Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Tripping - part one

Last Saturday morning Elaine and I woke at four a.m. It was barely enough time to get to the airport to fly out at 8:15. Fortunately, the airport was not crowded so the security checkpoint didn't take long. But the flight was full full full. Elaine has a friend who works for Southwest, who was working that flight and was able to let us "pre-board", choose our seats. The emergency door seats were already taken by the time we came in, though, so all that really mattered was that we got to sit together. One of the women in the Nevada Women's Lobby was on the flight, and she told us there were about six others there on the flight who were going to the march.

I took several pictures from the window, showing the change in the view from above. When we reached Baltimore the greenery and water were a huge contrast to the desert we left behind, of course.

We got into the Baltimore airport at 3:45 p.m.. This flight appears to be Southwest's longest nonstop flight, about 4-1/2 hours going east and even longer going west. We found an express bus that goes into Washington, and waited with many others for it. By the time it arrived, the crowd was huge. We had to stand up and hang on for the whole ride in, not a short one. We went from the bus to the metro, changed trains once, arrived at the stop near our hotel about three hours after we left the plane. A bit long. A shuttle took us to the hotel, and even that was crowded, standing room only for us.

I really meant to pack lightly, and I tried! I had a carry-on size bag with an expandable part, openable by zipper. I also had my laptop, fairly heavy by itself. Elaine had a duffle, looked like she knew what she was doing. Hauling my bags around did become awkward, mostly, I think, because there were so many people traveling in that direction then.

Cathy and Liisa spotted us as we entered the registration line. They were waiting in the bar area - staying in the same hotel that night. After we got checked in and dumped our bags we all met again downstairs, had drinks and talked. Eventually we decided to go out to dinner, and chose a place Liisa had heard of from friends, the Lost Dog Cafe.

I had to go there because of the name and because much of the proceeds go toward saving homeless dogs. I bought the T-shirt and we had various pizza-type things and I had a beer. I enjoyed the funky atmosphere, the food, but most of all the company. We talked and talked and laughed and laughed.

Back at the hotel, we sat with after-dinner drinks (coffee or coffee and Kahlua) and talked more. Elaine's friend Liz came to see us with her bf Dan, and we all talked more, eventually separated bit by bit, went to our rooms and Liz and Dan to their hotel. It was after midnight then. No time to look seriously into internet connections in our hotel room or to write anything to send later. No time to check out the fitness center or take advantage of much that the hotel had to offer.

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn but that didn't mean we got to the march location extra-early, certainly not by 7:30 as suggested by the person I emailed about volunteering. Just as well! We got there a little after nine, got hooked up with a person who showed us how to sign people in, and we were off to our general post. We signed people in until after noon, standing in one area, asking people as they walked by to sign our sheets. We put stickers on those who signed in so that people could see that they were already counted. This little exercise gave a more accurate count than would otherwise be the case, and of course gathered some names and addresses that the groups might not have had before. Cathy joined us at about 11, as I recall, and helped with the signing in. The three of us stuck together from then on.

The march seemed to get moving at about 12:30. Speakers were still speaking as we walked by the main stage and turned the corner. So many people moving in one direction means we don't get to walk quickly. From the standing with the sign-in sheets I was already disabled, my legs frozen up in that flareup kind of way, but I was able to walk. Probably should have taken some anti-inflammatories before I started out...

So many people, so many signs, such a great feeling! Nobody complained about signing in, nobody created any scenes. There were a few verbal altercations with people standing on the sidelines with anti-abortion signs, but nothing really ugly. I don't know how long the march was. I'd guess two or three miles...someone should know... Sometime in the first half, Cathy and I got separated from Elaine, but we could see her ahead of us. She thought we were ahead of her so she kept moving and looking forward. I tried to call her but the lines were busy (LOTS of cell phones in the march). At one point I saw an opening, a gap where I could step in and move more quickly forward. Instead of moving forward, though, I tripped and fell on the concrete. Of course there was a lot of gasping, but Cathy claimed me immediately and we assured everyone I was okay. Which i was. Skinned knee and palm. It reminded me of my childhood, when I was forever going around with skinned knees and palms.

By the time we got back to the mall I really was pretty much disabled. I limped with elaine to a museum and to food after the march, but it was obvious that I wasn't doing very well. I knew I was going to pay for all that standing, particularly, but had hoped the payment would not be so immediate.

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