My desk job is located on 54th Street. So, how delighted was I last Thursday when my clock radio announced that almost all of 54th Street would be blocked off later that afternoon because the PRESIDENT WAS DRIVING BY. Eeek!
This is just a portion of the crowd that gathered that afternoon outside my office to literally watch the President’s car drive down the street at a totally normal (fast) pace. His is one of the two nearest cars you see in the photo. Nobody knows which one is his, they were identical! Tricky, tricky. Way to fake us out.
The cheer that errupted from the crowd as his car(s) passed by was loud and joyful, but because the actual moment happened so quickly, the screaming died down almost immediately after it began. It sounded like someone was watching TV and flipped channels right past a team’s winning touchdown – the channel flipper didn’t pause to watch any of the happy football fans, but continued quickly on to a quiet show about the Rare Bugs of Asia.
“WOOOOO YAAAYYYY OBAMAAA.” Silence.
Obviously, there was lots of discussion and excitement among my officemates about the experience. We stood high above the crowd, enjoying a bird’s eye view of the whole affair, and marveling at the throngs of traffic stopped dead for who-knows-how-long. Even though he only drove by for a flash of a moment, those cops were prepared for him to drive by AT ANY SECOND for, like, an hour. If yours was a car, bus or van that happened to be at this particular stop light at this particular moment, you weren’t going to be moving for quite some time.
I know it’s rather ridiculous to anthropomorphize a car, especially when you can only see its roof, but from my perspective, it seemed like these cars didn’t mind so much that they had to wait. Yes we can!
Part of the Presidential entourage included some vans and SUVs that were driving around with their back and side doors wide open so that MEN WITH MACHINE GUNS AND SNIPERS could hang out of the open doors in case they had to snipe someone. It was wild. I couldn’t get over all the hoopla surrounding a simple drive across town! The guy wasn’t making an official “Presidential” drive, he was just trying to get from point A to B. But the world shut down so he could pass by. It was sort of super cool and sort of super weird.
But still, we’re all only human, and the man is an icon, and aside from being a cool, brilliant, awesome guy, his success is a source of great pride for many people in this country, myself included. So we gathered to watch him move through space, surrounded by two tons of steel, metal, and tinted windows.
I felt special and better off for having occupied the same 100 yard radius as Barack Obama for .19986 seconds. Thanks, desk job.