Thursday, November 4, 2010

Waiting for Bill Clinton

The day before election day, Bill Clinton came to Lake Eola to endorse the Democratic Candidates. I had just been to a public hearing to sketch the ten or so citizens who wanted to find out how billions of our tax dollars will be spent to get tourists from the airport to Disney and if they want, Tampa. The small turn out was a bit depressing. I arrived at Lake Eola early, got a sandwich at Pannera and started to sketch. North Eola Drive which runs along the West Edge of the park, was completely shut down. Police blocked the northern access with their bikes. An officer walked up to me when I just had five lines on the page. He asked, "You sketching?" I replied, "Not much to see yet, I just started." "Weren't you at that Smile event?" Suddenly I remembered him. He took an interest in my work that day as well. He said, "You do good work, I'll let you get to it." Though he was pretty far away, I swear he might have been voguing a bit, looking regal for the sketch.

News vans were lined all along the street with satellite dishes to broadcast the event live. A homeless man stood close to me several times complaining about the number and placement of the police. I ignored him. One word from me and he would have someone to complain to for the rest of the night. Political signs from all the Democratic candidates were everywhere. An area was fenced in to contain the crowd. This area was only about twenty yards square with a stage set up with a podium and large American flag. The media had a staging area near the back of the enclosure. As they were setting up the TV cameras, a security detail told them to leave the area. They had to leave any equipment since the wouldn't be able to get it back in if they took it with them. An officer with a K-9 bomb sniffing dog explored the media staging area. The dog was a bit off task since he kept looking up at the growing crowd waiting to get in. The officer kept pointing at one bag and the dog just wouldn't sniff.

I walked around some more considering drawing the growing crowd in the darkness. But the crowd was depressingly small in size. Even if Bill played saxophone, it would be to little to late. Even though I had a ticket, I felt tired and despondent. I decided to drive home before the area became locked down with black limos and secret service. I would watch Bill on the eleven o'clock news with the rest of the Orlando couch potatoes.

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