So...here is the long overdue write-up about meeting Sarah Palin. Not my fault --was waiting for the pics to be published. The event was back in November (2009-11-24), and I already had a vacation day scheduled. The night before, someone e-mailed me or it was on the local news --but I found out she would be at a Barnes and Noble book store about 15 minutes from my house.
Just so it’s really, really clear: I am not a Palin fan. But in situations like this, why not spend the time doing something interesting?
I arrived that morning at 8:05 AM. A lot of people were already there --some camping out overnight. They loves them some Sarah. The first thing that struck me was the consistent attire. Was I the only one not wearing 10 year old K-mart jeans, plus crappy sneakers and a bad hair-cut? Maybe there was a general requirement to pull ‘them there’ pants ‘up all high like’? Because an awful lot of people looked like what I’m calling "average guy". This alone was a little disturbing.
A few other random thoughts on the people in line: nice enough to me, but somewhat angry at the world and out of touch. Paranoid (see: Obama is ruining America). Delusional (see: Palin is gonna save America). Really religious (Christian). Older (50 plus). White (see: no African-Americans, and very few Hispanics, considering this took place in Florida). Big Huckabee, Romney, Beck and Coulter fans (of course I happily mentioned that Ms. Coulter once promised to campaign for Hillary Clinton if she and McCain won their respective nominations).
I spent most of my time in line answering comments and questions with really ambiguous answers. It was actually sort of fun. For example, when I was faced with a comment about how "we" needed to take a more activist-type approach to get Obama out of the White House, I answered with "I believe everyone needs to get out and vote".
Another interesting aspect was the two chicks in line behind me. Sisters. They were actually pretty fun. In fact, I got along so well with the younger one that an older couple in front of us pulled me aside to say I should ask her out. Later that evening, when she informed me that they were Mormons, I again carefully responded that "I was raised Catholic". This, it turns out, was the equivalent of telling her I was Muslim. Seriously. In about five minutes’ time, they both went from being by my side all day (and part of a roughly ten person group that had formed), to jumping ahead and leaving us behind. Fine by me...crazy Mormons.
I was in line from 8:05 AM to roughly 12:30 PM (about 4.5 hours). And again from roughly 6:15 PM to 10:15 PM (4 hours). So a total of 8.5 hours. The first round was to get a wristband. There were three groups that got them, and I was toward the end of the yellow wristbands --meaning I might get in but no guarantee. The second round was an initially chaotic mess to queue for the actual signing. At about 9:30 PM there was an announcement that Palin would meet everyone with a wristband.
What else? I saw a crazed woman with a loud, screechy voice running around with a sign the whole time. It said "www dot mycongressmanisnuts dot com" (no linky thank you very much). This recently became national news. But I want to thank her, as I’ve decided to make a donation to Representative Grayson.
Then there’s Mrs. Palin. I have to say she was very nice and clearly generous with her time. She stayed late and tried to make each meeting feel personal. I won’t ever vote for her, but I also didn’t feel like I wanted to be mean or rude either. As you can see from the photos below, there was a lot of love between us. Both of her parents were also there to greet us afterwards, and they looked exhausted.
Three additional notes:
1. Sarah did not accept the hug passed along from Yvette, simply saying "I am so over that girl". :)
2. I am holding a contest to see who can come up with the best caption for Photo 4. The rules are: you’ve got one week from the time of this posting. Anything goes, including altering the photo. And I decide who wins, based on whatever criteria I feel like. The winner gets a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com (or equiv).
3. I will also say I miss having a "partner in crime" for these kinds of events. Had that in Indy, Bloomington, Cincy...but not here in Orlando. There’s no way I’ll move back to the Midwest, but I do miss my peeps there.
My books and autograph, ready for Ebay
Sarah's bus photo 1
Sarah's bus photo 2
Sarah's bus photo 3
Sarah and Jay love photo 1
Sarah and Jay love photo 2
Sarah and Jay love photo 3
Sarah and Jay love photo 4
More general info:
Funny interviews from the Columbus, OH signing
"Sarah Palin Visits Central Fla. On Book Tour"
"Hundreds Lining Up For Sarah Palin Book Signing In Orlando"
"Sarah Palin in Central Florida"