To get to the ball, we hired a driver whom we’ve hired in the past. He would drive us down, wait around for us, and take us home. We weren’t sure about how bad the traffic might be caused by road closures and security measures and by how many people would be coming in for the events. We planned to leave home at 2 p.m. and get to D.C. by about 5 p.m. Our tickets said that doors opened at 7 p.m. We wanted a good fudge factor in case we got stuck in traffic and had to walk. We wanted a driver so that we could get out and walk if we had to and someone else had to park the car. Also, we didn’t want to have to drive home ourselves late at night and tired.
Our plan worked really well and we got a parking space within two blocks of the venue.
Since we got there so early and hadn’t had lunch, we went across the street to the Safeway and got sandwiches and more cash and to use the restrooms and waited in the car for a good, long, warm while.
We got in line around 7 p.m. and tried to go through where we thought we were supposed to thinking that things were moving really fast. No such luck. We had to go in the opposite direction to find the end of the line, already very long and looping around the block. No wonder we kept seeing all those people walking the other way.
It’s very cold and somewhat windy. I have my running shoes on, dancer’s warm up leggings, and two pairs of socks on. I still needed my husband’s overcoat over my coat, along with a head scarf. At least I had that. I really hate wind.
As we were in line, we got into a conversation with a woman about her tickets, what they said on them, etc. About 100 feet later, she realized she had dropped her tickets! Scott and she went off to try to find them. No luck. She did manage to get another ticket for herself, but her friend seemed to be not so lucky. I don’t know if she got in or not. Such terrible luck! To stand in line all that time and lose the tickets. I’d be really upset.
We were in line for over an hour as it snaked slowly through security. The line actually moved fairly well, but it was like a Disneyland ride that looped around and back on itself several times. Actually security was faster than in the airports. You don’t have to take off your shoes and half your clothes. It’s just that they were trying to get 35,000 (yes, that’s right 35,000!) people into the building on top of the 5,000 who arrived before for the Commander-in-Chief Ball.
I still managed to mess up in security. They asked that cell phones be out and turned on a tickets presented. I took them literally and that’s what I did. However, I didn’t empty my pockets of fancy shoes and purse. Oops.
By the time we got inside the building I was shivering and my teeth were chattering with the cold. But I’m glad I put the running shoes on since we got the line thing all wrong – it wasn’t a quick two-block walk after all. It was some time before I warmed up enough to take both coats off and check them.
Still more to come. Link to Part Four: https://coreconnexxions.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/the-ball-inaugural-ball-pt-four/