Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama-Biden, Old State Capitol: A Recap In Pictures

Thanks to this handy dandy PictoBrowser, I can share all my images in 1/20th the space. Click through at your own leisure and read the notes on each image.

The quick run down is:
I biked downtown at 10:15, stopped at the library, grabbed a book and headed the few blocks north on foot to where the line was supposed to be. As I got closer, I heard police and campaign volunteers telling people the line wrapped around a few blocks. Not sure I wanted to be honest, follow-the-rules Sarah for once, I headed to a water stand near the beginning of the line. Then managed to place myself almost very nearly at the front of the line, thanks to the distraction of the day's first passed out victim. The ambulance pulling up made it possible for me to jump up from the curb where I was sitting into line right when they started allowing the line to move onto the security checkpoint. Thank you beginning of the line people for letting me (and only me, not me and my friends which is the key point) cut in line without mention or second glance. Especially since the cops were threatening to throw a guy in jail for trying to cut as I was rounding the corner to the metal detectors.

Through the metal detectors with DSLR, environmental book, bike helmet and water cup, I turned and realized I really was one of the very first into the grounds. I quickly snapped out of it and got my butt in gear to stake out my spot. By this time it was already hot and sunny, and we were being corraled into an area with no shade and tall fences. I found a spot one person back from the crowd control gate, right in front of the podium. Such a big difference from last year.

I waited for 3 hours. Rationing what little was left of my water, and prayed that I would not faint as I usually have some issue when I am really warm and in crowds.

I'm proud to say I made it all the way through without feeling the slightest bit ill.

The only time things got iffy was at the very end, as Obama passed me but the crowd continued to surge on me. Trying to go through me. Sadly I had been bumped back a person so I was just out of reach from shaking hands with the possible future president, first lady, VP and 2nd lady (?). As the crowd surged, I decided my well being, mental or otherwise, was much more important than a fleeting chance to touch celebrity (had it been Ben Affleck, it may have been a different story!). As I turned to start my exit, I found that I had a Secret Service agent right behind. Luckily he was not busting me for cutting in line, but I do wonder how long he was there.

As I wound my way to the tiny exit, I was able to see just how many people were there. I couldn't see much past a few "rows" around me during the event. But the lawn was packed. The street was packed, even going down the block where they had jumbo-trons set up. Getting out of the secure location was tough. I watched a women (luckily with her husband) become increasingly more faint up onto the point where they finally made it out of the gate and collapse. Luckily a police officer and a Red Cross worker caught her and carried her directly to the first aid tent.

I finally got out of the secure perimeter and practically sprinted to the library where my bike was parked and I guzzled all the free water I could at the water fountain before biking the couple miles home. Where I collapsed with a giant glass of water and a freezey pop before we rushed out the door to drive up north for the Cubs game Sunday.

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