Monday, September 17, 2012

Nostrils, "Johnny," and the President

Just days before the Middle East erupted into violence over an anti-Muslim video, the Obama administration was riding especially high following a rousing Democratic National Convention. I had the privilege of attending the very first campaign rally post-convention.

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Venue: Strawbery Banke Museum grounds

In attendance: The Obamas and Bidens (along with New Hampshire Governor John Lynch and United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen)

Mood: Jubilant

Weather: Unseasonably hot (in the 80s)

Felt like: In the 90s

Even more handsome in person: President Obama

Toughest to photograph behind a TelePrompTer: Vice President Biden

Organizers were best at: Providing water to the crowd

Organizers were worst at: Getting attendees back to their cars, which were parked at the Pease International Tradeport parking lot

Reason: The school buses that transported attendees into Portsmouth failed to pick them up post-rally.

Alternate mode of transportation used to get back to car: Group taxi

Rumors flying: The buses were dropping off children after school, but school was canceled that day, I was told. The buses were caught in a presidential-motorcade traffic jam at a rotary. However, two hours had passed since the rally ended, and the President had left the area on Air Force One.

Most unwanted photo I took: My nostrils

Best photo I took: My nostrils. (Don't believe me? See for yourself. Anna Wintour, are you reading this? It's gratifying to know that after a half-century I have finally found my best angle!)

Explain: Fifteen feet from the President and First Lady, I endured the world's worst-timed camera "malfunction." Standing side by side, the President was waving to the person standing next to me (yes, practically looking at ME!); the First Lady had a huge smile on her face.

Problem: The lens was facing me, not the President.

The power of Facebook: I inadvertently spotted a friend of a Facebook friend -- the former I didn't know about and the latter I hadn't met!

English, please: While waiting to enter the museum grounds, I posted as my status: "In line behind Johnny Depp doppelgänger. Lol." In no time whatsoever, my Facebook friend named "Johnny" as a very good friend of his. I was flabbergasted but by then couldn't confirm it because "Johnny" had disappeared into the crowd of thousands.

Small world: Later in the day, I saw "Johnny" again! I told him the funny story, and he confirmed his identity. He seemed unfazed to be mistaken for the Hollywood heartthrob. I figured it must happen often. Indeed, my Facebook friend later said it does.

Biggest annoyance of the day: Waiting thirty minutes to get out of the Pease parking lot because traffic was being directed by a campaign volunteer who looked TEN! (I was told he was fifteen.)

Biggest bummer of the day: Losing a friend's paperback copy of Dry, a memoir by Augusten Burroughs I was thoroughly enjoying, and my campaign-rally ticket stub stuck inside.

Hunter-Downer Mom action taken: Phoned Starbucks -- not there. Phoned taxi company -- not left inside vehicle. Phoned Pease International Tradeport -- not found in parking lot.

My best guess: I put it on the hood of my car while loading my car post-rally. In a big hurry to pick up my boys, I forgot the book. It fell to the ground while I backed up, and someone parked near me picked it up.

No worries: I have replaced the book. And the ticket? Well, at least I'd taken a picture of it. Most importantly, I'd had it when I needed it -- to get into the rally!

Perfect way to end the day: With a dip in the cool ocean after returning to my town and discovering I had one extra child-free hour -- I love it when that happens! -- having miscalculated the pickup time for the after-school program.

Verdict: A memorable day all around!

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