As a resident of Washington DC I was in a special position during this past week of watching my hometown overflow with visitors. From the Chicago train full of travelers in a happy mood of anticipation (including a girl’s choir from West Virginia), to my arrival at Union Station in Washington DC at 12:30 am – aglitter with lights as workers banged away erecting stands in readiness for President-elect Obama’s arrival that evening, from the shoe-throwing party in Dupont Circle to the elegantly dressed African American woman in her mink fur coat – who told us outside the Willard Hotel that she was so happy to arrive, and asked my husband to take a photo of her by the plaque marked “Willard Hotel”: the past few days have had a surreal quality to them.
Yesterday members of my family and out-of-town guests took food to a food-pantry, and then got on the metro to go to the Robert Frank exhibit at the National Gallery. We stood near the capitol staring at hastily erected fences, trucks full of stands and barriers, the bunting-draped capitol, and the crowds of people walking around in a buoyant mood. Then we tried to get back into the metro. It turned out to be a scary experience. Though there were many attendants standing on the platform, there were too many people and the attendants did not seem to have a plan for crowd control. We finally emerged onto the street relieved to find that no one had picked our pockets, and resolved not to use the metro on inauguration day.
–Cynthia Haggard writes short stories, novels and poetry. During the day, she is a medical writer and owns her own business. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. For more about her medical writing services, go to clarifyingconcepts. (c) 2009. All rights reserved.