It's funny what a couple decades (and an historic election) can do to your point of view.
When I was fresh out of HS, I got a boring job with a fancy, big-name government agency (a friend called it the "F-ing Big Indians"). The novelty wore off pretty quickly, and I moved on after a short 3-year stint. During that time, however, I was stopped many times in traffic on the way home by the presidential motorcade of then-president George Bush (Sr.) - yes, it was THAT long ago!
I never really thought much of it, other than - "Oh, you're kidding - we have to pull over AGAIN???" It seems, and logically so, that no other cars should be moving within a certain radius of the President's motorcade. Yeah, yeah, okay, so do all this AFTER the good, hard-working people who pay your salary are finished with their daily commutes, will ya??
So . . . . . it was very interesting that Monday night, I was actually EXCITED to be a stationary witness to that rolling security detail!
I was leaving the Kennedy Center, where I'd just come from a teacher's workshop, when I came up to stopped traffic and noticed a LOT of flashing police lights. My first thought was that it was an accident, and I wondered which street to turn down to get around it. Then I noticed that all my available options had flashing police lights blocking them, too, and thought - "Hey, maybe it's the President??" My heartrate sped up, and I realized I was a bit excited to see this! Quite a different reaction from 1989!
Well, it was, indeed Mr. Obama's motorcade (although I really have no idea if HE was actually in it - I'm assuming "yes" since there were at least 3 of those cool sedans they've put in place for him, as well as 3-4 SUV's and a TON of motorcycles. I immediately sent out a text to friends that I thought would be impressed, told my family all about it when I got home (The Boy was very jealous), and even tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to show off to my students the next day.
It's funny to me that I was so excited to see those cars rolling by. Since I grew up in this area, I just have never been that impressed with the presence of the president in and around the area (sometimes you go places and realize that you can't get around because things have been blocked off for his protection/safety - particularly around the base).
But this time, with this president, it definitely seems like a big deal to me. I was honored and excited to be stopped to allow his car to pass. It didn't seem silly or inconvenient to me at all (then again, I wasn't rushing home to fix dinner or something), and I'm actually glad to have been where I was at the time to have seen it.