Monday, November 8, 2010

Rally Report Part IV: The Eagle Has Landed

When we left, the boys were still asleep. I tried to not think about what they'd say when I got home. Or what I'd say when I got home.

My long short list was now just:

SETUP VCRS, CHANGE TAPES: I wanted to tape the rally on two VCRs in case one failed. I had programmed them a few days before, but they were taping in the meantime (things like the Daily Show) and I wanted to have a fresh tape in each. Yes, I still use tapes.
bring: purse: I won't go far without it. I have my car key in there
flats: just in case the heels don't work out
chairs: one for each of us

I made a couple of trips out to the car to get out the chairs and other items we were bringing. In the past, I was very careful when I'd go out the door. I didn't want my neighbors to see me. Today was different. There were already a couple of strangers around the house; one more probably wouldn't attract attention. If she did attract attention, well, it was a costume, right? I'll take it in stride.

So, of course, no-one was there.

My wife suggested that she drive, as she was worried about my driving in heels. I said "no, I'll give it a try." No-one else wondered about it.

The parking lot was surprisingly empty. Most people probably thought they'd get there at noon and that would be that. HA! One helpful website suggested going to the end of the train line to park, further from the city. This is a Bad Idea. A close-in station might have people coming in a two or three mile radius. The end-of-the-line station might have people coming from fifty miles away. I chose among the nearby stations, and picked the one with the most parking.

Even though there were only two further stations, the train was standing room only. We moved into the middle of the car. I chatted with my friends and people-watched. I noticed four 20-something women standing near the door. They seemed to be two friends and two other random riders. I saw one look at me, kind of out of the corner of my eye. Then, still looking at me, she said something to her friend who looked at me as well. Then the other two women looked at me. After they went back to their lives, the first woman was still looking at me. I looked straight at her and smiled. I'm sure she was pointing out that I was clearly going to the rally since I was wearing a nice suit ~ obviously a costume. I dismissed the thought that she was saying "who does he think he's kidding?" If my wife wasn't with me, I might've gone up to say hello. It's a small chance, but I might've. I was feeling confident.

Both P & J like to engage strangers. They were chatting with people in the seats around us as we rode in. I didn't talk much because my voice works best when it's soft and there are no train noises. I did convince a couple of people around us to get off at a different station than they were planning to. It worked out for them, I think. There was a fence blocking off the back section and if they went to the station they were planning, they would be behind the fence. We were in front, in the first section. If you look at a wide picture, we were between the front two sound tents, much closer to the left one, facing the stage. The photo here is from the stage. We're at about where that second white sign to the left of the white tent is.

When we got out of the station, I tried to get my bearings and failed to follow my first rule: use my gut feeling and go in the opposite direction. We walked about a half-block before P asked someone if they're going to the rally. He said yes, and he was, not surprisingly, walking in the opposite direction from us. We turned and started walking.

As we got closer to the mall, P started walking ahead, to scout out and see where we're supposed to go. At least that gave me a chance to say "why do guys always have to rush ahead and leave the women to walk behind them?"

I'm still not sure how we got to the spot we did. We stopped a couple of times, once further back (we thought we could do better), once closer in (we thought we could get more room).

The jumbotrons were alive, playing musical numbers taken from the two shows. We were there. We could barely see the stage, but we picked up rally towels, little rally signs (I went with the "Fear" sign), and a couple of megaphones.

And I was all dressed up in a sea of 250,000 people.

It doesn't get any better.

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