"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Watch - 9:10 - 9:30

The crowds are really getting larger. The mood is still upbeat but the frustration levels are rising - one reporter described them as at 9.9 on a ten point Richter scale. The temperature dropped, slightly, and the breezes are picking up. Made it pretty chilly. They are now getting a little more cloud cover and that may actually keep the temperature from continuing to drop.

People are standing in line the full length of the third street tunnel holding silver tickets but the line is scarcely moving. There is some frustration that "ticket holders" are stuck in a line while people just showing up are already on the mall, partying it up. Police officers line the area and are stationed every ten feet.

On the mall, the mood continues to be very upbeat. They are interviewing many people in the crowd and seem to focusing quite a bit on African Americans. Lots of smiles, very enthusiastic, many have come from far flung cities and everyone they've broadcast has been patient and thrilled to be there.

Away from the mall, there are reportedly many, many people who have showed up without a real plan and who aren't familiar with the area. They are asking people for directions and seem lost. Not a good day to do that.

The crowds have reportedly been considerate of people with medical emergencies. there are reports of a woman in shoulder to shoulder crowds crying out that she was having an asthma attack. The crowd moved away a step or so (that is all the room they have) to give her breathing room. I haven't heard how she is doing but hopefully the asthma attack passed. As one reporter worried, will this good will last if the actual inauguration starts and they are still stuck in line in the tunnel? He reported that he had no idea how all those people would be processed by 11:30.

Ominously, a woman in that same area went into full cardiac arrest. The crowds and media attempted to assist her but it took over fifteen minutes for an ambulance to arrive due to the crowds. Just no way around it. Reportedly, she is not doing well so keep her in your prayers.

Reporter after reporter has expressed surprise at how long it has taken them to get where they need to be. Even the reporters aren't sure how to get around and they are generally familiar with the streets. Several have reported that it has taken them over three hours to simply get from one side of the city to the other.

It is all very interesting, to me. I hope they are having a good time and get home safely.

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