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Rally to Restore Sanity and Cyclops Guinea Pigs

I didn’t want to go this morning. I woke up late after having this dream about wanting to take home a cyclops, vomiting guinea pig from a pet fair held at the local middle school which had been redone to look like a mall. The cyclops guinea pig had seen me walking below (his cage was high up near the ceiling) and he had taken a running leap out of his cage to land in my arms. I was cradling him on his back so I could see when he was about to throw up and lovingly tipping him towards the ground so the vomit landed away from us. Seriously, how could you get out of bed and shlep yourself down to a rally after having a dream like that?

But, of course, I hauled myself out of bed, showered, packed up my reasonable sign, and explained to the twins why we were shleping down to the rally, and in explaining it to them, it sort of became clear to me and was the fuel I needed to get in the car and stand on the chilly Mall with other people desiring the same thing.

Because reasonableness is like that cyclops guinea pig and it needs me to love it and cradle it just as much as my vomiting pet.

Or something like that.

On the way to the rally

Turning onto the Mall

Hey, I found Lindsay in that sea of 200,000+ people


The crowds began around Kalorama Heights. Anyone familiar with Kalorama Heights knows that it is nowhere — NOWHERE — near the Mall. It would probably be over an hour and a half walk for someone with legs as short as mine. But the sea of people began in fits and starts in upper northwest, and continued in fits and starts all the way down to the Capitol.We had a brilliant plan to park the car at Josh’s office, walk to the Metro, take it a few stops to Chinatown, get off and walk a few blocks to the Mall — perfect. Except that the Metros were so packed out in Silver Spring — as in, suburban Maryland — that people were waiting in long lines just to enter the stations, much less ride the trains. We gave up this idea when we saw the Dupont Metro.

So we walked. With the rest of the costume-and-sign-holding crowd. And there was something exciting about walking through this city that I love with this person that I love going to a rally that is proposing an idea that I love.

I had so many people on the sign that I needed to also use the green back…

Thank you to everyone who came with me in spirit.

The crowd around us.  The Mall was so packed that it was difficult to move around.


On any day of the week, there is a rally in D.C. and the participants dress up to make their point since rallies are sort of like D.C.’s version of a theater scene (hey!  D.C. has a vibrant theater scene!). Therefore, on any day in D.C., it is possible to find something like a woman dressed as Fidel Castro in knee-high boots wearing an enormous diaper. This is not something that would make me slow down or think twice (well, okay, I do have to admit that I’ve contemplated why Fidel Castro would be wearing an enormous diaper or knee-high dominatrix-like boots).

But because the rally was a day before Halloween, it was impossible to know what was a Halloween costume of someone who happened to be walking in the direction of the Mall and what was a rally costume. And did it really matter?

The costumes were probably the best part of the rally. Beyond the inexplicable human bananas or Scooby Doos were the beautiful drag queens and the numerous zombies. Actually, the best part of the rally were the signs. Beyond the non-sequitors such as “I love waffles!” were the range from truly moving (“Legalize Peace” held by an earnest, elderly lady) to truly hysterical (“What do we want? Brains! And when do we want it? Brains!”).

We moved around the rally reading signs since the sound system was terrible and we could only hear portions of the musical guests and speeches.

Can you find Waldo in this picture?

Rally signs.

Hanging out on the Mall.



Throughout the rally, I couldn’t get the image of my cyclops, vomiting guinea pig out of my head (I mean, honestly, would you?). I felt like it must mean something. Why would I have such a vivid dream that stuck so long with me into the day if it didn’t mean something?

And the best I could do was think about how deeply I loved that guinea pig, even though it was leaving trails of vomit on the floor around me. And isn’t that sort of how the rest of the world interacts with us? We’re all lovable and wonderful within community, but then, we also vomit on each other. And it’s up to all of us to still choose to cuddle each other close, to hold each other, even though holding each other can be a very messy prospect.

Does that work better?


R2D2 was there, because he’s a reasonable robot.

The vast crowd behind us.

The vast crowd in front of us.

Gay Muslim Zombies (zombies seemed to be the reasonable supernatural figure of choice)


More thoughts once I digest the experience further.


1 Willow { 10.30.10 at 9:21 pm }

Looks awesome! Wish I’d been there! I watched it on TV, but that’s soooo much less exciting

2 Meghan { 10.30.10 at 9:38 pm }

I think that last sign might be my favorite (besides yours of course). Why is it so hard to reasonable and talk like grown ups?

3 HereWeGoAJen { 10.30.10 at 9:52 pm }

Thanks for taking me with you. 🙂

4 a { 10.30.10 at 10:10 pm }

I was looking for you on TV, and I swear I saw that clown!

In thinking about all of this – the rally, the media coverage of it (or lack thereof), the political campaigns and ads, the media itself, and the internet – I reached a conclusion. As much as our culture pays lip service to anti-bullying, most of us are experiencing it every day. The media is bullying us into a particular viewpoint. Political candidates bully us into hating their opponent. Anonymous commenters who stir up trouble are bullies. I think this rally was a bunch of people getting together to say that they won’t be bullied. They may not speak out on these subtle issues (we’re not all Melissas, who will take home vomiting cyclops guinea pigs), but they will speak out on large issues and they will not be pushed around.

On another note, I would like to see campaign reform in the following manner: no more negative ads. Newspapers can publish investigative articles, TV news shows can do investigative reports, but I don’t want to see TV ads, propaganda in my mailbox, radio ads, nothing. The only things a politician can say are their views, their accomplishments, and their records. I think that would do a lot for the political atmosphere and voter turnout.

5 Justine { 10.30.10 at 10:33 pm }

I love a’s comment, above … and will be posting my own thoughts on bullying soon, for reasons that will become clear. But for now, thanks for taking us with you, Mel … and for giving a home to the cyclops guinea pigs … the ones that simply don’t fit in. He knew that you’d care for him. 🙂

6 Delenn { 10.30.10 at 10:53 pm }

Thanks for letting us be there in spirit! I was enjoying seeing the tweets of the signs, and got to see some of the rally on t.v….we DVRd it so we can watch it on Tuesday evening–when we will need it. 🙂

7 Another Dreamer { 10.31.10 at 12:01 am }

Awesome!!! I so wish I could have been there 🙂 And OMG I laughed my butt off when I got to the one with the Jonathan Coulton song, RE: Your Brains, reference… so funny on so many levels!

8 aisha { 10.31.10 at 12:58 am }

Thanks for the pics- awesome. LOVE the last sign- its like what you’ve been trying to say- forever. I’m glad that you went 🙂

9 It is what it is { 10.31.10 at 2:03 am }

So awesome that you went, so awesome that so many others did, too. It was front page of cnn.com most of the day. I didn’t catch any of the cable or network news shows to see their coverage (or lack thereof).
Thank you so much for carrying our spirits with you. I was able to watch it on DVR while my son napped…such a lovely thing to be able to do.

10 Betty M { 10.31.10 at 2:11 am }

Thanks for having me onthe sign!

11 Tara { 10.31.10 at 8:26 am }

Thanks for representing!!

12 loribeth { 10.31.10 at 1:22 pm }

Thanks for the report. Love all the signs!! (And most of the ones I’ve seen were even spelled correctly, lol.)

13 Battynurse { 10.31.10 at 1:35 pm }

That looks like it was a fabulous experience.

14 Barb { 10.31.10 at 10:46 pm }


15 TasIVFer { 11.01.10 at 12:14 am }

I hope your cyclops guinea pig comes back to you in your dreams!

16 Julie { 11.01.10 at 8:24 am }


17 SooSee { 11.01.10 at 11:56 am }

Soooo awesome you went! And represented for us! I was so there in spirit.. Love your shirt too! 😀

18 Flucky Mom { 11.01.10 at 3:38 pm }

So wanted to go… Thank you for representing us. Watched bits on TV. Not the same of course. Let’s hope that all those same people (present or there in spirit) go out and vote tomorrow.

19 valery { 11.01.10 at 4:10 pm }

Doesn’t that sign in the one but last photo say ‘Gay Muslim Vampires’? Especially for you? Maybe?

20 Kir { 11.02.10 at 1:27 pm }

I love it….I love that you went and all you saw, I was in NYC, feeling all that energy right along with you…
and I saw my name on the sign….I’m so excited!!!! thanks for taking me with you…it was AN HONOR to be with you.

21 My Bumpy Journey { 11.02.10 at 8:43 pm }

I am so glad to get to have gone there in spirit. I love all the pictures of the signs! I love the BRAINS!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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