The kids had off school yesterday–scheduled, not called b/c of a snowflake sighting–so we watched the inauguration together. Obama, in the end, decided not to go with my speech, which I feel was a mistake, but seemed to do okay nonetheless. I turned the TV to the local NBC affiliate at around 11:30, and was quickly sent scuttling off to C-SPAN. Oh my lord, can they not bear any second of silence? The prattling! But C-SPAN, bless ’em, is perfectly willing to just give you the video feed with whatever ambient noise it picks up. I was left to speculate as to who that white guy in black coat and colored scarf might be, not to mention where he bought the scarf, how long ago, what his wife’s name is, and a funny anecdote about someone the newscaster knew with the same name. Just quiet. Ahh. But Steve is in CA this week, which meant I was left giving it the MST3K treatment on my own. We texted, but I suuuuuck at texting. I text like someone for whom the technology was not designed. Like your grandma trying to program her VCR. But once Cheney was rolled out in a wheelchair, I had to start poking those buttons. “Cheney is in a wheelchair and they–no lie–just wheeled under a sign that said “Crypt” and had an arrow pointing the way they had come” Steve responded, “He is sedated. They had to hit him with a dart to get him out of the office.” But seriously, a wheelchair? Was he unable to book a litter? I think a rick-shaw would have had dash.
Of course, since we were watching C-SPAN, there was no explanation of the chair, and we were free to make up our own stories. Cheney in a PCP rage throwing office supplies at the admins who’d come to get him? That’s a good one. The video feed kept showing shots of the–holy CRAP look at all those people!–crowd and close-ups now and again. Repeatedly, we got to see an Asian girl in a knit Georgetown hat. It got to the point that something would happen and Julianna would say, “I wonder what the G hat girl is thinking of this?” From what we could tell, she mostly thought “This is cool” and “I am cold.” The temps were too low for thoughts of more than 3 words, even for a Georgetown student. We were left to notice Bill Clinton’s face as Michelle Obama walked up. To know that he was thinking, “That should be ME in the pretty green coat. ME!” To enjoy seeing George W. Bush looking like he could burst into song, he was so happy. “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!” To wonder if Laura Bush was going to sue her plastic surgeon.
I had told the kids that by law the President has to be sworn in by noon. The job of Prez runs from noon Jan. 20th to noon Jan 20th four years later. So as the clock ticked down and we only had a VICE president, they were getting antsy. Then, just when there was a minute left until noon, Diane Feinstein announced that she was pleased to introduce…a musical number. AUGH! What I heard of it was modern and discordant and if we were going to hear John Williams music, I think the right time was at Cheney’s entrance. But mostly I didn’t hear it b/c the squids were in an uproar. “We have no President! There are no LAWS!” Ben told Lily to go steal my car keys and that he could drive now. Lily asked “Is it true? Are there no laws now?” Yes dear, anarchy. We are free to loot. Except that it is too cold to leave the house, which seems like a good safety valve on the part of the law-makers. I later heard that in truth, the elected one becomes Prez at noon, sworn-in or no. And apparently the Crypt isn’t all that cool, either. Really, there is no magic left in the world. Well, there IS Aretha Franklin’s hat.
I did get a bit choked up when he finally swore in. And I thought his speech was terrific, if not particularly surprising (“And as President, I declare that “In the Air Tonight” is forbidden, upon pain of death!”). And leaving out the part about how our image is as tarnished as a corkscrew implication was a mistake. But I do love to hear that man speak. He can use his tongue purdier than a twenty dollar whore. I know that there are teleprompters right there, but he always makes it seem off the cuff and from the heart. Which, if nothing else, is a good start.