January 18th was my daughter’s “golden birthday.” She chose Coquine for dinner, since her one of her dreams is to be a chef and it’s the closest gourmet spot to our place. It was Violet, her boyfriend George, my mom and myself. No time to gush, I’ll just say it was the most delicious meal we’ve ever had. Violet hopes to be interning at Coquine in the near future! Spent the rest of my night packing and doing searches for places to stay in NYC, on Couchsurfing.
Was up by 5am the next morning. You might recall Portland was juuuust beginning to thaw after weeks buried under a sheet of snow and ice. East Tabor (where we live) is always last to melt, so it was a little stressful wondering if I’d be sliding down the hill on my rear with my gear. We’d all had a chuckle the night before about my new eyebrow twitch, something that happens when there are too many thoughts and ideas whizzing around in my head. Then a friend offered a ride to the airport, as long as his older, rear-wheel-drive Volvo would make the trek.
He was only a minute late when I sent a text, “All good?”
“Had a dead battery. On my way!”
Oye vey. He came in for coffee (to go), which put us a whopping twenty minutes behind schedule. No biggie; I allow for wiggle room when scheduling. Out front, the car started fine, but as he pressed the gas, the car just spun it’s wheels. We were stuck in the icy muck!
He said, “Uh oh, you might have to get out and push.”
Cue eyebrow twitch. At last, he threw the car into reverse and got us outta there. Made it to the airport in plenty of time, boarded a flight that was disproportionately full of women, most of whom were headed to the Women’s March in DC. Including the woman in my row, next to the window. We introduced ourselves, shaking hands across the lap of the attractive man in the middle. (During layover, he and I had a beer in the Denver airport.)
The second flight was half empty; snagged a row of Economy Plus seats, popped a Benadryl and conked out. Landed in NYC around 7pm. Low-and-behold, the traffic outside LGA was. Not. Moving. Stood for a solid fifteen minutes at the bus stop, as the cars in the street just sat there. Nothing but a chorus of angry honking, engines running, frustrated travelers going nowhere. I’ve got gobs of patience, but not for this! Especially since I was aiming to check out the protest outside Trump Tower before catching the 10pm train to DC. Situated myself in what seemed like a straight shot to Manhattan and left the airport on foot.
Walked about a mile before coming to a place where traffic was actually moving. Hopped on a bus, then transferred to subway, which dropped me halfway between Trump Tower and Penn Station. It was 8:30pm; after a few minutes walking in one direction, the scheduling nazi in me said there wasn’t enough time to investigate the protest. Besides, it’d started at 6pm, might’ve been close to over by now. Turned around and made my way to Penn Station, only stopping at a food cart for some chicken on a stick. And a liquor store, for a small bottle of whiskey.
At 10pm they announced what gate the DC train was at, triggering a massive surge of people, who formed a large bottleneck, funneling through the entry point. Ended up sitting next to a dude who must’ve been a Trumper – he was headed to the inauguration. And he was a more than a little jealous when he saw I had a ticket in the blue section, thanks to a friend who works for a congressman. He didn’t understand what women were going to be marching for the following day. Given my current state of exhaustion, felt no desire to educate him. No words. Sipped my whiskey and went to sleep.
The train arrived in DC at 1:30am. Transportation was tricky because the area around Union Station was a high security zone, most of the roads closed. Hoofed it for a while in a logical direction before requesting a ride, via Lyft. Arrived at the house where I’d be spending the next few nights around 2:30am. Wasn’t much time for sleep; got right to it.
Check back soon for Part 2: a party with 4,200 free joints at Dupont Circle, Trump’s weakly-attended inauguration, and the associated protests-turned-chaos in the DC streets.