Rally to Restore Sanity: I Never Want to Say, I Wish I'd Been There

I was one of the 200,00?, 150,000? 7,000, 500,000? (attendance depends on who you ask or watch or listen to, but having been there and having also been to President Obama's Inauguration, January 20, 2009, where I believe it was said there were over one million people, this one felt almost as crowded and well attended). Attendance aside, it was an event to be reckoned with and to be attended. If there's one thing I hate, it is to have to say, after an event, "Damn, I wish I had gone". So when my intuition says attend, I make every effort to do so and thus attended the Rally to Restore Sanity imagined and executed by Jon Stewart and his producers/ The March to Keep Fear Alive, co-executed by Stephen Colbert on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Finding a partner in crime was the first obstacle to overcome. As is often my way, I search for these partners through the social networks online, specifically Craig's List. Out of many responses to my ad, I found and chose a lovely person who seemed equally informed, interested and willing to become involved in this endeavor. I'll refrain from naming him here out of respect for his privacy, though he is tagged on my photos on facebook, as well as my google web picture album. So much for privacy


 Finding a way to get to the event was the second obstacle. Driving was an option, but parking in the city was not and having to make a choice and plan for a one day trip or a stay over, made this option complicated. Thanks to the DC Rally Bus, it took little time to find a bus going from Morristown, NJ to Union Station in Washington, DC for the cost of $60 round trip. As the ad said, This is a good alternative to Greyhound or any other bus line. For one, everyone on these buses will be going to D.C. for the same reason! In addition, many bus lines (and Amtrak trains), will be inundated the weekend of the rally. As it turned out, this advice was true. There were free buses leaving from NYC, but I heard at the rally that they had their share of problems, one being arriving late. Our bus ride to and from the rally was flawless.

The only problem about this bus trip was that we had to be at the bus at 4:30 AM (that's AM, as in the dark, sleepy hours of the morning). So, after about 4 hours of sleep, we arose, got ready and sleepily went out in the dark, found the parking garage and bus without incident and I for one, proceeded to sleep, or at least keep my eyes closed for the 4 1/2 hours of the trip. Other than the inconvenience of taking out and putting in my contact lenses, it wasn't as bad as it seemed it would be.

We were greeted in DC by a glorious Fall morning, at a crisp 50-something degrees, a bit of a breeze, blue skies and the ubiquitous Capitol Building seemingly everywhere we turned. The only problem, as I saw it, was that I had not had any coffee, nor anything to eat. Bob, had, perhaps more wisely than me, chosen to get a cup at Dunkin Donuts, along with a muffin before getting onto the bus. I wanted to sleep, thus refrained from the caffeine. Once out of the bus, the need for caffeine became an issue. So, I thought, let's cross the wide avenue, enter Union Station and get some coffee and something sweet to eat. On second thought, let's not, so as to take advantage of arriving in DC earlier than I'd usually done for past rallies, thus perhaps getting a good viewing spot at the rally. So we walked toward the Mall. Soon we saw some people with nice large cups of steaming coffee, asked them where they were purchased, were told Union Station, and so we turned around toward Union Station. After just a few steps, the idea of a good position took precedence once again and thus, once more we turned around heading for the Mall. My luck was that Bob was quite patient ( a lot more than I would have been, had the situation been reversed). We were told that coffee could be found at the vendors in the Mall, and that thought sustained me, well, at least until the default headache set in.  Caffeine addiction has it's consequences.

Long story short, I never did get my coffee, nor did I find anything to eat, as had been promised in the pre-rally information. Yes, there was one vendor on our side of the barrier fences (which could not be passed without the assured risk of not being allowed back in), and the vendor did have a small variety of foods and drinks, including coffee, but they ran out  way before the 10 o'clock hour at which we arrived. What was left was potato chips and soda and water (thankfully, I had brought a water bottle, but I had left my lunch bag with fruit, yogurt and peanut butter and chocolate protein bars in the bus, being assured there would be sustenance to purchase at the rally). The line for food was at least a quarter mile long, but I got on it anyway. After about a quarter of an hour, I realized how foolish it was to be standing there for what would likely be over an hour or more in order to get a bag of potato chips as my award for my patience. So, as it turned out, The Rally To Restore Sanity turned out, at least for me, to be another "enforced Yom Kippur". But, I'm not complaining. Really. The hunger passes and then you forget about it. Really.

That was what you might call the downside of the rally. But there were many more upsides to compensate. The weather was perfect

There were a lot of people to meet and chat up.

We waited a long time before the actual events began, leaving me time to sit and read my book on Kindle.

There were lots of like minded people which is always satisfying.

Ans some not so like minded. Way over there to the right.

And even a HAWK!

We got to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert...on a screen.

And there were lots and lots and lots of great SIGNS!!!

And Port-A-Potties galore.

Even Rosie the Riveter has to go sometime!

I got some interesting viewpoints.

Some of it was wacky. 

Some of it was serious.

And there were  more good signs.

And after it all, we got to rest a bit.

We walked to the train station where later we'd be meeting our bus home.

We bought dinner in the Union Train Station and ate it out in front of the station.

Another tea bagger.

And in the end, a plea for tolerance.

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