We waited outside for hours, finally got in, and wound up going right back outside...but it turned out to be one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me. We were close enough to the next President of the United States to count the stripes on the ubiquitous flag pin he has been coerced into wearing.
It was a beautiful day in Fayetteville, a nearly cloudless sky, and the air had that bite to it that makes you think of apples and falling leaves. A crowd of more than 12,000 people gathered at the Crown Coliseum for one more chance to see "That One" before he becomes The President of the United States.
The volunteers worked hard to control the line movement, but there were not enough of them, so the line that was supposed to move in Disney-World "S" fashion instead became a disorderly amorphous mass of humanity - high spirited, mostly good humored, but disorderly nonetheless. (I swear, I didn't do a thing.) People who had been waiting in line for hours (like us) watched as people arriving right before the doors opened walked right in ahead of us because they joined the line where ever they wanted to instead of going to the back of the line.
As we waited, we were thrilled to see the Obama plane (Air Force THAT ONE) fly over the Coliseum.
So you can imagine the disappointment we felt, after finally reaching the metal detectors at the gate, we were stopped. We waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the Secret Service, the Transportation Safety folks (who were doing the screening), or the Cumberland Co. sheriff's Dept. would tell us to empty our pockets and come on through the gate.
"Hold on - we're working on something, and you're going to like it," a TSA officer told several of us. After being in line for several hours, and feeling, as they say, the fierce urgency of pee (h/t Christopher), I couldn't think of anything that would make me happier than getting to a ladies room.
Eventually, we were told that the Fire Marshall would not allow any more people inside the building. (OK - remember, people had cut in front of us. I was a little ticked off.) Until we were allowed to proceed through the metal detectors and wanded (Did you know that under-wire bras will set those things off? Dang!) We were then led right back outside.
And set up outside was a makeshift podium that was about 15 feet from where we wound up standing. In about 30 minutes, out walks That One himself.
Oh. My. God.
It was a short speech. He apologized for not being to get everyone inside, and then urged everyone to vote. Early vote. Cumberland County had all of their one-stop voting sites open today, which was brilliant, I think. I was amazed at how many people in the crowd had already voted. But Barack Obama reminded everyone that EVERYONE who is eligible needs to vote. So, Get Out the VOTE. Also, he will bring jobs to NC.
When he finished speaking, he "worked the line" as they say. The press of the crowd around me was so strong that at one point, I was literally lifted off of my own feet. I was next to another woman about my height. I don't know who she was, but she was lifted at the same time. We just grabbed each other's hands and held on. It was a little scary.
Fortunately, the rest of my family is taller, and the pictures I'm using here were taken by Grace. I'm going to try to embed a slide show here. If it doesn't work, I'll link the album for all of the pictures.