Inauguration Part 3 - Disgrace

Right after the inauguration, there was really nowhere to go. All the train stations were jammed and we didn’t feel like shoving our way through yet another crowd for what looked like hours on end. All the museums by the national mall were made open to the public for free to get a reprieve from the cold.

Kim and I went into the Air and Space Museum. It was so great to get a break from the cold. The first floor, however, was full of people so we thought to go upstairs in order to find a seat to take a load off. Wouldn’t you know it…the up escalator is blocked off for some unknown reason. It seems like all day wherever we wanted to go was not available to us. We saw someone on the other side running up the down escalator. Kim says, “We could do that.” I initially rejected the idea. I’m too tired. I only got 3 hours of sleep. My arms are sore from carrying the camera. But my pride in personal fitness quickly took over and I changed my mind. We went for it.

Everything went great at first. I was in the lead with Kim right behind me and we were covering ground. Halfway up I felt a slight burn in my legs but I keep going. “I’ve had worse,” I think to myself. I press on. The burn intensifies. I realize that neither Kim nor I had accurately accounted for how long this escalator truly is. But I’m almost at the top and the escalator track is beginning to level out. The steps are coming faster or maybe my legs are tired and they’re moving slower. Regardless, I can’t keep up. I face plant. Worried that Kim might fall right on top of me, I quickly get up. A few more steps.,.I’m almost to the top. BAM! Face plant number 2.

The second face plant was close enough to the end of the escalator so that when I landed, I stayed on the ground and began crawling my way off the platform. I see two people sitting on a bench watching me claw myself to the finish line exhaustively. They don’t bat an eyelash. Don’t attempt to help. Nothing. Kim miraculously is able to make it up as well without falling on top of me. The whole time I had my prosumer Panasonic DVX-100A camera in my right hand. I’m very thankful it wasn’t smashed to pieces in two consecutive wipe-outs. He’s a tough little guy.

Here’s the irony. Kim and I are both pilots. Kim is still flying commercial and for the reserves; I’ve taken a much needed break from it. As African-American female pilots in the Air Force, we were a rare site during our active-duty flying days. You would think the two of us would have more sense than to attempt to go up the down escalator but lack of sleep and standing all day had clouded our judgment. But here we are, the two of us, falling like idiots in the Air and Space Museum of all places. What a disgrace. The incident had to have been captured on a security camera. Maybe one day I’ll see it on youTube.

We skipped the parade because all of us at the national mall had been told early on that the route was full. Additionally, by the time the parade was going on, the temperature had dropped even further.

At the end of inauguration day, we felt like we’d been through a war. I was completely wiped out at the end of the day but I’m so glad we decided to be one of the 1.5 million in attendance. We concluded our day with brownie sundaes from Pizzeria Uno and then watched the inaugural balls on TV. We have a President who dances. And he and Michelle are so sweet together. Aww.