Saturday, January 21, 2017

puke-'n'-rally



March Day. I was up puking at 5 AM. I hadn’t slept. My wonderful girlfriend, while prepping for her 6 AM drive, helped me procure a puke bucket, some mint tea, water. She even cleaned the bathroom floor. 

To relax, I put on some Everly Brothers documentaries (they’re MY Paw Patrol, ya see). After napping a bit, I reemerged and contemplated missing this protest, sitting around reading tweets, wondering if I have any Italian Four Cheese Cheez-its left, missing the chance to kiss my girlfriend at the party of the year….

I rallied. 

As she later put it (in a Seinfeldian way), it was a puke-’n’-rally!

I got on the road at 11, and by the time I drove to the northernmost D.C. Metro stop in Greenbelt, Maryland, the entire corresponding off-ramp was CLOSED, a sign flashing “LOT FULL.” "What an annoying yet beautiful sight!" a tired and dehydrated Greg thought. There were so many people at this one particular Metro stop that even the surrounding apartment complexes and office parks were jam-packed with commuters’ cars.

Nicky got there at 10:00 and couldn't even board a train until 12:00. With my delayed start, I didn't have to wait at all. Hey - thanks, vomit!!

The cell providers pushed to their max, I arrived in D.C. with no way to reach Nicky among the (at least) half-million people. I was pretty far from the actual march route, but it seemed that there were marchers all around me anyway. So many, in fact, that I had no clue which direction to walk in. After a brief panic, I relaxed and went into photographer mode. 

Before long, I was simply IN the march - the first time in my life - and I felt elated. It was AMAZING. I’d gone expecting to focus on the celebrity speakers. As it turned out, I never even found the stage; the real joy was in being part of this gigantic mass of smiling, singing, chanting people. Like riding a wave. 

I’d had the UNDERSTANDING that only a quarter of our people actually voted for Drumpf, but out here on the streets, you could FEEL that this is not his country and will never be. It dawned on me that we have a common focus and that’s how BIG change happens. 

At a certain point, a few of my queued-up texts started to send. I received a few lagged texts from Nicky, as well. We were in touch long enough for me to learn that she was across town at the Washington Monument. I asked someone where it was and attempted to make my way down 15th Street to meet up with her.

This proved to be impossible. The flow of humanity coming the other way was so vast and forceful that I had to just stop on a corner and hope she’d receive my text about my updated location. I hung out by a cop car eating an orange when, suddenly, there she was! I kissed her on 15th Street and we rejoined the march, together.