Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

President Bush – Decision Points

President Bush’s signing for Decision Points was set for 8AM.  My alarm was set for 3AM.
Ringo woke me at 2:40AM.  Being an orange tabby he figured he could get away with that. Since he is still among the living, I guess he did.
I knew if I tried to get that last 20 minutes of sleep I would feel worse than I did; so I rolled out of bed, took a shower, and then dressed.
By 3:30AM I had driven the empty streets and parked outside of the Borders Book Store. A lot of people had parked close to where they were standing in line. I figured I wanted to a short walk after I was done, knowing how tired I would be.
The night before (only a few hours earlier) I packed my backpack. I dragged it from the front seat and went in search of the line.
The line started at the front doors of the store which made it easy to find.  I walked toward the end and looked over the people that had camped out. A lot of sleeping bags littered the strip mall’s concourse.  No one was asleep. Everyone was sitting in chairs they brought or sitting in their sleeping bags.  They were bundled up but the night wasn’t that cold. 
My timing was fairly good. I was about 250 people back and I knew another 75 or so would be filtering in as the start time approached.  There is always a dad saving a space for the sleeping kids or a boyfriend saving a space for his girl.  It happens. No biggie.
A big guy (yeah, bigger than me) dragged a huge fold up recliner just in front of me. A lady and 2 kids lined up just behind me. Looking over the crowd I figured I’d get a lot of reading done. I was out of the wind and had plenty of light. As soon as I sat down and reached for my book, the kids started talking to me.
My timing was very good. If I was 15 minutes earlier, I would have been on the side of the building and exposed to a more wind and the muzak blaring from the mall’s speakers. If I was 15 minutes later, I would have been standing next to the dumpsters for several hours.
The conversations ended not too long after we got our books signed.  At least the conversation was good and most of the time it was very amusing. The younger of the 2 kids actually wrote President Bush a letter about 4 years ago and got a response. So now that the kid was older (he was maybe 10 years old) he wanted to meet the President.
At lot of excitement was generated at 5AM when McDonald’s opened. I heard the lines for the bathrooms were 50 people deep. Not too surprising as people had camped out and nothing was open.
About 5:30AM a few of us got some food.  That was the same time the dogs started sniffing our cars for explosives.
About 6AM the new vans were ready and the prep crews were working. The ‘talent’ didn’t arrive until 7AM or so.
About 7AM we were asked to stand and the line shrank greatly. It’s always good to move around and the anticipation builds even though you know you still have an hour or more to wait.  
At this time a lot of people in suits walked up and down the line. Some were Borders’ employees trying to answer questions. Others are Secret Service agents. Everyone stared at the agents hoping to spot the microphone up the sleeve.
Once the signing began the line moved quickly.
To get into the store, you needed to empty your pockets.  And walk through a metal detector. No cell phones or cameras or bulky jackets were allowed.  So once again, no photos. Sorry.  My line buddies saved my spot in the line when I went to my car to drop off everything.
When I got to the table, a Secret Service agent took my book and added it to a pile of books on a table near the President. Someone else was moving those books to the table where the President sat and signed.
Bush offered me a big smile and his hand. I took his hand but I didn’t grip very hard as I shook because he still held his Sharpie.
He thanked me for showing up and I told him I was honored to meet him.  He signed my book and I said “How about those Rangers?”  He stopped and looked at me again and said ‘we’ almost won the whole thing. I mumbled something about next year and he agreed and I was led to another table. 
The books he was signing were being stacked at his table. Then another agent was collecting several signed books and taking them to the table I was waiting at that was about 20 feet away.  There someone else was handing them back to the people as we left the signing area.
Dozens of agents were in the store and standing at points along the line.
I said goodbye to my line buddies and walked to my car. The line was still wrapped round the building.
It was 9:15AM.
I drove past the corner where the protesters were. I was cranky at this point and their signs actually got me mad. I really thought about going over there and ‘talking’ to them. The corner held 10 people. I know 3 of those people were reporters/photographers that I had seen earlier working the crowd.
I decided to just leave and drove home.

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