[A few of the thousands of signs, and me, with mine.]
Seven Things I learned at the Rally to Restore Sanity:
1. Cell phones only work when 200,000 people aren't trying to use them simultaneously in the same location. Note to self: Learn smoke signals for the apocalypse.
Although, we had made arrangements to meet friends at the rally via cell phone, our phones were not working at the rally. Maybe because everyone at the rally was trying to text/call/update their Facebook status simultaneously. My lovely droid was useless except as a camera/watch. We had to get about five blocks from the rally before we could start to use our phones and, then, it was still very spotty. So, I didn't get to see some friends I'd planned to see but I did run into another friend who I didn't even know was planning to go. So, yay, for that!
2. A rally crowd will sloooowly let you out but they will not let you back in.
At some point you have to go to the bathroom. Even if it's to a port-o-john. You will find the sea of humanity that just a few moments ago held a very small spot in reserve for you, is on that spot quicker than Charlie Sheen is on a hooker.
3. Using a port-o-john? Icky. Using a port-o-john when someone decides to climb on top of it? Scary.
Oh, yes, people! These port-o-johns, with their fancy extra doodads like toilet paper (huzzah!) and hand sanitizer, had white plastic tops that let some level of light in. They looked pretty flimsy to me and felt even flimsier as someone climbed up there. I reeeeeaally didn't want someone cannonballing into my lap.
4. Sometimes leaving a rally is more crowded than being at the rally.
As crowded as the rally was, it wasn't until we were trying to leave that we understood just how crowded it could get. It is a very strange feeling to see no space anywhere--just people in all directions, as far as the eye can see. Like being in a packed elevator but inching forward... for miles.
5. Standing in one spot for hours is much harder on the feet than moving for the same number of hours.
And it doesn't get any easier when the 9 inches of precious space you have in front of you is periodically invaded by the chick in front of you who insists on doing a reverse head butt every time she laughs.
6. Having a sign at a rally is great--for the first 30 minutes.
After that, it's just dead weight with dangerous points.
7. It was still totally worth it.
Stewart, Colbert, Mavis Staples, Yusaf Islam, Ozzie, The Roots, Father Guido Sarducci, John Legend, Cheryl Crow, and on and on. It was a great party!
Plus, one of my favorite moments of the day came before the rally, riding on the Metro. We got on at one end of a Metro line so the four of us had seats. By the third stop, the train was FULL but we kept going and we kept stopping at each station and people kept trying to get on. The Metro announcer was getting more and more agitated with each stop... "Do NOT overcrowd the train! DO NOT overcrowd the train! If you lean against the doors, the doors will malfunction! If you try to force the doors they will MALFUNCTION! Do NOT overcrowd the train!" and so on. After the fifth tirade like this, someone in our car pretended to be the announcer, in full parent mode, "I will TURN THIS TRAIN AROUND!"