Sunday, July 25, 2004

Eve Of The Convention

After arriving Saturday morning in to a drizzly Boston Logan Airport, and then sleeping much of the cool rainy day away at my friend's house in Winchester, just outside the city, it was quite a sight to see such a warm and beautiful Sunday greet me this morning. It was the sort of rare New England summer day that is a daily occurence in LA.

My big goal for the day was to venture into Boston to the Westin Copley Hotel to pick up our credentials. Dave won't arrive in Boston until Wednesday morning to be here for the final 2 days, so expect a couple of days of Todd's Convention Adventures, for better or worse. My mission today was to collect 2 passes: 1 "perimeter pass," which is good for the whole week and, as I understand it, grants me and Dave (we can switch possession of the two passes between us as we wish) access to the vicinity of the Fleet Center including an area devoted to the media for filing; and 1 "hall pass," handed out daily, which grants us access to the Fleet Center itself, access that includes an onsite filing room and the opportunity to wait in line for a rotating floor pass (the holy grail of passes, it would seem.)

My host, Paresh, and I decided to recreate as closely as we could my daily route to the Westin (from where I will be shuttled to the Fleet Center each day.) We drove to the Red Line T stop (usually I'll be taking a bus there) and took that to the Green Line and took that to the Copley stop. The Westin was right in front of us as we emerged, and as we approached it, we passed a stand of 2004 DNC paraphernalia. The hats are cool, but the t-shirts are a little lame. (I must say I'm not a big fan of the convention logo itself -- sort of a wavy American flag made up of red and blue swishes, a logo bettered only slightly by the American flag on the Kerry/Edwards logo, not a graphic triumph either.) But getting back to the credentials, as we approached the hotel, I must say it was really starting to sink was getting real and my stomach sank. What if this was all a cruel joke? Were we truly meant to get credentials? Dave and I are very proud of our newsletter, which was what we submitted when applying for credentials, but we thought it was the longest of longest shots that we would be accepted. I was about to find out for sure. We got to the proper floor and then the proper room and I, Jason Bourne, took a deep breath and went to the check-in desk.

"I'm here to pick up my credentials."

"OK, what's your organization?"

Umm, define organization.

"Dave & Todd's Wild Democracy Ride," I said. She chuckled.


Yes really! Why are you laughing!? She flipped the pages and my Jason Bourne super vision somehow found my name upside down before she did right side up and I let out a sigh of relief (Jason Bourne would have been much cooler). She checked off my, um, organization name, and smiled and pointed me to a table across the way.

I approached that table and presented my original letter that arrived in the mail (accompanied by angels singing) that said in no uncertain terms that I was credentialed for the convention. Certainly I was in the clear now.

"Hi, I'm here to pick up my credentials."

I gave her my letter and my photo ID. She looked at me. Smiled.

"Do you have press ID?"


"A press pass?"

Be cool, Jason. Be cool.

"I don't actually, I was told I just needed to present this letter and a photo ID to get the credentials."

She looked at me, turned and went for a big box. The credential box perhaps? She pulled an envelope out and walked over to me, as though in slow motion (there were those damn angels again), and handed me the credentials, 2, just as promised. I was then directed to another floor to pick up my media packet. I was good to go. Mission accomplished. It was really really real.

As we ventured out to explore downtown a bit, we were surprised that, contrary to the sense you get from the news, this city is so not in security lockdown. The T ran smoothly and wasn't even that crowded and there were even a couple of protests that we ran into that seemed to be almost business as usual. What was most noticeable was that there was a buzz in the city -- the buzz of a common purpose among people on the street -- to defeat George Bush.

And just a little shout out to some random folks we came across: to the nice drunk man who tried to get us to go into The Littlest Bar - "none of this $6 beer shit!" - um, maybe next time; to the nice Communist lady who provided me with "Kerry's no better than Bush" propoganda, get a clue, lady, it doesn't work; and to the Kerry volunteers, one of whom let me take a 3'x2' Kerry/Edwards poster, you guys rock and keep up the good work!

As for the rest of the week, each day's main event begins at 4pm at the Fleet Center and I've been pleasantly surprised to find out about so many cool events that will be taking place in Boston during the early afternoons. I expect to be covering an event with James Carville, Wesley Clark and Max Cleland tomorrow, an Arianna Huffington event Wednesday morning and an Instant Run-off Voting forum on Wednesday afternoon.

Stay tuned for more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who needs Jason Bourne when you have Beeton!! Congrats Todd, can't wait to read the continuing saga--Sarah

10:53 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home