I've been waiting for JP to get his posts up about our excellent adventure going to see Obama & Biden live at the Old State Capitol. This because I wanted to link to as many things as possible rather than have to write about them myself. Finally JP has some stuff up so I can now riff off of that.
First, it really was exactly as I expected: hot and humid and nothing to drink. There really should have been better provisions for providing water to the crowd. What was available was almost impossible to get to. Some people passed out, while other were very desperate to get to the water tent. I made an attempt but after fighting the crowd for about 15 minutes, I gave up. I wasn't THAT thirsty and other people obviously were. But I did OK. I knew relief was only a half a block away at Brewhaus if I really, really needed it. And a...more on Brewhaus later.
We got downtown about noon. We saw the massive line and followed it to its origin, which, by the time we got there, snaked back many blocks to in front of Saputos (see JP's photo here). It took us about 10 minutes just to walk to the back of the line and then another half an hour to walk in line to the entrance to the event at 7th and Washington.
At the security entrance, we had to unload our pockets and go through the metal detector. JP failed his first attempt through but graduated with honors on his second attempt. Iron rich blood or something. I, of course, had no problems. I was just glad we didn't have to take off our shoes. Which makes me wonder, why are shoes a potential danger to airplanes only?
Once inside, we were immediately approached by this guy, who took a keen interest in our cell phones for some reason. It turned out he was a staunch McCain supporter, but came to town from Mason City to revel in the event anyway. He was nice enough, but JP and I moved on after a bit fearing he was going to latch on to us for the duration. We also checked our pockets for our wallets just in case.
Then we just stood there baking in the sun for what seemed like forever. There was this really tall guy near us who I was so tempted to stand behind just for the shade. But in the end, the only relief we got was the occasional stray cloud blocking the sun. One such cloud even got cheers from the crowd.
The warm up (as if we weren't hot enough!) were Obama campaign organizers (one of whom couldn't say "housing project" and twice said "project housing" or something), the Pledge of Allegiance, and a religious invocation. Not long after that, Mr. Obama took the stage. When people's heads moved the right way and signs weren't in the air, I could actually see Obama for a split second or so. Mostly I saw this though:
Later, Biden came on stage and began to give his speech. Again, I was able to get fleeting glimpses of him. About half way through his speech, I tapped JP on the shoulder and suggested we make a retreat before our 35,000 other friends decided to do the same thing. JP was agreeable and we made our way to the one entrance/exit which just happened to be right in front of Brewhaus.
At that point, we were hot and very thirsty. The lure of cold beer was irresistible. We decided to try Brewhaus. We went in and were surprised that it really wasn't all that crowded. Most of the bar stools and tables were taken but it wasn't packed or anything. Most of the people there were intently watching the speech on the TVs. I thought that was strange. They were just feet from the event and yet where inside, sitting down in a cool building, enjoying beverages...oh, wait, I get it now.
Now let me stop the story right here and point out that no blog in the world praises Bewhaus on a regular basis like mine. Brewhaus is the official bar of The Eleventh Hour. And I still love the best beer bar in town, but my experience there Saturday sucked big time. Anyway, back to the story.
So we make our way down to the north end of the bar and get behind a few people to place our beer order. At that point I really didn't care what we got, but I spy the Blue Moon draught handle and think that will be a good choice. When the bartender gets my order, she goes off and pours us not glasses of beer, but beer in two red plastic cups. I pay her the $3.50 a piece price and give her a two dollar tip. We lift the long awaited brew to our lips and discover the plastic cups are filled three-quarters of the way with WARM FOAM. We tip the cups skyward to get to what beer there is because we just don't give a shit anymore. But really, $7 plus tip for two cups of foam? Give a loyal customer a break, Brewhaus!
Having had enough of the shittiness of Brewhaus, we leave through the rear entrance and quickly make our way back to JP's vehicle where we (I) had the foresight to stash a small cooler full of iced-down water bottles. As soon as we got the vehicle we tore into those. Finally, thirst quenched!
That's pretty much all there was. We did hang out at my place for a while afterword and enjoyed some brews from my beer fridge, making good on the disappointment of Brewhaus.
Final score: Obama/Biden - 10, Brewhaus - 0, Dave and JP - 11.
Update: Leave it to me to inadvertently piss off another Springfield blogger (see comments). To be clear, I do not blame the bartender at Brewhaus. It was a weird day for everyone and things go wrong.