I should've just bypassed the mascara this morning. But I didn't, and my penance was that I looked like a red-eyed raccoon for a good part of the day. If you want to be absolutely truthful, it wasn't my penance at all, since I couldn't see myself, but a punishment for all the people who had to look at me, people who may or may not have prepared ahead and forgone their own mascara in anticipation of a weepy day.
Well, of course I'm talking about the inauguration. What else would I be talking about? What else is anyone talking about today?
It was a very interesting day all around. The state I live in is deep Red, but the town I live in is pretty noticeably split. There's a large Red faction, but a good part of it is a defiant little blob of big mouthed Blue. And the demographics of my town are unique as well. We have tattooed students with dreadlocks sharing downtown shopping space with homeschooling Mennonites. Sunburned farmers in dark denim overalls idle their Ford trucks at red lights next to Middle Eastern exchange students in full head dress and small sports cars. The impeccably groomed country club set push their carts down the aisles of the local natural foods co-op next to the militant lesbians sporting underarm hair and t-shirts proclaiming The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own. Just about any faction you can think of is well represented.
And we see all of them at the hospital, emergencies being pretty much an equal opportunity kind of thing. In the days and months leading up to the election, there were some tense moments as paths collided. Our department was sharply divided. Our patients were sharply divided. Words were exchanged more than once, as November got closer and closer. It seemed difficult to imagine that, come January 20th, people could band together behind a candidate...no matter who won.
But that simply wasn't the case today. TV's were on throughout the entire hospital, and there were little clusters of people in front of each of them. In the waiting rooms, people watched in absolute silence as the day progressed. I saw elderly ladies high fiving each other outside of radiology, and older men who I would bet my life voted for the candidate who was not taking an oath today...and they were smiling. One of our doctors - who loathes Obama - put it quite simply. "No matter what I think of him, " he said, "he's my president now. And I'd be a fool to want him to fail."
It's not a bad way to start.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM