Sunday, January 4, 2009

Duck and Cover!



It's T-minus sixteen days until the inauguration of President-elect Obama. Don't get me wrong, I'm as excited about this as can be, but as a citizen of Washington DC, particularly as a citizen of Capitol Hill, as well as excitement, I'm bracing myself for what will no doubt be a hellish onslaught that weekend.

The more we learn about the impact of the two to four million visitors on the city, the more that weekend sounds like a natural disaster in addition to being one of the world's biggest parties. For instance, if "only" a million people show up, on the national mall there will be one toilet for evey six thousand people. Can you imagine?

In my neighborhood alone, contracts are signed for seven thousand tour buses. Every business I know about will close that day except restaurants and retail. Even my doctor's office will be closed. They figure anyone silly enough to make an appointment for that day would never find a place to park. We also hear that every one of the bridges that connect DC to Virginia will be closed to all traffic except for emergency personnel. Many street closures will discourage even the most intrepid among us from attempting to drive around.

The Metro has suggested that anyone living within five miles of the Capitol should walk as it will be much faster than taking the subway. City planners are concerned about the extra drain on the electrical grid, and "emergency" cell phone towers are being constructed all over the mall.

So - we're preparing. At my house we plan to have the kitchen fully stocked. We're also buying a case of wine. Maybe we should buy two cases, what do you think? All fantasties of making money by renting out the house have gone by the wayside as we've begun to realize we're going to need the comfort of our normal haunts if we want to get through the weekend in good spirits. I mean, we should get to celebrate, too, right?

I completely understand why so many people want to be here. It's going to be an historic event, an incredible jubilant moment in American history. Of course people want to participate. C'mon, ya'll, join us. But for those of us who live here, sharing the nation's capital with a huge chunk of the nation is going to be kind of a bitch, pardon my language.

Duck and cover? Oh yeah!

34 comments:

Mrs. E said...

I don't envy you the problems, but I would love to be there! (And can you ever have too much wine on hand??!)

runmotman said...

Good luck ; have you thought about getting the hell out of Dodge until it all blows over ? Also , nice photo -- love the reflection.

Burped said...

hi Reya, let me tell you, your blog is enticingly interesting. i've read all your post from your first one up to May. i'm still reading the others though. :)
i'm fascinated with your life there in Washington.
Oh! and my aunt living in California will go there too on the 20th too so count her in along with her hubby and daughter on the four million visitors! lol

have a great week!

Reya Mellicker said...

There is no such thing as too much wine! Is there?

Get outta Dodge? That wouldn't be any fun! (imagine me chuckling). I complain, but I wouldn't miss it for the world!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

crossing my fingers for fair weather. I wouldn't miss this for the world either! do you think we'll run into each other day of!! stranger things have happened.

quack, quack

Gary said...

I expect that you're "bang on" regarding the chaos about to hit your Capital.

My wife and I live in Ottawa, Canada's Capital and, for the past three weeks, have been enduring the misery of a transit strike. Although coping, it's created havoc.

If your transit system becomes choked, I assume you folks will be suffering some of our misery. I don't wish that on anyone.

Your economic forecast may be closer to reality than not.

Hopefully the western world will recover in record time, but, I believe, we'll see a changed world.

I invite you to visit my site at garyross.ca.

Have a prosperous and healthy 2009.

Gary

Laney Garry said...

Reya...I'm a fairly new to blogging and came across your '15 minutes of fame' blog recommendation. I love your photography! Shadowy reflections or reflective shadows...it's all amazing! Thank you for sharing it with the blogging world! Your insight into the upcoming inauguration in your city is very interesting...sitting on the other side of the border, we Canadians are watching with great expectations! In our latest Federal Election, which just preceded yours...someone asked 'who' would you vote for? ...the answer was Barack Obama! The reality is, even though he isn't Canadian, he is a much better choice than the buffoons we get to choose from ;)
Thanks again for your time & energy in your blog..and have a great party on the 20th!

ArtSparker said...

Do you know how many were at the last one? Wonderful photo of Jake as a river.

Rose said...

There are plenty of us here in Calif. that would love to be in DC for the big day. How great it is for you to be there celebrating part of the change in American history. Love your blog. More Wine= More Fun

Bill and Lauren said...

Your photography is amazing. I love all of the reflection pictures. Very, very cool. My husband and I lived in Alexandria, VA until recently and I miss the city. Thanks for posting all of your great pictures.

c james. said...

I, too, am so excited for this inaugural fest. Although Washington may be crowded, I wish I could be there. You will living in history just because you are there.

Read more of my thoughts on President-elect Obama at:

http://raverantrage.blogspot.com/2008/11/post-election-emotions.html

tam said...

Get more wine, much more, and sell it on the sidewalk to thirsty visitors. But, yes, sensible to keep your house (and your toilet) to yourself. Enjoy! Wow. And congrats on all your well deserved accolades. Work that spotlight!

willow said...

Yes, make sure to stock up on plenty of toasting supplies!

Wonderful pic of your puppy.

Reya Mellicker said...

From DC Traveler

* In 1965, the inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson, drew the largest inaugural crowd, estimated at 1.2 million.
* In 2005, for the inauguration of President George W. Bush’s second term, crowds were estimated at 400,000, a hundred thousand more than his first inauguration in 2001.

* Approximately 250,000 gathered at the U.S. Capitol for Bill Clinton’s second term inauguration, a significantly smaller number than his first term about 800,000 people attended in 1993.
* George H. Bush Sr.’s inauguration in 1989 drew about 300,000.
* John Kennedy’s inauguration, a day snow fell in DC, drew an estimated 1 million in 1961.

swaney3 said...

It's not something I would look forward to. I think I'll just enjoy my farm and country living in Rural Virginia. Will two cases be enough? Perhaps you should subsidize with some Vodka. Enjoy it and most of all stay safe.

Anonymous said...

I worry what will happen to our nation in the coming years with the economy the way it is and think that money should be saved and not squandered in any city on events such as this.A quiet ceremony would be more economic.
I also feel for those of you who have no choice but to be over run by the crowds. I do not like crowds and feel more comfortable in the comfort and safety of my own home at times such as these.

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't think it's a waste of money to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama, no way.

And in spite of all my whining and complaining, the truth is, I'm thrilled to be here for this.

Though ... it will be daunting.

A paradox, like everything else in life, eh?

hostagirl said...

Reya, I just found your blog and find your writing style a great read. And it must be amazing to be living in Washington DC..especially at this time! I was attracted to your site because of your wonderful dog Jake. I too have a blog about my dog Mistaya. I would be thrilled if you would stop by sometime for a read. http://lifeofapoundpuppy.blogspot.com.
And have fun with all that traffic and people coming your way real soon!! I will be back to continue to read your future posts.

Vin said...

it will be funny if Obama failes to deliver expecatations...atleast i can say "i voted for Hillary"

lettuce said...

great shot of jake, reya - he looks somewhat dazed

i think i'd want the comfort of my own home without strangers, at such a time

Snow said...

I'm so addicted to eye on the inaguation day in DC after reading your words. Thanks for your sharing. I'm quite a newer here and was caught in my first sight of "the gold puppy". I'm quite familiar with people congestion problem and just experienced a very similar situation in the midnight of Jan 1,2009 in the people square in Shanghai, China while welcoming the newyear countdown time. BTW, I'm a Chinese, an ESL. I guess I've already found it out:) Look forward to your new insights to Washinton DC.

surekha tangri said...

ur blog is interesting .love it....god bless

anastasia said...

i can honestly say that i dont envy you at all! I mean, it's going to be an amazing thing to witness for you but also a major nightmare. in many ways, i'm glad i'm here in the UK and can watch from afar though i'm sure there will be something kicking off here to celebrate the new President finally taking his place. Fingers crossed it's not as bad as you think it could be.

Bee said...

I've enjoyed reading through your last week or so of input - re: the economy and resolutions and being blog-notable. Funnily enough, I remember seeing mention of you at Willow's - the advice about eating more cake stuck in my mind as I am a devoted cake-eater!

I'm so glad to have found you: I now count on you for a personal link to the upcoming inaugural hysteria/mania/excitment/upheaval.
It's good that you are well-stocked with wine!

Reya Mellicker said...

Even Obama has said, repeatedly, that he can never accomplish everything we hope he will. Don't think Hillary could have either.

Lettuce - so glad you're home! Happy new year!

Adrianne said...

Definitely two cases of wine, perhaps even three! But you know how I feel about wine. (: )

Jeff and I still haven't decided whether to stay or not. The lure of history-in-the-making probably will win in the end, but there's part of me that wants to get away. Although, I suppose the worst thing for me will be that I probably will refuse to move my car and thus won't be able to take the dogs for their usual twice-daily off-leash romps. That's not a bad trade-off, all things considered.

IntangibleArts said...

I, for one, will be playing urban commando in the middle of it all with still & video cameras, and notebook. Why not? It's our little Mardi Gras of biblical proportions. The universe be 'splode around here!

So assuming survival, I should be able to cook up a wealth of imagery and street-level reportage. We're not as close to the action as you, but with comfy shoes it's still walkable from Intangible HQ.

Jo said...

nice! the history will be amazing...i can't say i know anyone that's going to be there. but everyone in know was (and is!!) so excited that Barack Obama won...

Flip Flops and Summertime said...

Thanks for your inside insight!

I'd never thought of all the implications, problems, and amount of thought,foresight, and planning that had to go into planning the Presidential Inauguration.
I'd say go for 2 cases of wine....Just in case!

rothko said...

I've been conflicted about whether or not to come down there. The old man in me is saying that the couch and tv might be a better alternative.

smith kaich jones said...

I had to laugh because I can relate on a very much smaller scale and it drives me crazy! I live right in the middle of my town's annual Azalea Trail - very big deal, brings in tons of tourists and their $$, but Lordy, Lordy. Just try backing out of your driveway when there are busloads of tourists (and by that I mean just a few - not 7000! I cannot imagine 7000!), not to mention all the people in their cars, driving 10 mph, just looking at all the beautiful flowers! And the events! My block gets taped off (no ability to enter or leave) to make way for marathons & races of all kinds. I just have to mentally prepare for it. And it's so little compared to what you're fixin' to experience! Wow! I suggest a phone call to your dr for Valium! LOL!

But it will be so cool in years to come to be able to talk about this. Keep that as your mantra!

:) Debi

Peggy Johnstone said...

I know others, my daughter included, who live in the DC area and are bracing for the onslaught! Enjoy and take pictures to share with us!

uought2b.a.dog said...

Like your photos! Articles are very interesting.

Constance said...

Fun blog to read. I am finding OODLES of blogs out there by our Over 50 Crowd. H-mmm. Usually wine is involved- lol.
Good luck on the 20th-- just hunker down!