Home > Uncategorized > Inauguration Saga: The Tale of A Small Town Girl Who Could Never Seem To Make It. Part Deux

Inauguration Saga: The Tale of A Small Town Girl Who Could Never Seem To Make It. Part Deux

In 2008, I volunteered (as much as you can in a blue state) for President Obama in California. Even drove to Vegas to do some GOTV. That’s how much I was committed to his campaign. Low and behold, right after the election, a friend (with the help of now Senator Tom Udall) I was given access to the the inauguration via a purple ticket!
On January, 21, 2009, I woke up from my cozy couch in Arlington, VA, where I was staying with my good friend Jon. I decided that I was going to catch the bus at 3a and take it into DC so I could meet my other friend and get my golden ticket.
Let me just point something out. I was wearing the worst thing imaginable. If you were from the northeastern part of the country and understand how low the temps drop towards the end of January, you too would have looked at me like I was crazy. Anyway, I was standing at the bus stop waiting for my bus to DC…freezing.
1.5 hours later, I was still at the bus stop. Still freezing. Four buses had already passed by, waving me down that there was no longer any room.
By 4:30a, Jon met me down at the bus stop and we decided to grab a cab. Low and behold…that was also impossible. After running up and down one of the main streets in Jon’s hood, we ran into another group of idiots looking for transportation down to DC as well. After what felt like hours running after every cab we saw, we finally got the help of a very nice cab driver (in a van!!!) and she was kind enough to take eight of us into DC. However, there was a caveat. She was not going to be able to take us all the way in. Instead, she would only take us as far as Capitol Hill, off of I-395 and we’d have to walk the rest of the way.
Because Jon and I had different color tickets (his was gold and mine was the purple, which I still didn’t have in my possession) we had to split up near the, “Obama is the Devil because he believes in Sodomy” sign.
Sidenote: That sign should have tipped me off on the rise of the crazies.
So I leave Jon on the south side of the Mall. Somewhere in the middle of a cascade of gazillion people and I start my trek to meet my friend. It’s barely twilight at this point, sun should be coming up shortly and I’m cold as…well, the northeastern part of the country in the middle of January (and did I mention it doesn’t get cold like this in SoCal?)
It was around 5:30 or 6a when I finally got my act together, determined to meet with my friend with the purple ticket. But in doing so, there was a problem. My friend had the ticket.
Because there was so much security all over the damn place, I had to find ways to get through without having to present my ticket…
Rather than boring you with all the details (because there are many, like jumping over fences, my jacket getting caught on top of a fence, dodging police, sprinting through the I-395 tunnel) let’s just say that I finally got to my friend at 9:30am…3 hours after I started the trek, six hours from the time I was at the bus stop in Arlington.
But one thing before I joined my friend Alison (oh yeah, my purple ticket holder had a name)…when I arrived to our meeting place, there was a sea of people and they would not move. Let me put it to you this way. Jesse Jackson was standing just a few feet from me, stuck in the middle of the crowd, waiting impatiently just like the rest of us. I mean, seriously. If this famous civil rights leader wasn’t getting through, neither was I. 

Back to the story. So I finally run into my friend Alison, underneath the tunnel. Although there was already a line, I was strictly informed that I will not be able to cut to stand with her. I cut.
It was great to finally see her and to finally have my purple ticket. We were just steps away from our entrance to the inauguration and I had made it just in time. By this time it was around 10a, so I was convinced things were going to go my way.
We continued to wait. And wait…and wait. I mean, at first it was awesome because the energy was so great. People were happy, songs were being sung. It was just a great atmosphere to be in. I mean, c’mon? I was in a tunnel, about to witness our first Black President take the oath of office.
But when 11am arrived, I was starting to worry. I was already hearing people talk about Aretha Franklin taking the stage. Then there was the benediction…all of this while we were all under the tunnel. People were beginning to get upset. 

Finally the line started to move and I saw a bright light, heading towards the end of the tunnel (I wasn’t dying). We reached the outside and I knew we were going to make it. But we didn’t. When we reached the gate, we were told that everyone who had a purple ticket had already been admitted and that there would be no more admittance due to security. I was absolutely devastated. 

So my friend and I jetted. We reached the closest bar and it was standing room only and slightly hazardous, I’d say. So we didn’t stay.
Instead, we went back, hoping to get back in, but we could not. We stood with other people who had purple tickets and were not allowed and incredibly disappointed. The saddest part about the whole thing was that there were two older African American ladies, who I am sure were old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement, unable to watch President Barack Obama be inaugurated and instead watching it from a phone, just yards away from the real thing.
So we left. I left the Capitol and walked to Dupont Circle where I unexpectedly met up with my friends Carlos and Teresa at The Front Page. There, they told me about the inauguration and what they got to witness and were so excited. They were truly excited about the fact that they had witnessed history that day. I may have started to cry at this point.
By this time it was after 3p and I was exhausted. Metro at Dupont was down and the bus…ugh, the bus. So I walked to Foggy Bottom. I figured it would be better. 

It wasn’t. 

I walked south on 23rd, to the Lincoln Memorial and across Memorial Bridge…to Arlington Cemetery. There, I caught the metro and took it to Pentagon City, where I met up with Jon, who took me out to dinner. He got to witness one of the greatest moments in our history. I may have cried at this point as well.
I must have talked 30 miles that day.
Fast forward to today.
I worked for Organizing for America (OFA) in Colorado in 2012, hoping to reelect President Obama. A successful campaign was ran and we were victorious! 

Last night I got an email with great news for OFA alumni. There are going to be tons of activities for alumni during inauguration week this year, including a visit to the White House, and that I should definitely go. This would be the last chance to RSPV. 

I took the chance, booked my flight and sent off my itinerary to my inauguration partner-in-crime, Jon. Yay!! I was going to be able to make it happen this time.
This morning, I grabbed my Iphone first thing and checked my email. There was an email from Jon, in response to my itinerary.
It said…in the only way Jon can say it, “Angelica My Luv… I think you need to change your return day. MONDAY is the inauguration… you won’t be able to see it if you are at BWI. :(“
Right away I called my airline to get things straightened out, but no such luck. It was going to cost me double what I paid to fly out the following day. There is no way I could afford to rebook my flight for all the inauguration events and inauguration day.
Inauguration #2 – Bust
So the moral of this long story is that yes. I screwed up my dates for this year’s inauguration. But as you can see, while the first inauguration was somewhat tragic in my eyes at the time…I can’t really be upset about today’s events because well…I’ve had a good run. It’s such a great story, one I will be able to tell my grandchildren when they too do something really dumb. 

I went to the inauguration in 2009, didn’t witness it, but was there…I worked on the Obama campaign in Colorado this past year, having shook the man’s hand twice. Honestly…what more could I ask for, right?*
This last paragraph is just to help me feel better after what transpired with my airline ticket today.

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