Well, my friend Jen showed up at the fairgrounds and waited in line with her 3 year old in the hot sun for an hour and a half, holding a place for me (bless her). As soon as my babysitter arrived I ran over, and within 3 minutes of finding Jen (or really 1 minute), a woman walked through the winding line that must have had well over 1,000 people in it, telling all of us toward the back to "enjoy the rest of your day" because all of the tickets were gone. Gone. Just like that.
I definitely underestimated Orange County.
As I meandered back to my car, past the hundreds of expectant remainders now waving "vouchers" (blank index cards) for the Town Hall Meeting tickets they would soon receive, I hovered longingly around those at the front, kicking up conversation. "Did you sleep here last night?" "When did you get here?" "Are you excited?" (to which there should only have been ecstatic jumping but wasn't) "Who are you going to give your 2nd ticket to?" "Would you accept my passport -- the only thing in my pocket -- for one of those vouchers?"
I tried to keep it in the road. I didn't do anything inappropriate. I didn't offer to buy anyone's ticket (though I eyed the group of 18 year old boys for a long time wondering if they REALLY cared or just camped out to sleep in the parking lot). I didn't get an index card from my car and try to blend. Instead, I walked away, feeling that I was missing something, that there still must have been some way to get a ticket.
Later in the afternoon, while I was driving Silas home from school, we passed a church's sign that I read aloud: "Welcome Mr. President"
"Why it say that?"
"Obama is coming HERE tomorrow, to Costa Mesa!"
"OH! I never seen Obama before."
"Yeah, me neither."
"Is he very nice?"
"Yes, he's very nice. He encourages people."
"He says, 'Yes we Can!'"
"Yes we can?"
"Yeah... YES WE CAN!"
"... kind of like Bob the Builder."
"Oh! 'Can we build it? YES WE CAN!' .. Yes we can. Uh-huh."
And that was our lesson of the day.
Now I am off to get corned beef cooking and mix up some soda bread because it is, after all, that day.
I will keep you posted about whether I pace Newport Blvd. tomorrow with my children in a stroller wielding signs like, "We love you Obama!" or "Sidwell Alum!" or "Come by 260 Victoria St. for Coffee!"