“No purple tickets.” In a glance that e-mail subject line sent me back 4 years. On this weekend in 2009, I’d flown cross-country for the sole purpose of seeing 2 swearings-in: that of incoming Vice President Joe Biden, by my former boss, Justice John Paul Stevens, and, of course, that of the incoming President by the Chief Justice. Prompting my there-and-back-again journey? Without asking, I’d been sent an inaugural ticket, truly an invitation not to be refused.
Setting off the engraved ticket was a border in purple – a color code that would steer me into a Capitol Hill tunnel, to stand in line, for hours. And hours. As I posted then of that tunnel:
‘There thousands of us spent more than 3 hours, emerging only to find that the purple gate had not opened and none of us would get in. We could see little more than the spire of the Capitol, and could hear nothing.
‘Thank goodness for the 1 among us who’d had the good sense to bring a transistor. Clustered around her at the intersection of Louisiana and C, we heard a musical interlude, then the oath that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. administered to Barack Hussein Obama, and then the speech. The sounds alone brought smiles even to the faces of the purple dispossessed.’
Thus it is that a friend just e-mailed me while she waits in line to join the festivities on the Mall: “No purple tickets … They didn’t even use that color this time because everyone has PTSD.” And NBC reports that today “the Purple Tunnel of Doom … will be closed” all day.
Here’s hoping for all good things at today’s inauguration – which I’ll be watching from the comfort of home.