"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It's my invitation. To attend and participate. In the Inaugural activities.

No, I'm not going. Never intended to go. Yes, I could go. Many people I know are going, and not all of them are legislators. This invitation isn't a ticket. You must have a ticket--to the inauguration itself, to the balls. Yes, I could've had them for the asking. I didn't ask.

In recent days, hearing my friends' and colleagues' hectic planning, their logistical gyrations, the weather forecasts, etc. all make me very glad to be staying home. One attendee told me that the Million on the Mall (or however many they will be) will actually have a better view of proceedings, via the jumbotrons, than the 125,000 (or however many they will be) who are official ticketed guests.

I confess, I expected to feel more conflicted about staying home than I do. After all, this is an event of historic proportions--on so many levels--for which I've longed since August, 2004 (the night of the Democratic Convention in Boston and then-Senator Obama's speech). Joyous as the occasion will be, dearly as I love Washington (my mother's home town), these are incontrovertible facts:

--I've been travelling a lot since I was in DC in Sept. and have a resulting sense of inertia

--My joy would be greatly impaired by having to stand in cold and windchill for 4 hours (or more) without water, food, toilet access, etc.

--I would miss all the informative commentary and the superiour access and panoramic vistas provided by the television cameras

--I've already attended a Washington ball, not that long ago. That said, "our" inaugural ball, the New Hampshire one, has the best title of all: The Grits & Granite Ball. It's a joint celebration with South Carolina, the 2nd Presidential primary state, and ours, the First-in-the-Nation Primary State. Almost everyone I know will be there. The First Couple is expected to pop in.

--The elegant, comfortable, and conveniently situated house where I normally stay in Washington can't accommodate me

--Transportation gridlock would make me insane

--Did I mention it's going to be really cold? And that attendees will have to stand outside? And walk everywhere?

In honour of the occasion (and because leadership and a large chunk of the majority party are headed to the Capitol) there are no NH legislative activities scheduled on Tuesday. I intend to spend the day it in front of my television. I can cuddle on the sofa with warm dogs. Build a fire. Imbibe hot tea at will. And let emotion overwhelm me in the comfort and privacy of my own home, sweet home.

Thanks for the Invitation, Inaugural Committee. Another cherished keepsake of an incredible and intense election cycle. I'll be celebrating, for sure--but wouldn't want to do it anywhere else but here at the Lodge.

However...I have expressed to the Chap that I'm tempted to stake our claim on our rooms in that wonderful Washington house for the next Inauguration...in 2012!

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