By Amanda Witherell
It was a great day to be out and about in San Francisco. This morning, before I headed to Civic Center to watch the swearing-in ceremony in front of City Hall, I was recalling where I had been in 2005 when Bush was inaugurated for the second time -- sitting glumly at my kitchen table in Sedgwick, Maine, listening to the brutal truth broadcast by NPR. Though I lived in the heart of Sedgwick, one could say the "civic center" of what could still be considered a one-horse town -- the street was empty. Town was silent. I turned off the news and, like many of my friends and family, didn't turn it back on for weeks. It was too depressing.
But today, it felt like a time to be among people. Hundreds filled Civic Center to watch the ceremony broadcast on a giant screen by NextArts, and when he spoke, the crowd was silent, attentive, listening, digesting his words and cheering en masse at the ones that hit home.
And it seemed that everywhere I went there were signs of Obama. I walked down the sidewalk behind a group of women were talking about how they felt like a great weight had been lifted off their shoulders. Upbeat strangers chatted amicably with me at the DMV, in spite of waiting lines streaming out the door. At Ocean Beach, a man was flying a floppy, awkward square kite in the unusually calm afternoon breeze.
When I got closer, I could see it was Obama.