Monday, November 5, 2012

A Presidential Monday in Madison

Over the weekend I realized I'm not going to be able to write 1,666 words a day for the month of November, but instead of scrapping the whole DigiWriMo altogether, a friend suggested I just cut the goal in half.  That's 25,000 words this month, 833 words a day.

On Saturday I wrote a short story with a friend on Google Drive,  which was 811 words long.  That story is published elsewhere in the digital world, which really doesn't need to be shared.  My texts, gchats, and tweets brought me past the 833 mark.  Then yesterday I wrote about a personal health issue, so I haven't published it yet.

Today I'm going to give a summary of my day, mostly because it included seeing President Barack Obama.

Last night my friend Sarah slept over so that we could wake up super early together to wait in line to see the President.  Our alarms went off at 4:30am.  Yikes.  We sleepily threw on as many layers of clothes as possible, ate a bagel, then walked to the capitol.  We got in line at about 5am.  It was dark and cold, as this picture so clearly shows:

I had seen on twitter that at 4am there were about 25 people in line.  There were maybe a hundred in front of us when we got there at 5, and the line only grew faster after we had our spots.  We got to talking with some of the people in front of us in line, and they became our buddies for the rest of the day.

Between 5:30 and 5:45, they walked us through a path up to the security entrance of the event.  At our new waiting location, we had the following new views:

The gates were supposed to open at 7am, but the let us begin to go through security at 6:15am.  Nobody asked for or wanted to see the "required" ticket that I (along with many other non-smart phone owners) had printed out.  We had to unzip our coats before we walked through the metal detector, and set all electronics/metal things on a table for inspection.

Once we got through security, we picked up our pace to get as close to the front of our gated-in section as possible.  There was a super bright light straight ahead, which made it difficult to see how the stage area was set up.

We later learned that the two gated-in areas in front of us were for people with gold and yellow tickets.  The gold-ticket people got to be right next to the stage, and the yellow-ticket people were the second closest to the stage.  How to obtain these yellow and gold tickets I still don't know.

Here's a picture of the crowd behind us, just a few minutes after we had gotten in:

The clock finally passed 7am, and soon after our new friends from line told us that the press had tweeted that it would be another 3 hours until Bruce Springsteen and the President made their appearances.  Three more hours?!  My toes were very cold at this point, as there wasn't much sunlight.  I was really tired and didn't know how I could stand through three more cold hours of waiting.  But luckily our new friends from line were super entertaining, so the time did pass.

The gold-ticket people are slowly started to fill in:

We took selfie shots and did crosswords on Sarah's smart phone.  Somehow we made it to 8am.

I think it was some point after 8am that I started to eat my cookie dough energy bar.  I only ate half and saved the rest for later.  There was also a brief amount of sitting, and some feet-warming done by one of the sitters to Sarah and mine's feet!

An hour later, we passed the 9am mark.  That one had been a long hour, between 8 and 9.  Quarter after 9, people like Tammy Baldwin arrived and made their ways towards the stage.  I don't think the first person started talking until 9:30 or 9:45.  We could barely see the stage, but there was a TV screen off to the right side of our gated section that we could see.

During the speeches, all of a sudden three people leave from the first row of our section.  This was awesome, because we were able to move forward a bit.  Then a couple more people left, so we moved forward some more.  But where were they going?  Then our attentive new line friend said that lots of people were moving over to the left side of our gated area.  Was there a better view from that side? Could you get closer to the gate?  I didn't think so, but our new friends started walking that way, so we followed.

And then we found out why so many people had been leaving.  They were slowly letting people through the gate, to join the yellow-ticket area!  As we got closer to the opening, we could feel the people around us getting more anxious to get through.  Some guy behind me kept ramming his child's stroller into my legs (and Sarah's too).  The two gate keepers letting people through also noticed that the crowd trying to enter was getting closer and pushier.  Just as Sarah walked through they said, "Okay, no more for now."  What?!  Then surprisingly, one of the gatekeepers said, "Are there any groups?" So Sarah from the other side of the gate said "I'm with them (pointing to our line friends that had kept on entering) and she's with me," pointing to me.  "Okay, you can go," said the gatekeeper to me.  So I got to go in front of the other people waiting to be the last person let in to the yellow-ticket area.  Yay!

This new area was great because there was so much space in the back.  Look, look at all of the space:

So, rather than try to push closer to the front, we enjoyed the spacious back of the yellow-ticket gated area for the rest of the morning.

Around 10.30 Bruce Springsteen came out and sang a few songs (I have nothing more to say about him or his performance; I just learned his name yesterday). And then President Obama came out to speak around 11am.  Here's what my 10x zoom on my new digital camera could see:

Obama's speech almost went until 11:30, and then it was time to leave.  The speech was great by the way, but I'm sure newspapers or news stations would do a better job summarizing or quoting his chat.  The sun had disappeared during the last hour, so it was even colder outside when we left.  Sarah and I walked back to my place, then changed for work.

While sitting down on the bus on our way to the office, we realized how tired we were.  Up since 4.30am, we had been standing on our feet for nearly seven hours.  It was worth it, but it was a loong afternoon at the office.  I can hardly keep my eyes open now as I'm typing.  It's 11pm so I'm going to sleep now.

Regardless of for whom, don't forget to vote tomorrow!  I voted absentee by mail two weeks ago, so I'm all set.

Post Word Count: 1141
DigiWriMo Total Word Count: 3, 431
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  1. You really haven't heard of "The Boss" until this week? Born to Run? Born in the U.S.A.?

  2. I know the song "Born in the USA," I just never knew who performed it. Also, the name "Bruce Springsteen" rang a bell, but never the name "The Boss"...

  3. Gocha...that's more forgivable now :)

  4. I, too am shocked by your lack of knowledge of Bruce Springsteen, just another indication of my age! But, for sheer poetry, his songs can't be beat, in the same class as Morrrison, Lowell George, Dylan. Also known for his AWESOME long concerts. Darkness on the Edge of Town was a great album also