Chicago Dispatch: Still Alive In Grant Park

That’s right Kanye – you’re no longer the most popular black man in Chicago. Until people are let out of work early to see you rock a concert, that title officially belongs to Barack Obama.


Loads of employees were released at three today, and, judging by the number of supporters swarming on Grant Park, I’m guessing that most of them didn’t stop at home to re-apply deodorant. Like Klan members on Martin Luther King Day, even McCain supporters are taking full advantage of this holiday.


Those who aren’t in line are filling the hotel bars across the street; I’m totally going to have to squeeze some Visine in someone’s drink later so I can swipe their stool while they run for the can.


I’m impressed by the cornucopia of individuals out here. Every breed is covered, from bike messengers and coffee shop chicks to porn stars, infants, granolas, punks, and thugs dipped in rhinestone-drenched Obama tees.


My one complaint is that no one brought a boom box. If there ever was a time to break out the cardboard and commence with some backspin action, this is it.


There are two lines: one for ticketed folks, and one for heads who missed the guest list. The place promises to be a sardine can, and diehards want to touch the magic. The ticket queue is the longer of the two, which I don’t get.


One woman tells me that she came at noon in order to secure a place up front. But when I ask her what will happen if, after waiting in line for eight hours, she has to piss and ends up losing her position, she changes her reasoning: “It’s just a historic event,” she says.


I’m curious about how some of these people displace their mania between elections. One woman particularly piques my curiosity – she’s wearing red pumps and an Ole Miss flag, and she’s holding a makeshift Obama sign made of tin foil. You’ll probably see her on the news; she’s given enough interviews to warrant retaining a publicist.


Between the adrenaline and miraculous weather, I’m sweating like a convict. I’m done perspiring out of fear that Obama might lose; this is looking like a sure bet – Barack is one horse that I hope Michael Jordan put his money on.


I’m headed back to home base to quickly puff some Question 2 and drop my laptop off. Be sure to check my Twitter feed all night, as I can’t bring my bag into the rally and will have to communicate via cell phone. And if for some reason you haven’t voted yet, get off your lazy ass and roll to your polling station. America depends on it, unless, of course, you’re voting for the villain.


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