I was on the Mall for the swearing in. Because while I am a delicate flower, and loathe the cold more than just about anything, I couldn't bear the idea of not being in the middle of things.
There's no need to go through any of it with you; you saw it first-hand or on TV, and if the latter, had a much more comprehensive view than I did.
So, let's be clear. I am so glad I went. It was exciting. It was incredible to witness, and it felt amazing to be in a crowd so jubilant, so positive. I have no regrets about going.
Also, I got so cold I couldn't wait to leave.
To prepare for the hours in the freezy freezingness, I started with an undershirt. Then a long sleeve shirt, a wool turtleneck, and a fleece jacket. I then wrapped a thick, thick wool scarf around my neck, and then squeezed into my heaviest coat and warmest hat.
I could barely get into the coat, I had so many layers underneath. My arms stuck out a little on the sides.
My weak point was my feet. I had knee-high wool socks and my Dansko clogs - good for all the walking, but no match for hours of standing on the brutally cold ground.
One of the things I learned about myself today is that much like opera, I like outdoor winter events - even momentous, once-in-a-lifetime ones - better in theory than in practice.
At a certain point, I stopped being able to feel my feet. And that point was a good half hour before the swearing in began. And a good couple hours before we got back to my friend's house. And once I reached that point, my feet were almost all I could think of.
My feet, my fucking freezing feet. I bet I have frostbite. How long before there's permanent damage?
I started thinking about that depressing Jack London story, To Build a Fire. The cold creeps up, and you can't get your fire started, and then you fall asleep and die. Your dog even leaves you, if I recall correctly.
So anyway. We walked and walked, stood and stood, and cheered and clapped, and then walked and walked. And after a brief stop at my friend's house to warm up, I headed back into the cold to metro out to Virginia.
As soon as I got home, I stuck my feet as close to the fire as possible. Once I get all bone cold, it takes hours to get unfrozen.
Nick said my feet got so cold because all my blood was rushing to my core to keep it warm. He said my feet were probably extra cold because all your blood leaves your extremities.
He said that when his feet get really cold, he pees a lot.
"You mean," I said, "you just stand there and pee all over them to warm them up?"
This was a strategy that had never occurred to me. Messy, but probably effective. . .
He didn't even respond, just gave me that head cocked, oh no, sweetheart, no, you feeble thing, kind of look.
I wonder if your brain counts as an extremity?