Tim and I wanted to do some sightseeing, and a visit to the National Mall and the Smithsonian appeared like a good idea. At the same time, it did seem fitting to go on Saturday, when the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was going on. What a DC thing to do: join a march or rally, right?
First off, it took a couple of attempts to get onto the Metro train from Takoma Park. There weren’t any official “pushers” around, like we heard they have in Japan, to push as many people onboard as possible, and there didn’t seem like a crevice of space on the first train that passed by. We got the next one, and became straphangers, standing up all the way to our stop, and then decided just to walk the rest of the way since we couldn’t get on a train at the transfer station.
What a scene on the mall! We only walked up to where the throngs of people were getting most dense, and then took a break with a visit to the Air and Space Museum. We got a real sense of the event just by walking around, with people dressed in all kinds of costumes and carrying signs ranging from political to the comic to the downright odd. My favorites: Gumby 4 Green Policies (held by an accomplice to a female Gumby character); I Like Ice Cream; and Only Amnesiacs Vote Republican (front side) Everyone Else Remembers (back side). We fit in with Sigeparation of Corporation and State signs passed out by the nonprofit Public Citizen.
At one point we stood outside the museum and caught the former Cat Stevens and Ozzie Osborn duking it out with their “train” songs (Cat Stevens’ Peace Train and Osborn’s Crazy Train) and then the Oh Jays reaching a comprommise with Love Train.
After a lot of walking — to the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam memorial and the White House — we headed back to the nearest Metro station and got on an even more crowded train than in the morning. I was really getting claustrophobic, but at least we were on the right train; a young couple realized a couple of stops later that they were heading to suburban Maryland and not to Virginia as they had thought.
I learned later that we helped make history: the greatest one-day Metro ridership ever, with 820,000 people.