Monday, January 26, 2009

It begins.

The alarm went off at 5:15, but I’m not sure I slept at all between 1 AM and 5:00. I knew I had dreams about the man that would be president in mere hours. I had my ear plugs in to deafen the roar from surrounding sinuses. It was actual relief when the beep beep filled the room. I don’t know if Joe and I ever hopped out of bed so fast, even when one of the kids awoke in the middle of the night, okay there was that one time when Harriet threw up, but I digress.

We laid our clothes out the night before (very un-Spencerlike) and layers went on, boots were laced and we were out of the house and heading to the train station by 5:30. As we silently walked, I thought, this is going to be a piece of cake. It was quiet in the sleepy town of Alexandria. We could see a couple of trains go by and they didn’t look choked with people. Perhaps the hysteria was all for naught. We entered the 7-11 for coffee and a doughnut. There was a lot of talk before hand about hoarding provisions, bringing water, snacks, toilet paper, but we were suspicious – Joe grabbed 2 granola bars from Scott and Jen’s house, we opted for the small coffee (a move celebrated 8 hours later when we were next to relieve ourselves) and two doughnuts - chocolate for Joe and an old fashioned for me. Five girls entered at the same time we did. They seemed to be college aged and we all exchanged greetings. One was from Iowa originally; one lived just around the corner. It was the first of many encounters that didn’t begin with “Are you going to…?” We all just knew. It was palpable.

We checked our watches on the platform. It was 5:45 AM. It was clear that the only people on a train platform, on this day, at this hour were headed just one place. The air felt warm with anticipation. When the yellow line train arrived we easily found seats (Scott schooled us on taking the more direct Yellow line to the National Mall rather than the roundabout Blue line. It would prove to be a slam dunk move) and breathed a sigh of relief to be on the train. No matter what, we were on our way. A couple of tears were shed as we looked out the darkened window as the capitol shone far off in the distance.

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