i almost peed my pants in washington d.c.
Here’s a modified version of the story I wrote about our D.C. trip for my school paper, The Westfield Voice.
My sisters and departed from Scanlon Hall at Westfield State College at 10:00 p.m. and arrived at the Hyatt in D.C. around 5:30 a.m. We were given maps (which didn’t even have the Hyatt on them and were completely unhelpful all day) and breakfast and then sent on our merry way. My sisters and I knew the crowd to get onto the mall was going to be ridiculously crowded, and even at 7 a.m. a huge line was forming. Since actually seeing the inauguration was going to be an impossibility, we decided to walk around and check out some museums, and then we would listen to and/or watch the ceremony on one of the alleged “big screens” that would be set up in the city. After an hour or so of walking without any luck finding anything (the map and the millions of police offers were no help at all) we gave up and went back to the Hyatt. We rested there for a while and around 11 o’ clock ventured back outside. Little did we know that this would be the beginning of our experience as inaugural hobos.
Because there was little-to-no signage in the city, it took us forever to learn where a good area to listen to or watch (on a big screen) Obama’s speech was (it turns out this was “no area”). By the time we figured it out it was too late and everything was gated off, and the “lucky” ones were trapped like sardines from the Capital to God-knows-where with a few big screens and a lot of bladder control. My sisters and I were not among the lucky few (million) and instead roamed around the city looking for some form of entertainment because any museum we wanted to go to was blocked off and any bar or restaurant was over capacity, and if they weren’t over capacity they were closing for the parade or for inaugural balls later that evening. We thought, “Hey at least we will get to hear the Inauguration and that’s the whole point,” but guess what? We didn’t hear a lick of the speech. There were NOT speakers or televisions or anything set up in the rest of the city. In fact, my sisters and I were in a Starbucks bathroom line getting screamed at by the employees while Obama was being inaugurated.
So that’s pretty much what my day Tuesday consisted of. Walking around in the bitter cold looking for somewhere to go that wouldn’t kick us out onto the streets. This is otherwise known as homelessness.
I heard from students later on that there were some designated places in the city for people in the same position as us to go and get some shelter. Unfortunately, nobody told us about these places. In fact, nobody told us anything. The school basically gave us a bus ride to D.C. with no information, no schedule, and a terrible map. Not to mention that the bus picked us up in a different spot than originally planned, which, when added to hypothermia and delirium, is pretty infuriating.
Bottom line is this: Thanks for the trip, Westfield, but can a girl get an itinerary? If I wanted to walk around in the cold for eight hours with absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go, I would just get on the horn with Lucifer himself, because on Tuesday I was pretty much walking around in my own personal hell.