So, there was this thing downtown yesterday...
The best laid plans of mice and Nea ran aground the moment they were put into place. The idea of meeting up at the Landsburgh Theater instead of the mall? Excellent. settiai
& hubby were right there, easy to see.
, & suricattus
? Not so much. I took us to the College Park metro on the basis that nobody seemed to have "discovered" it on Inauguration day, arriving at the station at 9:00 for a 10/10:15 meetup.
Well, it's been discovered now! The lines were across the station and up the stairs, with people coming in by the busload. Meerkat (that's suricattus
, y'all) told me it would be a mitzvah as a local to squirm my way to the head of the line and help people out with our fare machines... and it would have the bonus advantage of making said lines move faster, getting us through. So I duly squirmed and pointed at buttons saying "punch that now" and shouted "IF YOU'RE GETTING A DAY PASS, IT'S $9! IF YOU'RE JUST GOING TO THE RALLY AND BACK, IT'S $4.80 TO UNION OR L'ENFANT STATIONS!" This was surprisingly popular; the guys behind us in line were all "Don't leave yet! Not until you show us!"
It took us an hour to get onto the platform; we were able to squeeze onto the first train that arrived, stuffed as it was, and it would take about another 40 minutes to get downtown. This trip turned out to be one of the success
stories of the day. I've heard of someone who got to Greenbelt at 11:40 and finally got onto a train about 1.
Having finally made the meetup, we joined the flood of people onto the mall. It was shoulder-to-shoulder packed on the mall itself and up the stairs of the National Gallery of Art, West. However, there was space on the lawn of the Gallery between the retaining wall and the stairs where you could mostly hear the loudspeakers and sort of catch an edge-on glimpse of the jumbotron, so we set up a base camp there.
Signage was fabulous. Also surreal. ponygirl72
's two-sided sign (We have nothing to fear but
the zombie apocalypse / I am a Marxist (Groucho Marx glasses & mustache) was incredibly popular. There was a Waldo with a sign saying "I'm here." There was a little girl in a princess dress with a sign saying "I want my tea party back." There were riffs on the theme like "Give Please a Chance" and "Only Hitler is Hitler." On the more political side, there was "Taxes are good; they pay for stuff" and "Nothing to fear but Fox News." And then there were people in costume - superheroes, lots of Waldos, a couple of Doctor Whos, and a whole lot of "I'm not sure what that is, really..."
Sound was iffy - we got to hear Jon Stewart "singing" with all too much clarity, while it took jumbotron cues to know what Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters were asking the crowd to do. (There were often chants of "Louder! Louder!" to no avail. Apparently the actual rally permit was only for 60,000 and so the space and the volume were set for that. While Stewart said there were "10 million" and Colbert said "6 billion," I'm going with the Guardian estimate of 215,000-250,000 on the basis that they don't have a bias. Certainly they were blowing well over the estimated 60,000, which is why the audience just about died of laughter on Colbert's line "I'm afraid nobody came to our rally.")
At one point I went in search of vendors - we could see people carrying little towels that both Meerkat and I wanted. (We would find out after via Facebook that said towels were being handed out while we were on our way to the mall.) The crush went from thick to nigh impassible as I got closer to the front, so I squirmed my way up 3rd to walk around the gallery. By the time I tried to come back down 7th, the crowd was so thick and so still that I thought I would *never* make it back to base camp! I tried sending a text to Meerkat, but the bandwidth on the Mall was so blown that no calls were going through and texts were iffy. (She did get mine... about 45 minutes later.)
Mad props to settiai
, who had the good sense to bring food. There was much munching of peanut butter and even more munching of cinnamon teddy grahams. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
There was just no way in hell that it would be possible to get off the mall to make a 3:30 meet; I tried texting and later calling raqs
, who I really wanted to meet up with after. As it was, we stayed in base camp and let the worst of the crowds shuffle zombie-like past us, then tried going to the front (I was still hunting vendors. Going to a rally and going home with money? So wrong.) settiai
peeled off to meet up with other friends, while the rest of us had a rather tiring on-foot tour of Chinatown looking for a restaurant with a less than a 2-hour wait. As it was, we eventually limped off to Union to say goodbye to ponygirl72
& her husband (who completely defines the strong and silent type) and take metro home.
By now it was 3 hours after the rally had ended, and we still had to let an overcrowded train pass us by on the way out of the city. And I hear there were fistfights at the next station because some people had been on that platform for over two hours and still couldn't crush onto a train. We ended up getting diner takeout and heading home to crash on the couch and watch The Librarian while reminiscing and drinking hot spiced apple wine.
Meerkat's on her bus back home, Mo's ushering, and Waldo's at the zoo all day, so I've crawled back into my pyjamas. I should
write a review of Live 34 and do laundry, but I'm thinking that what I'm really
going to do is catch up on a week's backlog of Sherlock fic while watching scary movies until it's time to fetch Waldo at the station. It's a plan.
Pictures to come later. And probably links to video of the rally.
ETA: My favorite sign of the whole day? "If you see my friend Amy, tell her Courney's looking for her."
ETA II: Meerkat's writeup & pictures Waldo, ditto