Natasha's notes - the grass is always greener on the other side Life & Style

Monday, February 16, 2009 by Natasha Sanch United States

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I flew last week to Washington to see the Obama Inauguration, and also to make sure that Bush was, in fact, leaving. (He did, don't worry. I checked!). I wish I could tell you that I was moved by the millions of people present at the Inauguration. I wish I could describe hugging and rejoicing with strangers as we looked up towards the podium as this thin, young politician took power over the most powerful institution in the most powerful country in the world.
But I can't.
There were 250,000 tickets given away for the Inauguration. I was given a blue ticket- and was supposed to have gone through security lines before the Inauguration started at noon. I got there at 7:00am and waited until 11:45am. There was no order; only chaos. No lines were distinguished, and people were jumping over crowd barriers to cut in line to the very top. Uniformed officers simply looked on as bigger people pushed aside others to get closer. I realized that even though I was only a 1/2 kilometer away from history, I was going to miss the greatest speech of the decade. In a few minutes, it was all over. I could hear the thunderous applause from hundreds of thousands of hands, while I was stuck at the back of an industrial building. Now, I'm one of those people who sigh in exaggerated annoyance whenever I'm waiting in 'line' (can I even characterize it as a line?) for an Alitalia flight. However, in this case, I have to admit an exception. Washington had three months and $150 million to plan the best inauguration and the most organized crowd control (250,000 registered ticket holders) on record. Yet, there were thousands of people who, like me, traveled far distances and were greatly disappointed. I have to say that Italy scores much higher in this regard. When a Pope passes away, the Vatican has only 3 days to prepare for more than 300,000 people arriving in droves to St. Peter's Square, and the little state has received high marks for their successful crowd-control during the famed Pope John Paul's funeral. How could we have done such a poor job in comparison to the Vatican, the smallest state in the world?! Well... they did have 2,000 years to practice.

Natasha Sanch United States


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