We woke up early to watch the Inauguration yesterday; I turned the television on as fast as I could and pretty much started crying immediately. I'm a sucker in general for ritualized ceremonies, but a lot of things made it extremely emotional for me. There's all the obvious stuff of watching a momentous, proud, hopeful, inspiring piece of history, but other stuff, too. Like remembering watching Reagan's Inauguration with my grandpa when I was a little girl. Like seeing two little girls who love their dad and thinking of my own dad and my sister and I when we were their ages. Seeing the former presidents and vice presidents and first ladies from my lifetime walking (or hobbling) in or not being there at all (like my dad and my grandpa) was like looking at a timeline with my own lifespan clearly marked on it. It's not a long line, even if I'm lucky and only a third of the way through it. I didn't think of it this way on a conscious level until hours later and realize that part of what I cried about was my own mortality.
Then I had a doctor appointment. That made me feel even more like a rusting machine getting ready to be dismissed from operation. It wasn't a good experience and by the end of last night with money stress, the emotions of the morning, sleep deprivation and all of the symptoms I went to the doctor for in the first place, I was really ready for a good night's sleep and too wound up to jump right into it.
Check out my Inauguration Day tweets
if you want some more of my reactions to yesterday. Apparently I'm the only person who loved the poem. Other people thought it was robotic -- not a word I'd have chosen to describe it, but even if it was I totally love robots so maybe that's why I liked it. At first I thought her delivery was too contrived, but a few lines into it I just heard the words/saw the moments she captured and thought it was fucking brilliant and spot-on. I burst into tears when she said the last nine words of this chunk:
Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.
I complained yesterday about not hearing anyone comment on the poem (and felt totally annoyed seeing people walking away from the ceremony before she even started; these must be the same assholes who go to watch fireworks displays but leave before the finale because they want to "beat the traffic" but maybe I'm being unkind and they all just have small bladders and/or diarrhea) but now I'm glad I didn't hear any chatter about it on CNN or online (I know it's out there
, I just haven't looked for it or read it). I don't know anything about poetry, but I do know I love Walt Whitman and I do know he loved Lincoln and I do recognize nods to Whitman in yesterday's poem and that all of that fits into the deliciously morbid Lincoln-channeling going on with Obama being the first to use the Lincoln bible and doing all of those other following-in-Lincoln's-footsteps black-cat-crossing things.
We spent most of today shopping since we had to make the journey to suburbia for Delia's laser hair removal appointment. It was so much fun hearing people, especially kids, talking about Obama (kid pointing at books & magazines: "look, Mom! It's Barack Obama!"). I hate that I can't shake the feeling of impending doom, though. I know other people have to be feeling it, too. Still, everything's shimmery and sparkly right now . . . very storybook-like (even with the oath do-over). Watching the ceremony yesterday I did halfway feel like I was watching a pre-pre-pre-prequel to Star Trek Next Gen. Like everything good could really come true someday and all of the buildings and monuments were bad backdrop paintings of futuristic architecture.
I don't regularly fantasize about the White House as a super-glamorous place and never have felt like the people living there were royalty the way people felt about the Kennedy years. It's kind of exciting to experience that now; I can't help it, thinking about those girls moving in there and having slumber parties. I'm totally sucked into it. The allure of a lot of chick things (weddings) escapes me but stories involving orphans, boarding school, or preteen girls spending the night in museums or moving into the White House are always going to capture my imagination. It's almost as good as eating buckets of mashed potatoes and gravy, imagining Sasha and Malia safe and happy, the most famous little girls in the world ensconced in THE WHITE HOUSE with closets full of pink clothes and barbies and books and halls to run in and a prissy nanny who tells them stories and feeds them cucumber sandwiches.
I've got some Obama-themed pictures to post from my latest members-only gallery but haven't had a chance to make promos so it'll have to wait. In the meantime you can check out Delia's samples
if you're not a member
Another sad thought I had yesterday was for our friend whose mom just died
. I imagined him and AmberLily dealing with their loss and this Inauguration going on at the same time. How weird it would be to feel like everyone in the world is paying attention to this ceremony while they're distanced from it by having a huge personal transition and ceremonies of their own to attend to. When big events coincide with personal crises it can be so isolating and bizarre. I haven't wanted to call them, but I'm definitely thinking of them and hoping for the best for them.
Labels: aging, art, celebrity, emotions, family, memories, politics, pop culture, Star Trek, television