Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From Washington: Monday

I knew when I ran into -- who else? -- Lyle Lovett at Dulles airport
Sunday night that it would be a good trip to Washington. If Lyle can
marry country, gospel, and jazz, surely the nation can come together
for one day to celebrate a historic new beginning in its leadership.

And come together we have. At the Marriott next to my friend's
apartment near the Zoo yesterday, I passed part of a cohort of 5,000
university students in town for the national Inaugural Convention.
They were waiting for charter buses to take them downtown.

When I got downtown via Metro, I realized a bus would be the last way
I'd want to try to get around. Lines to get in the House Office
Buildings, which house the Representatives' personal offices, were
wrapped around the block. Just to get in the Rayburn Building, where
I was picking up inauguration tickets, the line was over quarter-mile
long and three abreast. It took two hours of standing in the cold
just to get in the building.

Once in the building, the scene was slightly chaotic. Not everyone
had arranged tickets through a Member of Congress, so folks were
storming the halls looking for any extras. Extras were hard to come
by, though. I got really lucky that Congressman Radanovich had a last
minute cancellation or two, freeing up a ticket for me.

Elliott B.

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