Seeing Al Gore was well worth the wait but I can't quite put my finger on why. I guess I just really like him.
I got in line around 4:45 on Tuesday and sat and opened King's Dark Tower IV like I do so very often. I was about 25th in line and it was growing fast! The crowd was very mixed and very excited. I wasn't there to mingle and spread rumors about Gore running in 'o8 or discuss politics. The woman next to me got in an argument with two frat boys trying to get people to sign their petitions to help get the Green Party on the ballot next election. (Wasted votes)
I was waiting for Diana, a friend and colleague, and I had a Powerade (red of course) and an apple so I was slightly annoyed when they opened doors half an hour early due to the heat. Diana now wouldn't be able to find me and I was enjoying sitting outside.
So I mosied on in to Friends Select, a private Quaker school, and bought An Inconvenient Truth for $23.50. No one could bring in outside books and the rules were quite strict. Nothing but the book purchased at the signing would be signed, no personalization - just Al Gore's signature and no photos with Gore. (Proceeds went to Gore's organization of choice of course)
I walked into the gymnasium and walked back and forth back and forth along the impromptu maze set up with caution tape. Didn't we always just jump straight across at Great Adventure when there were no lines? We all felt quite silly. It took ten minutes to walk the length of the gymnasium.
I stood and waited for Diana and was grateful to have spotted her before my vision of the door became too poor. She cut across and we ignored the annoyed faces of those few she cut. Thank God she was there. We proceeded to stand in line until 7:15 pm when Gore finally stepped into the room and the conversation helped the time pass.
Press was in full effect asking people to open their books and gaze down affectionately as they made pretend they were reading. I took no part in that. The radio folk were there asking questions.
Gore was 15 minutes late and the doors were closed around 6:30 due to maximum occupancy at 1200. More waited outside the doors in case Gore had more time. I was happy to have done my waiting before instead of after. Once he started signing I'd be out within ten minutes and I also had front row view of him.
The crowd went wild when Gore entered and it really was pretty fun. I just like him so much. He's good people. It was nice to see him less than ten feet away. A small group began chanting "Gore '08! Gore '08!" and Gore smiled and rolled his eyes and shook his head as if to say "no way!". It was funny.
He began by saying that he knew we have been waiting a long time and that he wanted to get to everyone so he would be brief. He wasn't kidding! He spoke for 5 minutes and 50 seconds. I know because I recorded the whole thing. I plan to link the video to this blog for those interested. It wasn't a very memorable speech but feel good. It was over so fast. But it souped us up and made us cheer for him. He spoke of how the chinese symbol for crisis is also the symbol for change and yeah, you know where I'm going. I need to watch the video again. I was too focused on holding the camera steady that I wasn't listening too well.
So as soon as he was done talking he ducked behind his little table and the press covered him like ants on jelly and he started moving like lightning. It was way too fast and way to impersonal and I knew I wouldn't get a chance to tell him that I started a recycling program at work.
Diana got a photo of the back of my head with Gore and I was able to snap this photo of her with Gore before security told me to move on out.
That's her in the green.
So he signed my book while I was still a few feet away and then when I was standing in front of him, he looked up and smiled and shook my hand. All I could manage was , "Thank you". In that setting, nothing I could have said would have been memorable and I know it.
But it was fun and we both walked out very excited and kind of giddy. We went and had a drink and the conversation was changed within ten minutes but it really was pretty cool.
I went home and read some excerpts of the book to Mike who did not go see the movie with me and I am pleased to say that the book and movie are basically one in the same. The same graphs and charts and text even. It's set up like a very informative coffee table book. Even someone who had no idea what they were looking at would find themselves intrigued by the photos and the captions.
Wait - 2.5 hours
Speech - 5 minutes 50 seconds
Time in prescence of Gore between speech and signing - 10 minutes
Worth it? - Yes