Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Ok, can we please talk about this particular historical moment before it blows on by?  Because it's going to fly by before we know it, this being the Christmas Eve to tomorrow's political Christmas Day, and I kind of want to streeeeetch this day out to savor the buzz and bottle up some of that thrill to crack open about six months from now when all the Debbie Downers will be wondering why the Messiah-turned-Jimmy Carter hasn't solved global warming and put a chicken in every American pot.  Sweet Obama perfume, dated 19 Jan 09, smelling of lilac and toast and musk and a little hush of fresh grass.

What a lark, what a plunge; life, London, this moment in June - to steal a line from Virginia Woolf's Clarissa Dalloway.  She spoke it walking in Hyde Park on a summer morning during WWI, on her way to buy flowers for a party, and I felt it today walking home with an armful of gladiolus (which Teleflora tells me represent "strength and moral integrity," and "infatuation, with a bouquet conveying to a recipient that they pierce the giver’s heart with passion," which strikes me as quite appropriate given tomorrow's celebrant).  There is something in the air.

Today being a holiday, the bars on Polk Street last night were buzzing with revelers getting an early start to the celebrations. Head slightly foggy from red zin, I headed out this morning to run a few errands and found people soft and open and childlike.  The clerk at the bookstore ran through his usual motions checking me out, and then said with a loose grin: "Are you excited for TUESDAY??" like we were old political buddies.  (In this city, you'll find a rare safety in making political assumptions.)  Standing in Trader Joe's this morning, the shop busy with people in gym shorts taking advantage of the day off work, the inauguration was the ubiquitous conversation topic.  A little girl came up to me wearing what she called her "Obama Tiara."  She couldn't have been more than 4.  Her mother beamed. Walking home in the weirdly springlike weather, the boulangeries were bursting with people enjoying late brunches in the sun. Something feels afoot.

What are you doing to celebrate the action?  It seems like the sort of moment that needs to be shared collectively, not sitting on your couch in your pajamas eating cereal out of the box.  There'll be a jumbo-tron set up in Civic Center Plaza for the crowd gathering tomorrow morning, and though it'll be early PST, I'll be there.  This is the kind of thing you want to experience together - the gasps and the smiles and the cheers and the fist pumps.  (Pinch me.)

All that said, if you haven't yet had your fill of media coverage (given that it's all you'll find online today), read these two pieces: the first, on Obama and his love for reading (a cheesy article, but one with good intentions, and further solidifying my mad crush on the man); the second, a look at Obama's controversial choice of Rick Warren to deliver tomorrow's invocation and a sobering analysis of the ways in which conservative evangelicals might fit into his work in the coming years.

Happy Inauguration, guys.  This feels so big.


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