Do you ever build up a really favourable impression of somebody you don't really know but think you do (author, celebrity, politician, friend of a a friend)? And then, on meeting them, find out that they don't quite live up to your high opinion or expectation?
That didn't happen to me this morning.
If I'm going to wake up earlier than I've ever done since becoming a legislator, and drive through sleet and rain in the worst morning traffic I've ever seen, I want it to be worth my while.
I parked my car at the Diocesan Office, which is right across the street from the Historical Society, where the breakfast with Senator Barack Obama was taking place. I got there after 8:00 but didn't stress. I assumed the crowd would gather, consume coffee and donuts and muffins for a while, and later the Candidate would appear, take a few questions, and swiftly vanish.
Barack Obama was in the room when I got there. Mingling.
A couple of minutes after I took this picture, he mingled with me. He shook my hand--he has a wonderful handshake and a very warm hand. I showed him my ONE Campaign wristband. He's been known to sport one himself, although he wasn't today. He told me he has "about eleven of them."
One of my shutterbug legislator friends took a picture of the Senator holding hands with me. I hope she'll send it to me without my having to pester her about it! Because if I have to, I will....
There was a Q&A, during which the Candidate displayed a formidable degree of dignity, intelligence, thoughtfulness, pragmatism, sensitivity, boldness, conviction, and optimism.
He wasn't getting softball questions, either. Not from Granite Staters!
When he finished speaking, there was more mingling and some Grip & Grin.
Then the Senator headed off to the Governor's Office.
After chatting with some fellow reps, I made my way to the Cyber Rooom for a quick email check. Then I crossed over to the State House, intending to empty my mail box in the members' Cloak Room. As I passed by the Governor's Office--the door was open--I heard a very loud burst of applause, and saw some of the staff smiling and clapping. Obama had just finished his remarks.
I could've hung around and photographed him again on his exit. But I didn't. I'd successfuly made it through the morning without morphing into that weepy fangirl who stalks lame, talentless American Idol wannabe Sanjaya Malakar.
Emptied my mailbox, headed downstairs, unintentionally following the remnants of the Obama entourage (state police, photographer). Exiting the building, I saw the Candidate climb into his vehicle.
The Obama-mobile isn't a limo. Or a bus. Or one of those SUV's on steroids used by most candidates. He's driving around our state in a suburban mom's People Mover.
After waving at his departing vehicle, I returned to my own car.
In the parking lot, I encountered someone who is probably the most famous and visible gay human being on the planet right now. Seeing me, he asked, "So, Margaret, are you going to give me my civil union?"
He's not the only one interested in the outcome of the pending vote. Tomorrow morning the Legislature will act upon the civil unions legislation, postponed from last week. Will our state follow the lead set by Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey? That seems to be the prediction.
I've been receiving mail and phone calls on both sides of the issue. These communications can be difficult. I got a bit weepy yesterday.
Eventually I returned home via post office, bank, and library, to confront twelve (!) muddy paws.
When they settled down a bit, I informed my bouncing beasts that they would definitely like Obama.
Just like them, he's black and white.