WASHINGTON — Leaving California on Saturday night and arriving in Washington D.C. in the early morning, I feel as though even my journey was aligned with the Inaugural spirit.
I took the RED eye, passed a WHITE moon, on my JetBLUE flight. Maybe it is a stretch, but it still works.
My first priority was to head over to Congressman Denham's office and secure my tickets. The National Mall and Capitol building were already abuzz with eager participants, focused volunteers and various street vendors selling everything from Barack Obama oven mitts to Michelle Obama clip on bangs! She debuted her new hairdo this past weekend and it is already a hot topic among fans. I heard a woman exclaim to her friend, "We should get some of these Michelle bangs for tomorrow!"
From there, I happened to pass the Capitol at a precise moment of stillness and calm. The crowd seemed to melt away and there stood a building recognizable to every American. Even behind the gates, it looked so grand. For a moment, the building stood alone as if in rest before she awoke to an audience to millions. I tip-toed away, so as not to disturb her as the hum of the crown returned.
After a few pat downs and security screenings, I made my way up to the congressional office. The elevator was packed with people picking up tickets and many trying their luck at scoring reserve tickets. Two women from behind strategized their best options as another woman interrupted them, "You know, 30 years ago we were trying to get Grateful Dead tickets, and today we're trying to get ones to see the President!" They had a laugh together that slowly dissipated into a muffled hum as they each traveled to memories from a time past.
DING! Floor 7.
I happily arrived at the office to receive my tickets and was greeted by Communications Director Amanda Maddox. She and the rest of the staff were hard at work coordinating all things inauguration. I was curious as to how many tickets were available to constituents, and she informed that there were about 200 tickets available. People from all over the Central Valley have traveled here for the event and I'm hoping to meet a few at the Congressman Denham's reception following the ceremony and parade.
As I left the office, I could barely wait to see what the tickets looked like. Presented in a beautiful envelope, the contents included the official invite, the event program, official signed photos of Obama and Biden and the tickets to get into the viewing area. Though I'm sure I will be leaving D.C. with bizarre patriotic knick knacks, this is truly the best souvenir of all. So I packed this away into my bag, got onto the train and headed off to get a good night's rest.