Prologue: Eyes & Ears


I’m not sure which day is which, I wasn’t even sure what day of the week it was last night. My car is in Georgetown, three buttons are missing from the coat I wore in Ireland, I’m finding Hawaiian leis everywhere, I cant seem to get full no matter what I eat and finally my immune system has given up and sprouted me a cold sore.

Before I get judged, I was not drunk the entire time. Oh no, I wanted to be sober for this, just as I was for GWB’s second inauguration four years ago. Although I didn’t exactly stay sober for four days, the reason I cant piece things together has less to do with booze and more to do with the sheer volume of activity.

I’m a visual person. Scenes, colors, faces, light, those are what stick in my head. I fumble with remembering exact words spoken, I forget names the second after I meet a person, but I’ll remember the way their shirt was tucked in, their wrinkles or the shape of their hand in a handshake. I listen mind you, but my brain is remembering like six different kinds of things in addition to actively paying attention to words, which is why I’m having to descramble my image inventory now that I’ve slept.blurred-street

Here’s what I remember initially. Forthcoming posts will be more detailed as things sort out, but for now this is the best I can do. While Id like to be iterative with events, I also am trying to be more iterative about the way I write them down, instead of waiting for some perfect homily to come out.

Diamond, shes an eight year old black girl and shes standing right beside me and hundreds of other people who are cramped on a grassy knoll near the intersection of 14th st and K. Shes bustled in a brown suede jacket and her teeth are a smattering of baby ones and permanents. Shes there with her grandmother and auntie from Detroit, her sister and parents couldnt come because her sister was having ear surgery. I find this funny because I have had multiple ear surgeries and its not a surgery you hear a lot about. I also find this funny because we couldnt see shit, esp not Diamond and my ears were the most important thing I had workin for me.

She was well behaved and just sat, staring at the adults butts in front of her. Eyes closed trying to listen as people around her tried to angle for better views of the megatrons (which was useless). It finally occurred to me that I could pick her up and give her a better view, so I did. I was freezing cold having stood still for about two hours, so I didn’t mind trying to lift her up, 20 lb fur lined suede overcoat and all. I looked down at her and said “you want me to lift you up?” She stared at me for a while and after getting an approval from her auntie, grinned and nodded. They warned me that she was heavy (her auntie was a little thing, and had already tried), but I didn’t care.

She was able to look around, see the megatrons and told us what she saw. “I see Obama”, and then another huge grin. She kept smiling at me, with that “you are a stranger and I’m sort of weirded out, but you seem cool” sort of half staring smile. I kept reassuring her relatives that I was fine holding her so long as they were and Diamond kept relaying back what she was seeing. I had given up hours before trying to see anything, and now Diamond was my eyes. I told her to just keep watching, and as the oath was recited she said “Hes about to do it!” and the crowd around us cheered. Diamond was all of our eyes.blurred-cap

Diamond’s cheeks the size of plums and big brown eyes that were intelligent. For two hours, she never complained about the weather, asked to go to the bathroom or fidgeted. After I put her down, and when the speech was over, we talked about her favorite books and tv shows and about her future campaign for President. We couldn’t move and so we killed the time by quizzing eachother on our “favorites” and what they had done in DC. Again, I cant remember all of her answers, but I can’t forget her face and that grin.

And the week/end was a huge mix of this. Being in blocked spots, walking long distances, shared personal space, crowds, lines, music I couldn’t see being played, and many many cabs. I had to see with my ears and hear with my eyes.

Which is why this is a little hard to piece together. Heres the list of what I think happened this weekend, and I’ll spend the day figuring out when and where it happened:

Eithiopean nachos

Budweiser and getting “off the road”

Jocks in Obama shirts and turtlenecks


Echo Boomers Car Party and Hickey rhyming live


The sound of ice being shaved

Two dozen gorgeous women offering a baseline of drumming that might have changed my heartbeat

The Omega step team

Hummus like no other hummus at Proof

The taste of hot rum tea

Tex’s intense frickin eyebrows and “the coat”

Losing people in crowds

My Manhattan at the Willard

Rick the florist

The drunk Coastgaurdsmen and his wife

Flashing police lights that made DC look like a disco



Portopotty perches

A lady falling bass ackwards into the dumpster she was trying to sit on

Four smiling five year old boys sitting in a row

Unexpected booth smooches

Getting lost within the first 10 minutes of hitting the Mall

Lots and lots of Ibuprofen for endless toothaches

A 4am portrait

Being the only cab on 395 on Inauguration Day


Useless cell phones

The whup whup whup of a specific chopper flying overhead

I think that was David Arquette

Would you like to try our “Obama on the Rocks”?

Running into my exes ex. That was fun.

Hawaiian flowers everywhere

The hottub and steamroom session of the century. Thank you Ritz.

Wishing Alice would sing Oh Beautiful

Actually enjoying Sheryl Crows music

Rez’s dreads

DC suddenly being the home of the worlds nicest cabbies

Showing my littlest sister my art

Crab dip and Bar portraits in the Old Ebbitt

Seeing my brother for about half a minute



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