Today is not only inauguration day but also Martin Luther King day. The google doodle has MLK on it. I skipped the inaugural parade devoting the entire day towards preparing for tonight’s ball. I felt like I was in a beauty pageant the whole day: keeping my hair in pins and breaking in my shoes. I didn’t remove my rollers except to make a CVS run to bandages and Pepsi. It was crazy to devote so much energy towards one event, but then I realized that there were only two inaugural balls this year and I would be attending one of them! While others shelled out $100 to $500 for unofficial balls, I paid $65 for an official ticket.
As soon as CNN reported that President Obama and the First Lady were en route to the convention center, I put on my gown, slipped in my shoes, got in my coat and headed outside to hail a cab. The first man told me that I had to walk. Being an inaugural ball vet, I knew that wasn’t true so I walked to the Courtyard hotel and hailed a second one who took me within 1 block of the convention center. That was darn good driving with all of those barricades and people getting out of cabs in the middle of the street! I walked the one block, passed through the metal detector with flying colors and proceeded to stand in line: for everything. It felt like it was run by the Soviets. I stood in the line for the coat check (The volunteers dropped that little tidbit that it would cost $5 per item. I was lucky I had change from the cabbie else I would had to wear my coat on me throughout the ball.). After dropping out my coat, I stood in another line, this time for photos. In the beginning, two volunteers were snapping pictures, but the male volunteer talked with his boss who pulled him and the female volunteer. Rats! Where there was order was now chaos; but, a man two couples behind took over and starting taking pictures. Order was restored allowing me to take 2 photos in front of the presidential inaugural seal.
There were cutbacks this time. Unlike 2009, there was no professional photographer forcing people to have other attendees take their photos. Also there wasn’t a whole lot of food. This didn’t bother me because I ate before arriving. I headed to the ball. Hearing Stevie Wonder was a very good thing and I boarded the down escalator for the dance floor. The fact that Stevie Wonder ended his set singing ‘Happy Birthday’, the very same song used to promote the federal Martin Luther King holiday on President Obama’s inauguration, more than compensated because it didn’t get any more historical than that. Next was Jamie Foxx who serenaded the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden during their dance. Afterward it was John Legend and finally, Soundgarden, who truly rocked it out (As much as I loved Darrin Criss from Glee, Amber Riley had not business waddling around with back fat and bad tattoos at this presidential inaugural ball so Glee will be skipped!).
Jamie Foxx with Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden
John Legend with band
Heading back up the escalator, there was a very long coat check line. It looked like they were handing out free stuff! The line snaked all the way past the coat check sign. It took me 10-15 minutes just to get my coat. But I couldn’t even get mine without drama because someone had to take a photo right when I was standing in line in front of the coat check sign. Sheesh! Get this over with already! Then I had a line jumper (behind me of course, because my nerves were getting bad) who stepped on my gown twice! Finally, after getting my coat I had my picture taken and just like that one random scalawag intentionally walks in front of me taking my photo. She nearly got cursed out. Well, at least I got another photo.
I walked through the convention center ready to embark on the ultra fun activity of hailing a cab in winter through the barricade. I felt like an X-Game event. The cabbie missed the Mass Ave tunnel so I took it to him demanding my 75 cents in charge when I arrived at home. Normally, I’d let it slide but not this time. He gave me a whole dollar and I entered my building, turned the corner, took off my heels walking barefoot the rest of the way home. Frustrating turned into joy because I realized that not too many people get to attend an official inaugural ball. And I did it twice!