Monday, January 18, 2010
Homework Excuse: Obama left me spellbound
I just could not believe it. This year, the local tranist agency was running a normal weekday schedule- as if this holiday did not matter. It was empty at the library, until midday. For the afternoon, I had a concert to attend. The boilerplate MLK Day special at the Kennedy Center. Nothing new. Last year I performed in an orchestra at the Strathmore event. But this year I'm here and passing by lots of police- DC police, no Secret Service or Capitol Police. Someone important, but maybe not from the White House. There were magnetometers. That was a teltale sign. So were the uniformed secret service agents. On the stage was a podium with the Presidential Seal and the 'smokescreen', like the setup in the White House press room. The concert proceded as usual, though more talk than music. We did learn that our Michelle Obama was in the audience, as well as a few congressmembers. Yes, they occasionally ride the DC subway like anyone else (as feds, they do get the mass transit allowance). But- "here is a speech from the President of the United States". Loud cheers erupt. Yes, it was The Man, although his ears seemed more pointy than on television or in the paper. It was like watching 3D TV, but it was real. I could actually see his face (At the Inauguration, he was barely a speck from .7 mile away). He was about 200 feet away, and within good camera distance. There is a policy of no photography during shows, but this adage was broken by most everyone. A redcoat did apporach me at the end of the show about it, though. Standard procedure. The president was in clear view, on the stage, for about 20 minutes. He left gracefully with the awardee, a Congolese pro-Basketball star, who, with part of his NBA money, funded a new hospital and research center in Kinshasa. Yes, Obama was dwarfed by the player's sheer height. The fairy tale was mostly over, altough cameras did turn to the rear at the end of the show. I didn't see the spectacle, but I suppose that the First Family was waiving to India.Arte from two tiers below me.