Saturday, January 24, 2009

PurpleGate Theme Song? Nothing Fits

I have been trying to find a song that best describes my feelings about my inauguration day experience and it's been a struggle. None really has the right combination of name, lyrics, and vibe. Here are a few I have considered:

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for? - Clearly a good song, with some potential...but too monotonous in its cadence. When I got off the metro at 7:30am and walked toward the big sign that said Purple Gate, I was hopeful and excited. I had just called Debbie to say, essentially, "I'm here and no problem." And while I was stuck in the triangle of people up against the security fence just ~50 feet from the "gate," the energy was much more kinetic than this song implies.

Purple Rain? The angst in this song most definitely captures the heart wrenching feeling I felt as the minutes ticked away and my progress in the "line" did not keep pace with passing time. For instance, from 9 - 10 am I moved about 15 feet. Prince's great song is so dramatic and dense that I think it would be apropos if I had been in the actual Purple Tunnel of Doom.

Outside Looking In by Mary Chapin Carpenter? Certainly felt this way as I was pressed up against the security fence watching purple ticket holders trickle in...and as TSA types stood around most of the first two hours waiting for people to approach the magnetrons. People around me talked to the police officers on the other side of the fence multiple times. They kept telling us to be patient and that they had informed people "outside" that the lines were not moving...

Frustrated by the Knack? 10:40 My skin is crawling from feeling trapped and feeling like I was doing nothing to increase the possibility of getting in. The driving beat of this song mirrors the beating of my heart as I decided to bolt from the area where I was trapped and try to make my way around to the "top" of the gate - where, rumor had it, you could "just walk in." Was I going to be a cheater but one who saw history in person? I got up there and it was no better. Baby steps too slow.

The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go? This is what I started to feel about 11:00. Panic. Because of the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue, there was no way I was going to make it to the "cheap seats" on the mall in time...I consulted my map and determined that I'd have to walk 20 blocks, then fight to get into the mall. Should I wait and pray the gate miraculously opened up to a wider flow of people? Go to a bar and watch on TV? Or should I run, on my healing vertebrae, to the Metro and pray for an immediate train, perfect ride, and Debbie's willingness to come get me moments before the historic oath was administered...

Which brings me back to so many good songs with "waiting" in their title - The Waiting (is the hardest part) by Tom Petty? What you Waiting For by Gwen Stefani? And the most relevant title, and therefore winner if there had been: Bob Marley's classic Waiting In Vain. While, like many of the not-quite-right songs, it's about unrequited love, these lyrics bring back the feeling I had that morning better than any:
Tears in my eyes burn - tears in my eyes burn
While I'm waiting - while I'm waiting for my turn
And then I took the metro home and watched on TV