Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Success

Many thoughts on the inaugural, which we witnessed from afar--we caught part of the festivities on television while taking a break from skiing at Wisp.

First off, somehow, it all worked. Everyone we talked to who stayed in town went to one, two or more events and all had generally good experiences. Everyone we talked to said the same thing--the crowd was large, but friendly, patient and cheerful.
Although the Curmudgeon made fun, last week, of the security and transportation plans, those who wanted to were able to make it, be safe and enjoy their experiences. The city managed to host a throng almost three times D.C.'s population without major incident, so that's saying something. Kudos to our friend K.W., at DHS, who had the thankless job of coordinating much of the planning (and, we hope, is enjoying a day off today!)

Indeed, things went so well we think D.C. should declare every Friday a "car-free day," closing the bridges to private vehicles and restricting traffic in all of downtown and the monument core. Think of all the exercise everyone would get! (Somehow, we don't think Mrs. Curmudgeon would be too enamored of this idea.)

As for us, we were happy to return to Washington around 8:00 pm last night and find no problem at all getting home. The Beltway was fine, the GW Parkway had opened back up and it was smoother sailing than on a typical day.

Papa Curmudgeon ("dad") and his wife N., who camped out in our home for the weekend, had a great time. They saw friends, went to a dinner at the British Embassy, visited the Newseum, wandered through the inaugural throng and finished off with the "Grits and Granite" ball (SC and NH) over here in Arlington last night.

They didn't have too much trouble taking Metro from Clarendon yesterday morning--the key was that they forgot to set the alarm, so got a late start, which meant they missed the worst crowds. It did take them awhile to get out of the L'Enfant Plaza station, but on their way home they--get this--saw a cab, hailed it and were back at the Curmudgeon residence 10 minutes later. How's that for luck!

Several friends took their kids to the concert Sunday, and all said it was relatively easy and a good deal of fun.

C.H., with a large Minnesota contingent in town, managed to make the most of it despite not getting to their ticketed spot on the Capitol grounds. (They had cursed tickets--although they were obtained from MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office, they originally belonged to Norm Coleman (or Al Franken), and were reassigned after no winner emerged in that race.)

The highlight for C.H.'s group: seeing the Obama motorcade and then seeing the Obamas, and Bidens, at the Midwest ball last night, which (sort of) made up for the ticket debacle earlier in the day.

We're sorta sorry we missed it all, but not really. It was a terrific long weekend for skiing--we received nearly a foot of fresh new powder over three days and had the slopes to ourselves yesterday. We taped the swearing in and speech, and enjoyed watching the spectacle later from the warm comfort of our home.

We do worry, though. What will our chidren tell their children when asked, "where were you when Pres. Obama had his first inaugural?" I'm sure they'll make up something good!


Anonymous said...

Car free day? Communist.

Seriously, car free days work in cities with decent weather. DC has some of the worst weather in the world, maybe the universe. Unbearably hot in the summer, cold and wet in the winter... yeah, a 40minute bike ride to work is just what I need...

X Curmudgeon said...

Well now, we weren't serious--the Curmudgeon's friends know he doesn't have to commute anywhere, so he's free to come up with painful ideas for everyone else.