Monday, November 1, 2010

My Trip to the Rally to Restore Sanity, Part Two: Sanity Restored...somewhat

Having gotten my anger out on the bus situation yesterday I can now write about the aspects of Saturday’s trip that were rather pleasant.

The first, I have to say, was the people. I mentioned John and Kyla from early in the morning, waiting in the “line”, not knowing what was up, but enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

I didn’t get any sleep. In order to make sure I was at Willet’s Point by 5:30 I needed to make sure I was out my door by 3:30 or so as the trek from Brooklyn can be problematic. A fairly long A train ride followed by almost the entire length of the 7 line. If I had had any brain at all I’d have taken Nyquil at about 8pm and slept til 2 or 3. But sleep didn’t come, so I made breakfast at 2am and drank a few mugs of coffee, then showered, then out the door.

I was reminded of how much of a party town New York can be, because I saw a lot of people going home after early Halloween parties at 4ish am while I was just starting my day.

I saw this couple whom I had thought were going to the Rally and had formed a response to those teabagger signs of Obama as the joker when in fact, they were just heading home from a party. Still, great job on the costumes I must say.

Frustrating as the line and all the lack of organization was, it must be said that Citi Field is rather beautiful to look at in the dark. I hate that it, like so many stadiums, is named after a corporation rather than the team or a team icon. But I appreciate it's homage to Ebbet's Field.

Ummm, Arianna, stop posing and pay attention.

On the early part of the bus ride I had a nice conversation with the guy sitting next to me at the time. He and his wife were from Hawaii and visiting friends in Canada. They had come down to NYC specifically to get to the Rally. It was interesting to hear someone describe Hawaii with a sense of appreciative boredom. It made me feel a little better about feeling stuck in New York.

After the rest stop (which we didn’t really need, but since the bus was having an a/c problem we did get to switch out to a more comfortable bus) seating got moved around, and the new person next to me was sleeping. So I enjoyed what scenery there is on I95 and also managed to nap for about 25 minutes.

When we finally reached DC it was a thrill to get off the bus. Five hours of sitting like that really makes your ass sore. Especially when part of your ass is titanium and ceramic. This had a lot to do with my decision to walk rather than stand and wait and wait for the Metro.

I used the GPS on my iPhone as best I could, but mostly followed others who were also walking. I was still seething from how late we were and how much that lateness wasn’t being acknowledged when I was catching up to another young couple. Close enough to hear the woman say “I just feel like my day is now wasted. I could have gotten a lot of things done today and still seen the Rally on TV. The whole thing”. I felt compelled to say “Would it make you feel any better to know you’re not alone?”

The three of us instantly became friends. We continued the walk along Independence Avenue, a very beautiful street that reminds me very much of parts all over Brooklyn. I didn’t get any shots of the area, but honestly it looks like a cleaner, more refurbished version of some of my earlier walk through Brooklyn blogs. The couple; Jim and Sue are very sweet people and who despite being supremely pissed off had managed to enjoy what could be enjoyed. It made the frustration a bit easier to handle.

We finally reached the Capital Building where we encountered masses of people leaving the rally, which we took to mean it was over. It wasn’t…but as it turns out, we would not have been able to get to a place to see anything until it was.

It had been about 10 years since I was last in D.C., over 20 since I'd lived there briefly while on tour. I always remember that I like that town, though I forget how much. It really is, where it is not blighted, a beautiful city and I am filled with a sense of awe, wonder and national pride when I see the grace of the Capital Building.

Astoundingly hungry, sore and tired. We chose to turn back and find a place to eat as we had passed several nice looking restaurants a few blocks back.

A high point was seeing Donna Brazile heading down the hill as we turned to go back. She was talking on her phone (I think faking it to avoid too much attention, understandably) but I waved to her and gave her a thumbs up. I would like to have yelled “Kick Breitbart’s ass on Tuesday” to her but on the chance that she was sincerely talking I decided not to be that rude.

Timing is everything. That crowd I mentioned going the other way got to the restaurants before us and what seemed manageable on the way TO the Capital had become…well…ridiculous. The only place that had seats was a Thai place that had been converted from being some sort of little pub.

I’m not a fan of Thai food. I actually find it kind of boring and even more prone to the “hungry right after you eat it” syndrome than Chinese food. BUT…I don’t hate it and when it’s the only place you can eat..what the hell.

Turns out it was pretty good. Tastier than most, nothing I’d write home about or even put any energy into eating again, but it was nourishing and hot and delicious enough. What I DID love was the Thai beer that Jim and Sue talked up and ordered. Very very excellent. I recommend it highly. Chang Beer.

Jim and I talked a lot about the state of the media and how I was growing tired of pundit “analysis” shows and how we wished there were more Anderson Coopers and Richard Engels, etc. And we watched what was left of the rally on the TV as we ate and drank.

Sue, as it turns out, works with the daughter of a famous cable news journalist. I won’t mention the name here but I will say it is one of the ones that would more appropriately be found on the unemployment line than on the TV.

Jim and Sue.

Stewart’s closing speech was spot on as far as I was concerned. I may be a fan of Keith Olbermann, but Stewart has a point. And David Carr can kiss my ass until he fesses up that the media is indeed part of the problem, not just a “messenger”. Marshal McCluhen anyone?

But man…Tony Bennett singing the song that SHOULD be the National Anthem is a sublime pleasure.

Nothing overcomes anger and frustration like good conversation and company and a good buzz from a couple of beers. Seriously, unless you are an alcoholic, alcohol is a great remedy.

But we were running out of time to catch the bus back, a ride we were dreading. This is where we met Steven, the fella I talked about in yesterday’s blog who managed to get on the bus rides without having done a single thing we were required to do. We chatted and left the bar and headed toward the bus.

I mentioned how I didn’t want the buzz to fade and someone came up with the idea of getting something for the bus. To which one of us responded “We aren’t allowed to drink on the bus”.

The only possible answer to that was buy bottles of Coke and some rum and mix it.

Genius. We got some Captain Morgan Dark Spice Rum, 4 sixteen ounce bottles of coke and proceeded to make our survival kits. Buzz maintained…as well as the improved mood.

We got back to RFK which is a fascinating structure from the outside though I can see how as a baseball park it’s an epic fail.

There was more of the nonsense about wrist bands that were never checked, we got on the bus easily and by coincidence Jim, Sue and I happened to have the same driver we had coming in. A very funny woman who’s nickname was Miami Vice. She was awesome. Great sense of humor and really good at keeping us informed. She also managed to get us back to Citi Field about a half hour earlier than could be expected. That, I can absolutely appreciate.

Back in Queens, ass sore but spirits improved.

I said goodbye to Jim and Sue who were driving off to Long Island, and then goodbye to Steven who was off to his home not far in Queens. Steven, if you’re reading this, email me at Jim and Sue, please do the same, though I have Jim’s site.

Calculating the visuals for the blog posts and tired as hell, I got onto the 7 train, decided I couldn’t make my friend’s party in Hoboken and be any decent company at all.

Jim, by the way, is a musician and here is his band’s site:

Once home I collapsed and slept a solid non stop 9 hours. I can’t remember when I did that last. Maybe staying up all night and sitting on a bus for 12 hours total is what I need to do.

Favorite sign seen but not photographed "Make Inappropriate Sexual Suggestions, Not War"

Coming soon, I blog about conservatives I respect. It’s a short blog, but not as short as you might think.


Ali said...

Sorry you were so close and we didn't see each other!

Opinionated Gifts said...

Next time I go, which I think will be relatively soon, I'll have my head together enough to give you a heads up.