“Hey, do you want a ticket to the debate?” When I got this text from a friend (a pal of his who works for one of the presidential campaigns had an extra seat), I shot a two-word response: “Um, yeah!”
For a political junkie like me, being at the debate was the equivalent of – well, maybe not the Super Bowl, but a tightly contested playoff game. And since this debate was to be a town hall format, with an intimate audience arranged in a circle around the candidates, I was a little giddy imagining myself on TV in front of 60 million people. I put on a bright blue dress that my friends and family couldn’t miss on screen.
So after one train ride, one cab, one shuttle bus and a stroll through a metal detector, I entered the venue a couple hours ahead of the 9 p.m. start time (we were instructed to get there early), ready to settle into my seat a few feet from President Obama and Mitt Romney.
This is where I pictured myself sitting:
This is where I was sitting:
Yes, on television the debate looked like a cozy gathering. In reality, it was in a basketball arena. While 83 people were seated up close and personal, several thousand others were crowded into stadium-style seats that reached up to the rafters.
And though the debate had the trappings of a sports event – lights and barricades outside the entrance, an excited audience jammed into seats, scores of reporters bunched around the doors – it lacked a few key elements, namely:
• Refreshments: No food available in the venue.
• Pre-game entertainment: Music? Cheerleaders? A comedian to warm up the crowd? Nope.
• Casual attire: The whole crowd was in their business best.
• A comfortable climate: The temperature was arctic, presumably to keep the candidates from sweating under the blasts of light.
• Cheers and whoops: The audience was instructed to keep our opinions to ourselves (which we did – minus a few bursts of applause and chuckles).
Ninety minutes later – after face-offs on taxes, Libya, and binders of women – the debate ended, the house lights came up, and the audience started furiously snapping cell-phone photos (during the debate, devices had to be off ). Since a hand-shake with the candidates wasn’t happening (there was no path from the arena seats to the debate zone), I headed off to catch a ride back to the train station, looking forward hitting my couch and watching the replays. On TV.
Top photo: Jim Young/Reuters
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
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