Listen, if you want to go down there and stand for hours in the cold with 500,000+ other people, by all means do it! But me...listen, I'm not un-American -- I love celebrities just as much as the next person! -- but let me just state my case here.
(Please keep in mind that I got a Showtime freeview last weekend and watched almost the entire first season of "Homeland," and I've been borrowing the Boyfriend's Xfinity log-in to watch the rest of them this weekend, so I'm a little paranoid.)
1. I hate crowds. As I typed that I remembered that I did brave the crowds to go see Stephen Colbert prance around onstage in a patriotic jumpsuit. So, okay, I can be persuaded to stand in a crowd. What really freaks me out about this particular crowd is all the foreigners. I'm not talking about non-Americans -- I'm talking about people in khaki cargo pants who drove hours to get here, are paying up the wazoo for a hotel room, and have been standing out there since 5:30 a.m. to watch the 44th President be "sworn in" (not really) on a giant screen. Those people? I don't understand, and their zeal scares me.
2. I hate traffic. My dear, sweet former coworker (you know who you are, and it was worth it!) had a farewell party in Alexandria yesterday, and, while roads were not supposed to close until either midnight last night or 5:30 this morning, they closed yesterday. Leaving the city was bad. Coming back in was ludicrous. I drove on streets I didn't know existed. At one point, we were detoured down an alley. AN ALLEY. It's not even a road! And don't get me started on the absence of detour signs. Oh no. All the drivers were just left for dead. When my tank "empty" light came on, I just laughed. And then I was detoured again and I looked at the police officer and shook my fist at him, like an old man. Like a crotchety, paperboy-hat-wearing, ornery, old man.
3. I'm pretty sure everyone's in the CIA, Al Qaeda, or both. I need to finish the second season of "Homeland" asap so I can return to reality. Or am I already in reality? Last night, when I was detoured up and down Independence Ave., I had a moment of sheer terror when I noticed all the women in birkas walking around close to midnight. It took me a moment to realize they were just girls in long, black coats (and a few stupidly without one) leaving inaugural balls and searching for cabs. HA! (I have a feeling there's a lot of tired feet this morning -- no cabbies were dumb enough to get in the detour mess.) The only thing that keeps me grounded is seeing the Farragut Square scenes that are shot in some lush, large, new park that is hundreds of miles away from Farragut Square. However, I'm not taking any chances when I have a perfectly good TV.
4. I have a perfectly good TV. One thing living in DC will do to you is desensitize you to the idea that it's really cool to say "I was there!" We're "there" for something all the time. One day I well tell my kids about my years in DC, and they will think it's sorta cool. Their friends may find me slightly cooler, but more so because I plan to always have some yummy baked goods on hand. So I'm content pausing from my "Homeland" marathon to watch the President's speech and check out Michelle's new haircut. (Do we like it?)
5. Okay, it would be cool to see Kelly Clarkson, accompanied by the Marine Corps Band, sing live. Which kind of is the main point. If that's more exciting to me than seeing the President speak, it's not worth it for me to go out there. I thought DC would make me politically-minded, and it has, but more so it's been getting older and more mature, and learning and understanding what's really important to me and what my values are. During the presidential campaign, I was torn, as most of our nation was. But what is done is done, and I'm aware that the state of things isn't just about the President -- it's about Congress, it's about the economy, the world situation, the Millennials, our obsession with celebrities, our disinterest in the decade-long war, and so many other things.
So today, I don't find myself unpatriotic by enjoying my day off and watching the inauguration at home, and I think it's great that so many people are spending their day off to stand on the National Mall. To each his own. But I do believe the most patriotic thing we can all do is pray for our President and all our leaders, as Timothy exhorted us to do (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
Oh heeeeeeey Beyonce.