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Notes from a crowded place

On Aug. 28, I attended Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field.Fortunately, I listened to the advice of good friends – Tina and Dave Routhier, who suggested I take the light rail from Lincoln Avenue to Invesco Field. That turned out to be good advice.There were plenty of places to park in the Lincoln Avenue parking structure when I arrived at noon, but the train was standing-room only all the way to Invesco Field.Chance of chances: Tina and Dave arrived at the station just in time to take the same train, so we rode together.The train stopped one stop short of Invesco Field, which turned out to be a good thing. If we were let out at Invesco Field, we would have had to walk at least a mile to find the end of the line of people waiting to get into the stadium.Even so, finding the end of the line was not easy and became harder as more people arrived. The line grew so long that it twisted around out of sight, causing total chaos for people who arrived later.In the process of getting into the line, I was separated from Tina and Dave.After an hour and a half in line, inching toward the security tent, a Transportation Security Authority inspector asked me to drink from my water bottle to prove that it didn’t contain explosives (I guess). Finally, I was inside the stadium and climbing toward my nosebleed seat in section 515.About an hour later, I saw Tina and Dave climbing the stairs, so we got to sit together after all.From my seat, the podium looked miles away. I couldn’t even tell it was Stevie Wonder on stage.Somehow, over the course of six hours, the stadium filled to capacity – much to my amazement. I began to worry that, with all these people, I would never be able to get on a train and back to my car before the light rail shut down for the night.As soon as Obama’s speech ended, I began a mad scramble to get to the light rail station. Once again, thousands of people separated me from Tina and Dave.I was jammed in an undulating human wave of light rail seekers in an hour-long quest for the station. In the dark, I turned and saw Tina and Dave!We walked together for a while, but Tina needed to rest her hip, so I continued to the station.Wouldn’t it be funny, I thought as I was standing in line, if I turned and saw Tina and Dave. I turned, but they weren’t there.Finally, a train arrived and the conductor opened the gate. I chose an empty-looking rail car and made a dash, just barely squeezing in. I looked up, and there was Tina and Dave, already seated. We laughed and waved hands over the heads of all the other passengers.At the Lincoln Avenue station, Tina and Dave took the elevator and I took the stairs, fearing that the elevator would be too crowded for all the passengers. They got off the elevator on the fourth floor – the same floor I had parked on.We waved and said goodbye, but I thought as I drove home, wouldn’t it be funny to drive to Tina and Dave’s house for one last surprise?But that wouldn’t have been by chance, so I drove home and dreamed of change instead.

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