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The Baltimore Experience

January 19, 2009

I am still wearing something like three layers, and my hair is one giant knot, but I figured now was the best time to do a little bloggity blog about inauguration weekend. I know Celisse is going to be holding down the fort later with some more good times, but for now, let’s begin with Baltimore.

Baby steps til inauguration, y’all.

I had very, very low expectations for this weekend. With pretty high person turnout expected and freezing temperatures, what can you really expect? The crowds are showing up and the cold is there, but people actually don’t seem to be getting there as early as you’d think. I have to believe that all of our experience with SNL standby has prepped us for this. If you throw in tens of thousands more people.

Baltimore was hilariously awful. They played music over the speakers, mainly some old Motown hits, and hilariously and randomly, “Grapevine Fires” by Death Cab for Cutie. Go figs. The crowds were obnoxious and rude for the most part, but anytime you go see a President-Elect and the Baltimore Oriole and a trainer come out to get you to do jumping jacks while spelling out “B-A-M-A-O” is worth the stress and tall people and elbows and rude comments and those that boo the people that are making speeches before Barack comes out. I get it, it’s like ten degrees outside, we’ve been standing around for four hours, and we’re restless and starving. But seriously, you’re booing the Governor of Maryland, your Baltimore Representative and, before they said her last name, Dr. Jill (“BOOO!”) Biden (“WOOOO!)

But there they were. Jill Biden. Joe Biden. Michelle Obama. Barack Obama. It was really a phenomenal feeling, once you got over the people throwing their arms on your head to take pictures with their Blackberry and could really listen.

We were so close. Probably about 200 feet away. I don’t know, I’m a bad estimater, but I could see his face clearly, when I wasn’t being tackled or stampeded. Michelle Obama looked radiant with her purple gloves, and it really got me thinking about how this generation hasn’t really had a “First Lady” in awhile. I mean, I do like Laura Bush, I’m sure if she were my neighbor she’d invite me over for tea, and I’d probably peruse all of the musty, rich old books that she would have in her living room, and they’d probably have great barbecues, but I’ve never idolized her. That probably has more to do with GW, really, but I never felt that way about Hillary or Barbara Bush, and before that I was too young to even comprehend. So now we have a lovely, charming First Lady, who is just about as much of a draw as her husband. Too bad I didn’t get to see them fist bump.

I really can’t put into words what it’s been like (and if you listen to the voice messages that Celisse may be putting up lately, you’ll obviously hear that), but it’s a great experience. It’s history, sure. But it’s truly amazing to even be able to say that I was standing there. And I’ll be able to carry that with me for the rest of my life.

More to come later, for sure, as I did go to the “We are One” show at the Lincoln Memorial today, but for now, I figured I’d have a bit of SapFest 09.

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