Boring day today; not much going on. We slept in until noon and I have been frantically scribbling ever since – at the kitchen table, in the car on the way to see my mother in Loudon County (she will be on the parade route tomorrow, shaking Obama’s hand, and is now entirely insufferable). I keep getting emails, notes and messages from people: “I can’t wait to see what you’re writing about the inaugural!” Honey – neither can I.
This event has led to another mini crisis of faith on my part. Writing is a compulsion, much like washing all the dishes or locking the doors or making sure the toilet seat is down before I go to sleep at night. It’s not optional, and if I try to skip it it will weigh upon me. I’m excited and grateful that my scratchings are anything that anyone else would want to read, but the fact that I am here witnessing history makes me, in some ways, responsible for imparting an experience to people who cannot be here and see it, touch it, taste it for themselves. It’s an honor and a weight.
I worry that I’m not good enough. I worry that my experience is overly narrow and small, inadequate to the force of expectation and insufficient to convey the subtle power coursing through this city in its very bones. I worry that I’m not attentive enough, or not writing enough, or writing too much, or otherwise letting the particular robust, chilly beauty of this time slip away into my memory and be forever lost.
Did I tell you how there are signs agitating for statehood for the District of Columbia on every streetcorner, red and white, DC muscling in to stand up for its rights with a sense of “at last, at last, at last it is our time?”
And did I tell you how they held the train at Foggy Bottom so that all the passengers would be able to board after the concert, and how even though the car was crowded no one pushed, no one got upset, we all smiled at each other like idiots, so lucky to be alive?
Did I tell you about the first glimpse of a Jumbotron, or the blockades along the parade route, and how funny it was to see Keith Olbermann on television trying to be his usual somber self, full of gravitas and self-righteous anger, with people outside and over his right shoulder dancing with glee and waving their arms in the street? And how I wanted to jump through the screen and catch up his hands, singing “People of the wurl, relax!” and dance down the Mall like it was Bastille Day?
Did I tell you?