l”>Light cool day; everything in the hall feels a bit anticlimactic after last night. I’m sitting in Rice Park with MSNBC blaring in the background. No protests at the moment; there was one sad 9/11 truther walking around with a pole. No sign, just a pole. The Mossad took it! A couple has set up an unintelligible hand-made sign that demands a NEW MONETARY ORDER; they’re either protesting the Federal Reserve, or Western Union. Two bands are playing pretty good rock to audiences composed entirely of granite-faced cops. There’s really nothing to film and nothing to cover; it’s all just a matter of waiting for McCain.
The quote going around the newsrooms: when this thing is over, there will be a crash heard for a ninety-mile radius. I think you’ll all be understanding if newspapers just take a week off, won’t you? People who’ve been on this thing for a fortnight are staggering around like hollow-skulled zombies. What must surely task the souls of pundits at the moment is the knowledge that nothing anyone writes or predicts before tonight’s speech will matter a second after McCain begins to talk. I mean, I have to go on the air in four hours, and I feel like singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” until they cut my mike.
One sign it’s been a long week: by day four, you should set off the metal detectors with your lanyard flair. Many news organizations and exhibiters give away small pins to hang on your neck-rope, and we collect them just because they’re free; I have a UPS tape measure for the same reason. (Actually, I have two, because whenever someone hands out something you get one for “your friend.” Because there might be a pin-for-tape-measurer market that develops at any moment.) By Thursday you should have enough pins on your credentials lanyard to earn you the wanding of your life by the security guards.
Off to film some bands, then do some radio; downstairs on Radio Row you can hear the sound of the barrel-bottom being scraped, and that’s my cue.