Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The worm has turned.

Here we are on a new day, with our new, inspiring president. The worm has turned; to me the country feels like a completely different place than it did even at 11:59 a.m. yesterday. It’s as if the pall we have been smothering beneath has been lifted, or like an invigorating, positive wind is blowing the stench of the decaying evil of the last administration out of our streets and homes. Goodbye, George Bush, you malevolent fool; enjoy clearing out the brush at your ranch while we clear out the destruction you and Dr. Evil have wreaked on this country (does anyone else think Cheney looks even scarier in his wheelchair?).

The Obamas started their day today with a prayer service at the National Cathedral, which is apparently what new presidents do on their first day in office. As Cindy noted in her most recent post, this follows an inauguration day saturated with prayer services and invocations and benedictions and all sorts of religious crap that seems so out of place in a country founded on the idea of separation of church and state. I personally find it offputting, but as long as nobody forces me to go to church or live my “life in Christ,” I will go with the flow. But… did you hear the pastor who gave the sermon this morning!!?? He had one of the creepiest voices I had ever heard, and if I had been Sasha or Malia, I would have been giggling uncontrollably in my pew.

Ah, Washington. I do think back on it so fondly, having lived there for a total of about 10 years. I lived and went to school near the National Cathedral for a few years in middle school and high school, and went back for law school and a few years of practice after that. My own memories of the cathedral are not quite as lofty as will be those of the politicians and their families who attend; rather, my friend M. and I used to meet there after dinner in the summer to smoke cigarettes and look out over the city from the cathedral gardens. Or, I would walk by it when I took the bus back up Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown after an afternoon spent hanging around the clearly gay clerk at Commander Salamander (“I’m sure he’s just bi; I think he was flirting with me!”) and sitting in the window booth at Roy Rogers drinking a Coke and smoking yet more cigarettes. Yes, that was a LONG time ago.

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I moved away from D.C. to London; I know it has really changed since then. I’ve been back a few times to visit friends over the years, and each time I’ve been amazed by the number of new restaurants and new “up-and-coming” neighborhoods. Something tells me that my next trip back there, however, which will likely be to introduce two small boys to the wonder of the Air and Space Museum, won’t provide me with the opportunity to see the Washington I’d like to see – which, honestly, is one that represents the kind of engagement with a city that it’s hard to have anywhere with small children. I think – but then I’m not the most talented when it comes to integrating the concepts of children and continuing to experience an intellectually and culturally stimulating life. I need some lessons in that.

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