The photos, tweets, and video are pouring onto the web. You can literally refresh Flickr and see pages and pages of new photos. Parties, bars, and lots and lots of crowds on the mall.
There is very little I can say that hasn’t already been said more eloquently. My friend Sarah shared her experience freezing for joy on the mall (link here, if you are her friend on Facebook), Katie IMed me this morning to talk about seeing the parade and Katie Couric, and I had to debate whether my Anderson Cooper moment Sunday during the concert at the Lincoln Memorial was better or not.
I suppose the thing I would emphasize is the number of people. Walking along the mall… scratch that… baby stepping along the mall I was reminded of an interview on Marketplace during which an economist was talking about how our brains can’t handle large numbers: “We are really bad at understanding the difference between a billion and a trillion dollars.” Regardless how many people showed up to the mall yesterday, I felt very much like a dollar bill, smashed into a wallet that was trying to hold a billion dollars.
The National Mall is huge. The fact that people had a hard time getting on the mall boggles my mind. When I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I used to run laps around the National Mall late at night. A full lap going around the Lincoln Memorial, but not the Capitol Building (I didn’t care for the hill) is 4.5 miles. Anyone looking at pictures of the crowd should appreciate that pictures can never reflect the immensity of the crowd. (No peripheral view.)
As the gobs of photos Steve took will attest (here), getting off the mall was even harder. But once the crowds broke just enough that you could maintain a slow walk, we found ourselves talking to people on the street, sharing stories, and a kind of cold-numbed enthusiasm that, as one lady put it, would really be “helped by a drink.” (So we talked about wine bars in DC for the next 30 minutes as we walked a half-block.)
So we have a new president. I am not quite sure that I can claim that it has sunk in. Perhaps I need an episode of John Stewart first.