Jan. 22nd, 2017

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Actually, I went the morning of the demonstration to get my fair share of souvenirs. Because I'm a bit tacky that way.

Guess who was downtown DC Saturday morning! I was convinced that the metro would overload early, the same way it had for the 2009 Inauguration and the Stewart/Colbert rally, so I'd prepped everything the night before right to the point of not just laying out my clothes, but filling all the pockets. When the alarm went off at DearGod:30, all I had to do was feed the cats and get dressed & out.

So I felt a bit silly that there was almost no one there that early in the morning. There was no one there at the Starbucks I expected to be open on 7th either, so I ended up eating a muffin I'd brought right outside it and telling other disappointed marchers that rumor was that there were open Starbucks further north.

People passing were carrying beautiful art posters from The Amplifier Foundation(.org), and told me that said posters were being given out on G-St. So post-muffin I went to check it out, and then picked up a group of women from out of town - 2 from Phoenix and one from the Caribbean (!) I walked them down to the mall, past the cops who either ignored us or in one case, wished us well. Then they peeled off in search of food and I kept going down 7th to see what was happening on the other side of the mall.

From there the gathering crowds pulled me along back to the mall; most of the marchers wanted selfies or photos in front of the capitol with their pussy hats and signs. I was there very early, but at 4th street the crowd had already become a slow river, pulling us all down 4th to Independence. The block between 4th & 3rd was already impenetrable, and more people were flooding in from the Mall and up from L'Enfant Plaza, slowly filling in the area behind Air and Space.

Yes, I did go shopping. I have a Rosie the Riveter button with the march name, and a "Nasty Women Rise!" button in BLM colors, a t-shirt, and some of the art posters that were being handed out. Planned Parenthood was selling pussy hats and giving away scarves or shirts to people who signed up for their action list. (If you wanted a pussy hat, it seemed you had to score one on the way in, from marchers on a bus or plane.) Emily's List was giving out posters (my favorite: We Are The Noisy Majority) all the way back at New Carrollton metro.

There was somewhere I'd promised to be in the afternoon, so I left very early. Early enough that one could still walk the streets, although the crowd coming up from L'Enfant was already so thick I had to let it take me to the mall and then go north up to Archives where there was a little breathing room. A *little* breathing room -- I had to ask marchers to part to let me get to my train as they flooded the platform!

The station that had been so achingly empty had a line out the door and down the block when I got back. A 3-hour wait, I was told later. And at Benfest we kept losing track of conversations or the Fluxxlock game we were playing because we were all on social media, looking at crowd photos.

I'm glad I was there. I'm glad I got out before the crowd got crushing. At least while I was there I did some tiny bit of good, pointing people in the right direction and tweeting/facebooking about where the portapotties were open and where they were locked. (So Hufflepuff of me!)

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