until then, these pictures will have to do.
However all these personal and familial experiences can't compete with the events in our Nation's Capital on January 20th, every four years (give or take). After the oysters (and after a pitstop for BBQ with the GF's Dadster in northern NC) we went to DC for the crowning of President Obama. With our HQ in McLean, VA - 6 miles from the Capital; a sturdy group of 5, prepared for everything including the bone-shivering chills we told the Inauguration to bring it on; crack a dawn; with our friend Pokemon; bring it on!
Wokeup 3:30am on the 20th. Layered up like it was Himalaya-stompin time. Piled into the minivan (muchas gracias Mama Goldblatt, la princessa de McLean y mi corazon!) and jumped out on the side of the highway, west of the Potomac and the Great Mall.Walked a mile over the bridge and towards the Lincoln memorial, then past it, past the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Memorial, onto the Mall itself.
Closer and closer to the Capital building. Close enough to see the thing, but far enough away to need the jumbotron positioned right over our patriotic heads. And we waited.
And waited. And shivered. And puppy-piled. And used up all our hand- and foot-warmers. And shuddered. And watched the sun rise. And chillied.
And watched the concert from the day before. And tried to think about anything other than the toes-numbing, nose-running, skin-burning, finger-churning, soul-stabbing cold. And finally, finally, the party started. And the energy rose. The flags waves, the voices shouted out, the chants tumbled in their polysyllabic glory OH- BAM- AH! OH- BAM- AH! We saw Hillary, we cheered a bunch. There was W, and we politely kept out bad-ass mouths shut. But nothing compared with the man of the hour, our confidant and commander, our superhero and superstar, Mr. Personality himself, the 44th Prez of the U. S. of A. We holla'd for the world to hear, which they promptly did, and holla'd right back. It was glory itself. You shoulda been there. If you were, good job. If not, our pictures are here.
We wont recount the hellhole of trying to escape the streets of DC, of taking 3 hours to walk 2 miles because of the seething mass of humanity all trying to do the same thing, namely, get the hell outta there. We didn't take any pictures of the aftermath because we were trying to forget it even as it was happening. Lets all just remember the moment of magic: that hand on Lincoln's bible, that calm and steadfast demeanor, that hopeful upward glance towards a brighter future. And lets hope he gets to work quickly.

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