Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14, 2009: 500 Million Stories in My Naked City?

Living in the DC area, I’ve been excited about the Inauguration since November 4, when Barack Obama became simply “44.”

Two months later, that excitement is now tempered by an event that is fast becoming the political equivalent of the Wagnerian Series. Every day, we get some new update on how big a seismic shock this is going to be to our collective system. The local press called the dress rehearsal for the Inauguration this past Sunday many things; “a success” was not one of them. Police are still investigating a so-called “suspicious vehicle” that resulted in the closing of a portion of Connecticut Avenue, one of the majorest of major thoroughfares in Northwest DC. Obama has decided that he and Joe Biden are going to partially re-trace Lincoln’s inaugural route the weekend before the Big Day, which is going to be such fun for rail travelers and the Secret Service alike. Then there’s the cherry on the sundae that strikes fear in the hearts of my Bahamian family coming up for the event: temperatures in the thirties. It’s enough to make me want to stay in the warm house and watch everything from the comfort of my couch. Like my colleague, Maryann Reid. When someone on Facebook asked her if she was going to the Inauguration, she said, “If DC stands for de couch, then yes…LOL.”

Typical writer that I am, though, I revel in new experiences…especially ones as monumental as this. I wonder how many stories I’ll hear as I commune with my fellow human beings, on either the National Mall or – fingers crossed for some last minute available tickets – on the parade route. I wonder who’ll be coming from where…who’ll have what hopes and dreams for how lives will change…who’ll share stories about the inner conflict of enjoying being a witness to history while simultaneously regretting that extra cup of morning coffee (only 5000 Port-a-Potties for five million people; you do the math, then invest in some Depends).

So, this weekend, I think I’ll get a hold of trendy North Face down coat, a high capacity memory stick for my video camera, and paper and pen so that I may take copious notes. If elements of Inauguration 2009 sneak themselves into my next forays into fiction, you shouldn’t be at all surprised…

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