Within a few hours I'll be arriving in Washington DC to attend the second inauguration of George W. Bush.
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Dubya - heck, if this was an episode of OZ I'd wear a dress for the guy - but I never imagined I'm make it out there. I'd thought about it for a moment back in November, but contented myself with hosting a party on Inauguration Day; the moola just wasn't there.
Then my cousin called.
(She's actually the granddaughter of my maternal great-uncle - I have no idea what that actually makes her, but 'cousin' is as good as anything else, even if it unfairly groups her in the shadow of my greatness)
Until her call I didn't know there was another Republican in my family. I'm used to fans of JKF, unions, and the Tedster at family gatherings, not Reagan.
What's next, my Grandma telling me she's into S&M?
Not only is my cousin a Republican, she's apparently held in much higher esteem by the party. She was offered tickets to the inauguration, and the parade, and a congressional dinner, and one of the balls.
Yet I'm the one offering to pimp myself to the White House. Go figure.
Her husband (God bless his frugal heart!) said he wasn't going to pay to attend an event he could watch for free on TV. So she offered his ticket to me.
The decision to go wasn't as easy as you'd think. I'd just exhausted my finances on Christmas, and had only a few months to prepare a nursery for my son's arrival. Logically, saying yes was foolish and selfish.
Thankfully, a lot of people rallied to give me a helping hand. My boss's husband, who works for an airline, secured me a plane ticket. My father-in-law (he of the wrathful anti-Bush tirades of October) borrowed me a tux with all the fixings. My best friend borrowed me a digital camera to replace the one I'd broken, and a newly engaged employee desperate for cash gleefully swallowed up my hours at work.
There have been bumps in the road. One of my original conversations about the event included the suggestion that I fly into Baltimore, as it was considerably closer to our hotel than D.C. Fine, I made plans to fly into Maryland.
Except it's not closer. It's forty-five minutes away, and I won't have a car.
No sooner had that been ironed out than a deal I'd brokered with the hotel fell through. Having spent six years in the hospitality industry I found a way to bypass a restriction on the reservation by chatting up one of the night clerks.
The next day I received a call from the clerk, saying her boss had called her nuts and wiped out the plan.
Of course, by then I had written my cousin to tell her that her po' relation had come through in the clutch ..
Not that I mind sleeping on the floor. The floor of a Hilton is almost certainly better than most hotel beds I've used.
Probably because most of the beds I've used rent by the hour . . .
Still, I'll miss my family and I'm upset they won't get a chance to share the trip of a lifetime. But they're happy for me.
Unlike some people.
I called a friend - a legitimate Socialist - and told him I was going to D.C.
"Why?" he said.
"For the inauguration," I said.
"To protest, I hope," he said dryly.
Ah, the diversity of our fair nation.