Inauguration Day Zen 

The Presidential Inauguration has dominated the living room television around here for over a week now. Dirtman has been firmly ensconced in front of MSNBC, taking breaks to - for some reason - check the internet.

Before dawn the morning of the inauguration, he was riveted in front of the television where a split screen showed the rear end of an idling car and the curb of an empty street while a commentator chattered on and on about an itinerary that wouldn't begin for another few hours.

I would have complained that, Historic Event or not, the bills still have to be paid; but any future client of ours seems to be focused on the ceremony also. The only ones making money this week are area hotels and restaurants . . . and Oprah Winfrey, who has moved her show to the nation's capital for a few days. Because, you know, there isn't enough chaos going on in Washington, D.C., this week.

I am pleased with the outcome of the election. And I do recognize the significance of this country having elected President Obama. I am happy for him, happy for his family and happy for our country. He seems to be a man of intelligence and integrity. President Obama delivered an articulate inaugural speech that, while in content matched just about every inaugural speech I've heard, promises to provide a momentous boost to the nation merely because he was the one who delivered it.

That being said, I have laundry to do.

I'll join the maniacal celebration when just a fraction of all the speculation and promise comes to fruition. But my enthusiasm at this moment falls short of canonization, unlike the bulk of the media covering the ceremonies. I thought MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was going to pass out from gushing adoration - using, of course, only the most pompous and pretentious words in the dictionary.

I told Dirtman I'd sit and watch the ceremonies with him if he could make Olbermann shut up. So we watched the balance of the Inauguration on C-SPAN, blessedly devoid of pundit commentary.

I can't help but be amused by all the anti-establishment celebrities at Sunday's concert being forced into sedate clothing and language. I mean, did I really see Jack Black and Kal Penn (as in the stoner movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) "orating" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial? What, were Cheech and Chong busy?

I did finally figure out why Dirtman was checking the internet so religiously. His second favorite website - next to DCRTV - is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather website. Apparently he could not access the "weather warnings" page for Washington, D.C. He was sure this was a conspiracy.

"A Bush conspiracy or an Obama conspiracy?" I asked.

"Not sure yet," he answered, staring intently at the screen.

"Or maybe it's neither," I suggested. "Maybe NOAA has been planning an Inauguration Day coup d' etat all this time."

"That is just ridiculous," he scoffed.

The Inaugural festivities have affected even our placid existence all the way over here in the Shenandoah Valley - full hour form the Washington suburbs and that's if you drive fast. Hotels here are booked solid. This weekend out-of-state cars wandered haplessly over country roads, observing our "rusticity" and "provinciality", taking outdated directions from their GPS units and winding up on dead end roads.

Technology was the first thing to suffer from the invasion; even the "emergency temporary" cell phone towers haven't helped the overload. I consider myself lucky if I can check my e-mail once a day. Maybe Dirtman is right. It is a conspiracy - to prevent me from helping that poor man from Nigeria that keeps contacting me.

To further Dirtman's conviction, HBO bought the exclusive rights to Sunday's Lincoln Memorial concert. This meant only people with cable, a satellite dish or the internet could view the concert. So, basically, the only people in the valley who couldn't access the concert were Dirtman's parents.

I reminded him that I don't see his parents getting too upset about missing will i. am or Bono - nor was I particularly anxious to have to explain those two names to them.

And to top it all off, the area experienced the first snow fall of the winter just in time for the ceremony.

None of this, of course, affected the pomp and pageantry that went on long into the night.

As for me: Before inauguration - do laundry, shovel snow; after inauguration - do laundry, shovel snow.

Copyright (c) 2007, SteelWill, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Spot On is a trademark of SteelWill, Inc.

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