Well, my big day with Big Bill didn't turn out as planned. Leslie and I arrived at Barnes & Noble at about 7:45 this morning for a book signing that's not starting till 8:30 tonight and were already too late.
Apparently, there were folks lined up with their tents and hibachis as early as Sunday night. Anybody who got there much after midnight or 1 AM this morning wasn't going to get in. They did hand stamps at 4:30 AM and only those people will be eligible for a wrist band, which they're handing out now. And even a wrist band will be no guarantee of actually meeting President Clinton.
It was quite a scene, with the lines of the hopeful wrapping multiple times through the parking lot, out onto one major boulevard, around the corner down an expressway, and almost onto the freeway offramp where we finally found a place in line. That was before the San Jose police came through to let us know there was no way in hell we were getting in to see the President, and that we needed to disperse and get off the expressway before we caused an accident.
The people in line and milling around were, for the most part, very well behaved, helpful, and cooperative with the authorities and each other. The only minor problems and confusion seemed to stem from poor communications between the store staff, the secret service, and the city police. Still, even though there were a few conflicting stories being spread around, they managed the situation well enough.
We felt that we'd gotten to the bottom of the situation and understood what was happening (and that we were not going to get to meet Bill) by about 9 AM and drove off to breakfast.
A little disappointing, but far better than either standing there for the next fifteen hours and still not getting our books signed, or having had to spend the night (or two) sleeping in the parking lot. We were looking forward to this, but we're not quite that crazy.
Meanwhile, I'm up to page 67 in the book - barely a dent in its 957 pages - and enjoying it so far. I'm getting the feeling it's really two books, and should have been in two volumes: #1 - "How I got to the Presidency" & #2 - "How Ken Starr screwed it all up for me." The first book is very interesting if a bit over done, the second one possibly just a self-serving waste of time. I'll let you know how far I eventually get.