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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

I made it to work about a quarter till the hour, just enough time to log into my computer and go the official inauguration website, and watch Barack Obama take the oath of office. Since I was at Microsoft it seemed appropriate that I use the technology of this generation to watch this historic day. But unfortunately, as mentioned, I was at the Microsoft campus and was logging in from the office. The website using Microsoft’s Silverlight kept freezing up on me. I'm sure it was part due to the load of people on it, and part due to the usually slow network connection I get in the office.

I immediately gave up on the internet and decided to watch the inauguration the old fashion way, on the TV. The building has a lobby with a 42inch plasma on the wall, always turned to MSNBC. I was pleasantly surprised when walking down there to notice approximately 15 to 20 people had the same idea. A few of them even moved around some chairs so they could sit and watch. I walked towards the back of the group and began to watch myself. We all listened to Rick "the prick" Warren give the invocation, and we applauded the soulful voice of Aretha Franklin singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee". As the time for Obama's swearing in came, the crowd grew larger, with a few people gathering on the stairs of the lobby to listen. As we stood and watched Obama speaking clear English, we had to deal with the occasional indifferent look of people passing buy, or the quick cut through as someone ducked under the TV on the way to the break room. As his speech continued, I began to get a little annoyed at the people walking through and around, "didn't they understand this is a historic moment?" I thought. Yes, there was the one woman watching with a paper towel for her nose and eyes, but there was also the woman sitting with her laptop on her lap, and instead of watching she was sending e-mails. I'm sure whoever she was responding to could wait 10 minutes. But in the end, when he was done, we all applauded equally, because we knew even though some might care more about this day than others, it was still a day to be remembered. No matter what we were doing at the moment the 44th president of the United Stated was sworn into office.

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