Ace's alarm popped off at 7:00 today, which was 10:00 in Washington, D.C. To my surprise, it was tuned to NPR. Usually it's about half a channel off of some loud rock-ish station that makes me want to beat him.
This morning, he rolled over to hit snooze and I shouted, "No! Don't you want to hear the inauguration?!?"
He pointed out that we still had two hours to wait, but I wanted to hear what the temperature was, who would be on stage, the debate over whether Rick Warren would use the "J" word, what the concert was like the day before, where spectators had come from, how many people had camped out since two in the morning and how many people had been taken to hospitals for hypothermia...
I've been doing a little jig all day. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. Even the commute traffic seemed more polite.
At work we had been warned not to stream any coverage over our computers so as not to overload the network, and as consolation they had a blueberry pancake breakfast (and helium balloons!) in our biggest conference room, where they showed coverage on our big projector screen. Except, they weren't showing TV, they too were streaming from the Internet and right in the middle of President Obama's inaugural address the connection got completely chopped up (because everybody ELSE in the world was streaming) so everybody took their pancakes into the small break room and watched the little wall TV there instead.
We filtered merrily out to our desks to work, but then after a continuing legal education video at lunch back in the big conference room, somebody switched back to CNN.com and we all stood around for another fifteen minutes, pretending we were still picking at our lunches while we watched the parade.
Maybe it's because people who work in the law are programmed to look for things that can go wrong, but it seems like all day everyone has been biting our nails.
This morning, Ace said to me, "How many snipers do you think there are?"
I looked at him in horror and said, "DON'T SAY THAT."
He quickly corrected, "No, no, I mean, how many secret service and security snipers do you think there are?" He gestured towards the humongous throng carpeting the Mall, and my swelling happiness was dampened a little.
After lunch, as I was being impressed by the First Lady's willingness to walk a mile in pumps and pondering whether the Second Lady might have considered a below-the-knee skirt, one of my colleagues murmured, "I can't believe they're just walking along the street like that, out in the open."
Another guy walked in to grab a brownie, glanced at the screen and said, "Look at all those buildings and windows! How could they possibly secure all that??"
Our IT person investigated the chicken salad wraps and said, "I hear that limousine is like a tank."
Well, never mind. If I may quote one of the great orators of my generation, "On this day we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."
Ooh, just trying to find that quotation, I read his speech and got all teary-eyed.
I'm glad everyone else in the office seems equally distracted and joyous. It seems important to take a minute to absorb this - as rare as they are, we don't often get the benefit of time to fully experience moments where ideals and hopes are made real and tangible.
But only a minute. There is work to do.