Mission accomplished?

Mission accomplished?

Um, huh? Are they saying Barack Obama is an alien, and that by becoming president, his mission has been accomplished? Seen on 13th between Harvard and Girard, I’ve walked by it many a time but not had my camera on me, and have desperately wanted to share my confusion since I first saw it months and months ago.

On my walk to the metro this morning, I couldn’t help but notice my own block, along with all of U street, cordoned off to traffic by police cars. Fearing some horrible crime had happened, I first asked a police officer, and then a few fellow commuters, what was up. A police officer said everything was fine, and then a fellow commuter told me a police officer let her know that Obama is coming. Thinking he’s heading to Ben’s again?

Wish I could have hung around and checked it out, but alas, I must go to work.

UPDATE: Or not? No one seems to have figured out the mystery of why U street was cordoned off this morning. Obama’s schedule indicated he didn’t leave the White House. The Israeli president was down at the Convention center, but at a mile away, why would U street be blocked off to vehicular traffic? I’ll keep an eye on this and give any further updates if I find anything out.

Ben's amended sign

Ben's amended sign

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but Ben’s has amended its sign regarding who eats for free.

Line out the door at Ben's 1/20, courtesy of Andrew Bossi (Flickr)

Line out the door at Ben's 1/20, courtesy of Andrew Bossi (Flickr)

After a year and a half of living around the corner from Ben’s Chili Bowl, I’ve only seen a line out the door and in the alley a handful of times. The first time was their 50th anniversary celebration in August of 2008, and all of the subsequent times have been in the past week. It’s insane. In a given day, I walk by Ben’s a few times getting to and from where I need to go, and nearly every time I’ve walked by since last Saturday, there’s been a line out the door. I thought it had finally gotten less busy on Friday when around 8 pm there was no line out the door, but today when I walked by around 2 pm there was a freakin’ line out the door AGAIN.

What gives? I know that Barack Obama’s visit has risen the profile of Ben’s, but surely all of the inauguration tourists have headed home by now. And it’s not like Ben’s was unbusy before President Obama visited, but you could go in at say, 5 pm on a Tuesday and have 2 people in line in front of you instead of 300. I don’t really understand where all of these people are coming from, did people who live in the area decide it’d been too long since they’d been and all head out at the same time? I don’t know.

I just hope that these long lines will dissipate and that people from the ‘hood like me can still go without waiting for 2 hours on a random afternoon. I’m glad Ben’s is doing great business (can you imagine how much money they’ve made in the last week?) but I do hope it dies down a bit so when I have a hankering for a half smoke or chili cheese fries I don’t have to wait outside in the cold for hours to get it.

Obama sworn in, courtesy of Irina Souiki (Flickr)

Obama sworn in, courtesy of Irina Souiki (Flickr)

Well, after a long day at work, I’m able to finally reflect on the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I’d went to Bush’s second inauguration in 2005, mostly because a friend got tickets, and even though I’d voted for Kerry, it was an historical event that I was able to go to because I lived in DC.

This time, it was obviously completely different: the exultation and joy from the crowd, the exuberance was palpable. It was perhaps the happiest day of my life… I remember thinking the same thing after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and I flew back to Boston to go to the parade, soak up the atmosphere, and reconnect with friends. But, this was, obviously so much bigger, on such a greater scale.

There were of course, a lot of problems in the organization of the event. A lot of misinformation and confusion, but I don’t feel the need to discuss this, as a lot of other outlets have done a very good job covering the problems.

I am just so glad that, as a District resident, I was able to witness this moment in history, and I will remember it the rest of my life.

Change has come, courtesy of Shawdra and Simon (Flickr)

Change has come, courtesy of Shawdra and Simon (Flickr)

Finally, I’m back on U street after a crazy 24 hours: spending the night at a friend’s on H street NE, walking at least 10 miles to get to and from the Mall, her place, and my place, and seeing Barack Obama be sworn in as our nation’s 44th president. I’m too tired to give more about my impressions of how the whole day ran, more of that tomorrow. I wanted to share my joy and elation that Barack Obama is no longer president-elect of the United States and now the PRESIDENT of the United Staes.

Obama inauguration, courtesy of Tiff (Flickr)

Obama inauguration, courtesy of Tiff (Flickr)

It’s been a busy past few weeks, from a job search, to working part-time, to getting a job offer, to deciding to take the job offer, to all of the paperwork after accepting the job offer. I start my job later this week, and still have a million things to do before I go in for my first day. Then I get bombarded with questions from well-meaning friends and relatives asking me what my big plans for the inauguration are, and my response is, well you know I’ve been a bit busy, I haven’t really thought that out.

Of course, I’d love to see BRUCE perform on the Mall. Totally want to see Obama’s inauguration speech in person. Though it’s probably not going to be the best place to fully listen to his speech, that’s what YouTube is for after the fact. But, is the absolute mess that’s going to be the Mall, and about a 2 mile radius of it, worth it? I’m not sure I’m convinced. Not to mention, I’m not even sure I have Tuesday off, still working on figuring that one out.

After Bush declared a state of emergency for DC (that sounds scary, doesn’t it?) I started getting worried. I wonder if it’s really going to be the mess that people are predicting: friends have predicted gridlock and mayhem Friday night till Wednesday morning.

Then there’s the whole restaurants being allowed to be open 24 hours and bars serving liquor until 4 am which makes me feel like U street is going to be a 24-hour-party zone. Google Maps does a good job of showing which establishments are going to be taking advantage of the special inauguration laws that allow them to do so. Crazy party zone is great and all, good fun. Not so much when you live on U street and don’t have great sound protection from your apartment and are a light sleeper.

Maybe I should just go hide in the suburbs and wait for it to be over. Or maybe I should just embrace the madness and enjoy it.