Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear - A Descriptive Part #1

A buddy and I drove down early Saturday morning from Delaware, passing by quite a few buses heading in the same southerly direction. On I-95, we zipped through Baltimore taking a fast glimpse at the O’s stadium, a venue yet to see post-season play. We veered south onto I-495 to catch the ingoing Metro line at Greenbelt, the first station on the Green line. The parking lot, holding about 4,000 cars was already about 2/3 full at 9:00. Hmmmmm, a lot of like-minded sane and responsible people, it seemed, had the same rational idea. We briskly strolled into the station which was already packed with queues of folks politely waiting their turn. The 200 or so folks all seemed to be brewing at a low level of excitement, containing their delight at seeing equally self-controlled low-level brewing individuals. We lucked out in catching a Metro as soon as we purchased our $12 round trip tix and in a half hour and 10 stops later we exited the subway and ascended into a beautiful day breaking out of the Chinatown station.

There were short lines everywhere. Queues for Starbucks or other cafes, lines at the corners as folks patiently waited to cross the streets, and even a group of folks one following another slowly passing a Vet with a cup asking for small change. Hmmm, queuing for was going to be a rather different type of day.

We walked the 6 or 8 blocks down 7th Avenue, sun streaming down on the gradually warming day. From the feeding side streets, more people came. There was a giddiness flowing like first-date nervousness. Signs started cropping up, indications that folks had been heeding advice from Jon Stewart's Sanity site.   Costumes here and there were also evident of fans of Stephen Colbert's site or, perhaps, merely early Halloween celebrants trying out their gear.

Vendors, vendors, vendors everywhere. Badges, flags, banners, water, and any other purchasable paraphernalia easily carried by the purchaser were offered. The closer you got to the mall, the steeper the same merchandise was priced. Good to see basic economic theory was being practiced here, straight out of the books. Free Rally towels promoting the event were being handed out by volunteers. Later in the day, I saw the same Rally towels, already classic collector items, being sold by folks not outfitted with the official Restore to Sanity volunteer t-shirts. Russian underground economic theory being put into practice; what was free for me will cost you.....comrade.

We ended up on The Mall around 9:30, folks already packed in behind sectional metal fencing. My friend and I, being bachelors at the event and thus not attached with women of social niceties and responsible behavior decided to see how far we can ooze ourselves to the front.   Slithering through groups of folks who'd claimed their spots with blankets, fold-up chairs, coolers, or simply spread-out-like-snow-angels body frames, we worked our way from where 7th Avenue crosses through The Mall to 4th Avenue. There, we hit our first major issue, US Park Rangers and fencing. Like a creek around rocks (enough metaphors in here for ya?), we slipped off to the side of least resistance and continued on toward the Main Stage.

(to be continued.....)

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