Slept in inadvertantly. Travel, time change etc. We threw ourselves together and planned how to work out the day. The concert on the mall started at 2pm or so and we were leaving the apt at 12:15pm still in need of coffee and breakfast. Against both our better judgements we ducked into starbucks. I prefer to go elsewhere particularly if traveling (though m reminds me we went to one in azabu-juban, Tokyo our first day there) but tick tock. Naturally, a line and a shortage of items. We settled for the next best choices and reminded ourselves of the occasion and that this particular breakfast experience will probably be regarded nostalgically in a couple days, as overnight the visiting population appeared to double in size.
Got on the metro and took it to the archives. Streams of people, moving in herds, like packs of docile animals, pulled toward and down the Mall gravitationally. Vendors everywhere selling every possible permutation and iteration of absolutely anything w/ Barack Obama’s visage – buttons, t-shirts, scarves, beanies, gloves, stickers, a Xeroxed calendar thrown together on photoshop, mugs, glow-sticks, flags, you name it. We stood outside the MSNBC booth on the mall for about four seconds and then headed in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial. People streamed on both sides of us, hundreds of portable toilets far as the eye would allow. At last we crested the slight hill that the Washington Monument rests atop and looked down and saw the pillars of the Lincoln. Far away. Aswarm. The crowd was starting to firm around us we had about 45 min b/f the concert was even to start. We considered staying put - given all the speakers and jumbotrons – but something impelled us onward. We managed to keep snaking and slithering, cutting over and through and around and back around and before we knew it we were entering the teeming mass inching and jostling toward the security tent (near the wwii memorial). After a brief scan, we were in.
We headed down the path as far as humanly possible while still being able to keep the Lincoln in eyesight and situate ourselves near a jumbotron. We were just on the top of a small ridge that rose up from the reflecting pool. A tree branch partially blocked the screen but it really didn’t matter. The concert began and swells of emotion ran through me, seeing all this assemblage of great (mostly)artists intersecting w/ (geo) politics and history. Words fail me (as do the pictures I managed to take, which cannot express the feeling of looking behind us, all the way up to the Washington monument, all the people. So many freaking people. Either side of the pool. All clapping, spirits soaring). M will be the first to tell you that I am the woman in our relationship but I will confess this you this with no shame – I wept.
Afterwards, we met up w/ our friend Jerome at the Washington monument. Though he lives in LA, this is his town. We were hungry and thirsty and decided to walk somewhere for a drink or some food or a coffee or all three but this proved difficult. NW was like vegas and nyc all at once. We contemplated waiting for an hour at legal seafood but (thankfully) thought better of it and hopped on the metro and went to Dupont circle. Found our way to after words, a restaurant in a bookstore and, not surprisingly, high on the list of things m wanted to do. just perfect.
Later m and I were on the way back to Columbia Hts. We stopped at U street for a nightcap, ducked into saint ex. Our backs weary, our feet hurt like hell and we were the two happiest people alive.