I knew things weren’t going to be good when I got to the bus stop this morning and there was already a gaggle of people standing there. Clearly, this was indicative of a transit problem. After too long, a bus pulled up and we all got on. I landed one of the old people seats in the front so that was cool, but then at the next stop, one of those old people needed to get on. I got up and went to stand in the back with another older lady and a blue-haired chick. The delays mounted as it took forever for the oldster and his Rascal ™ to get situated in the front. The lady next to me started hollering for the driver to open the back door. She’d had enough, I presumed, and decided to wait for the next bus. The driver didn’t hear her, so the blue-haired chick took gave a holler too. She had lungs. The door popped open and the lady got out, grumbling, and finally we started moving again. At the next stop, with another dozen or more people crowding on, I started to think that lady had the right idea. Sure enough, I could just make out the next bus coming over the hill behind, so I hollered for the driver to open the back door, but the driver didn’t hear me. Then I heard the blue-haired chick inhale. The sound started somewhere from the middle of her small body, some other-worldly cavernous sound-making place, and funneled out her mouth in a melodic resonant stream that rushed forward in a whoosh so clear that the whole bus was filled with the sound of “OPEN THE BACK DOOR PLEASE!” In the hush that followed the door popped open and I said, “Thanks! You’re really good at that!” She shrugged and said, “It’s my job.” That left me wondering as I waited alone at the stop for the next over-crowded bus to come by, “What sort of job would that be…? Opera singer? Soccer coach? … Yodeler? ”
This morning from my kitchen window I can see the little girls next door frolicking in their backyard. They speak five year old gibberish with occasional outbursts of “Mommy!” or “EEeeeeEE!” They flibbet about in their matching sandals while waving their plastic humdingers. And I think that it is strange that they are so close and have been here for a couple years and with few exceptions – that being our first meeting and introduction when they were two, and more recently their mother’s request that we keep an eye out for lurking weirdos in the alley behind our houses – we don’t really know them or have any cause to interact with them (potential weirdo-rescue aside). I realize that without kids of my own, or being particularly attracted to kids in general (not in the weirdo way, but in the might-or-wish-I-could-have-one-or-four-myself-someday kind of way that people do), I am just ‘that lady’ that lives next door.
This sudden dawning reveals that I may have become a thing that I once feared.
When growing up, on one side of our house was a family with four children. The kids were all older than my sister and I were, except the youngest son who was almost our age. So there was sledding and kickball and swimming (and then later some other things not appropriate to mention in this particular post). But on the other side of our house lived Mr. Morehead. He lived alone. His house was brown. His yard only to be entered as quickly and as briefly as possible to fetch an errant ball or vigorously served badminton birdie.
Ways in which I am the same:
- no children
- intimidating presence
- protruding belly
- kids have anxiously scurried into yard to fetch things that landed there
- consume alcoholic beverages in the back yard
- not trick-or-treated
- greeted by parents, rarely by children
- wear glasses
- have girlfriend with big hair
Ways in which I am different:
- have own hair
- house painted more cheerful color
- have cute cats in window looking out at children
- no one shooting BBs at birdhouse pole
- keep shirt on while in yard
- keep girlfriend at house, do not live alone
I’m hoping that those latter things, particularly having Lolly and my own hair, will be enough to stave off the stigma of my childlessness.
Of course, you know, maybe I’m not the Morehead… but maybe I am something even scarier!?!
I like to look in your windows. Day time, night time, it doesn’t matter. I want to peep in at you if I can. I like to see you sitting on your sofas, or pacing back and forth in your kitchens. I like to see what you keep in your basements. I like to know what you are watching on your televisionss, what bookshelves your cats prefer to sit on, what kind of art you have on your walls, and just what your decorating decisions have been in general. So, please, for me, please keep your curtains open?
I left work yesterday evening at my usual time and walked the several blocks it takes to reach my bus stop downtown. It was dark and a little chilly, but otherwise not at all unpleasant. I had about ten minutes or so to wait, if the bus came on time. Many other buses use this stop also, and it is always filled with commuters heading home after work. Nice folks, generally.
Buses came. One came early and idled in the stop for several minutes until other buses started clogging up the street behind it. Finally it moved on and the backlog creeped forward. At the end of the line, just pulling into the bus stop zone at the end of the block, was my bus. Yay! I wasn’t sure if the driver was going to start letting people on or not, and I didn’t want to walk all the way down there just to have to walk all the way back if he didn’t. Sometimes the drivers don’t let people on if they aren’t officially in the zone. I waited a bit and then he opened the doors and people started walking down the sidewalk and getting on. Because sometimes the driver doesn’t stop again farther up in the zone where I was, I figured I’d better get down there and get on with everybody else.
It looked like I was going to be the last one, so I hurried up and waved at the driver twice, once when he started closing the doors, and once when it looked like he was about to pull away from the curb. But I had made it! Just as he was starting off I put my hand up to the window, slapping the glass, then the door, the side of the bus as he continued driving away. Whaa?
“ASSHOLE!!!” The twenty or so commuters still waiting for their buses turned and looked down the block at me. “This IS the BUS STOP!!”
The driver pulled forward and was now sitting in the center of the bus stop zone where I had previously been standing. The doors opened up again.
For a nanosecond I think I considered not getting on at all. I was hot and mad. But I shuffled up to the back door where one or two other people had stepped on. No surprise, I was again the last one to get there, and thought for a moment that the driver would shut the back door in my face too. “Thank you.” I huffed to no one in particular as I stomped up the steps. I raised my head to find a seat and… there were no seats left.
I was the only person standing, holding on to the railings above my head with both hands. Everytime the driver looked up in the mirror he probably saw me, looming there, all the way home.
Ok, so what else do you need to know about this story?
Just after we officially named her Lucille N. Greenwood, because she was Loose-y in the neighborhood (geddit?!), a friend from work suggested we call her Ocho like an eight ball. It stuck, yes because looks a little like an eight ball, but also because she is the eighth cat Lolly and I have had together.
We first brought Ocho upstairs to meet the other cats in the travel crate. Little poked his pokey face right into the grate and she hissed. Gomez sat on top and peeped down at her, and she hissed. Ashley kind of meandered by on tiptoe, not overly curious but was hissed at too. This was very surprising! We thought they would be freaking out, especially Gomez who is afraid of almost everything. Weezie stayed the farthest away, peering around the furniture and making crabby wah-wah noises. After a few meetings with the crate (they didn’t last long), Ocho graduated to the leash. But we didn’t need it. She didn’t run after anyone to beat them up the way Weezie had when she was new. And nobody was chasing her either. Only some creepy stalking, and a bit of curious sniffage, followed by some slapping, and that was about it for the orientals. I tried a few things to help facilitate the integration plan, including trying to get them all to play with Da Bird. Ocho wasn’t at all ready for this yet, and calmly stared at me as I waved the toys around. “You might was well be belly dancing for her.” said Lolly. “Don’t poke my eye out with that thing.”
For a while Ocho mostly came out at night. Mostly.
Around this time another neighbor called, sorry she hadn’t called sooner, to ask if something had happened to “Mittens.” She hadn’t seen “Mittens” around and became concerned that my poster had been to try to notify someone that she had been hurt or run over or something bad. I reassured her that that was not the case. In fact the cat was “pretty much here all the time these days.” She responded that “Mittens” was a nice cat and sweet and all, but “not like she is ever going to just sit on your lap and stuff.” At least, I think that is what she said because Ocho was wrapped around my head, purring loudly in my ear as we snuggled together on the sofa eating bon bons and kissing.
So, the integration is ongoing. I receive regular email updates from Lolly while I am at work. E.g…
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 15:10:04
Subject: 8 is now in window.
We have achieved interest in and hoppage into kitchen window.
Window is a go!
She likes to sit in the kitchen window and look out at the neighbors and the chihuahuas that she does not belong to. Of course this has been one of Weezie’s favorite places to sit too.
Date: Wed, 05 Oct 2011 14:36:26
Subject: effing hell
I let Weezie out from upstairs.
She re-aggressed Ocho, who was sitting peaceably on the sofa, within 90 seconds.
She does NOT think Ocho should be on the sofa.
I feel bad, I told her no and put her back upstairs, while she just looked at me with her big round peeps.
If is wasn’t for crabby, jealous, Weezie Meep (who I love most extremely), Ocho would probably be sleeping in the bed with us. She did come up to the bedroom one morning, at about 4:30 a.m., and we awoke to a screaming hissy fit. Being thrown by Weezie, of course. Ocho was cowering behind a curtain. We can’t understand why she’s such a jealous freak. Really they should get along the best, seeing as they have the most in common – being tough girls from the mean streets, knocked up and homeless – but instead of bonding about their past troubles and present fondness for shrimp, Weezie is a bully. However, Ocho could totally kick Weezie’s ass if she wanted to. Weezie is pillowy soft. She is a fuzzy mitten stuffed with pudding. She clearly doesn’t possess this self-knowledge, that in reality she is like mush and Ocho is like a warrior princess (especially now that she has gained a pound or two since moving in. The Princess likes to eat.) So, we’ll be making an “It Gets Better” video for Ocho. Because Weezie is very, very emphatic that Ocho is not her kitty.
For a month or so the aforementioned waif took up residence on our porch. We had become her home base and she spent time with me outside, sunning and reading and gardening. (Yes, she can read. She is very smart).
(BTW, this annoyed Weezie Meep very much because she has wanted to spend time with me outside for ages and I just won’t let her.)
The waif was scabby. We started calling her Lucy. Or Scabrielle. Or Anatasia Bubka. Or Princess Sparrow. Or just The Porch Kitty.
We put an upsidedown litter box lid on the porch and padded it with some towels and rugs to give her some shelter from the elements as the weather turned colder. Sometimes she would lie in this crate and let me loris her armpits. It got harder and harder to close the door on her every night. Something had to be done. Then I accidentally forgot not to care about her so much and kissed her head one evening. Her head smelled good. A plan was hatched.
A few nights later I quietly put a travel crate out on the porch with her and made an appointment with our vet for first thing in the morning – with the stipulation that, “You know, she’s not my cat, so I don’t even know if she be there for us to bring her in ’cause she’s not ours.” They were ok with that.
Next morning, no problem. We tempted her with a treat and she strolled right into the crate. She was pretty sedate in the car too. Happily, we got in to see Our Favorite Vet. They put us in a room to wait and the porch kitty sniffed around a little then sat quietly between us. (Next to Lolly you could hardly see her; they both wear mostly black all the time, so Lolly provides excellent camouflage.) OFV came in and said, “What have you guys done now!?” We told her tale of the waif, her background as we knew it and and what we were thinking should be done now. The latter being: we have no fucking idea. There was a slim chance that my boss would take her. OFV said that she would put some feelers out about finding her a home. But in the meantime, we needed to see what’s what.
First thing was to check her for a chip. No chip. (No surprise.) Then kitty AIDS and leukemia. No kitty AIDS or leukemia. (A relief.) Then her general health and her teeth and her weight. (Very good. One broken one. Normal.) OFV ran the flea comb over her and while she didn’t get any bugs off her, we could feel the many many many little scabs under her fur. Poor thing probably was allergic and OFV had a hard time finding a not-scabby place on her neck to put some flea poison.
So now what? We brought her home and plunked her out into the basement so we could monitor her after her treatments (de-flea, de-worm, allergy med, microchipping) and vaccinations (kAIDS, leuk, rabies). We gave her a litter box and food and water and a big pillow on top of the washing machine under the window and a few kisses.
She didn’t know what to do either so after a quick check of the window she just stayed where we put her.
Later that day we had a visit from the next door neighbor. She came over about some other issue (perhaps to be blogged about later) but in the course of the visit inquired about our cats and said, “You have a black and white one too, right?” Um… well, no. Not really. Although she is in our basement at the moment…
The neighbor’s husband had seen her several times helping herself to their chihuahuas’ food. (The waif, not the neighbor lady – at least not in this particular story. I can’t say for sure.) He wanted to bring her in and make her their own, but the wife told him that she thought the cat was ours. When I said that she wasn’t, but we are thinking about it, or hoping to find a home for her, she perked up like, “Oh? We’ll take her!” But when it was clear that they would have her as an indoor/outdoor cat I started making pretend like we were going to keep her ourselves. But I would let her know, because we’re only probably fostering her for the time being so far I think.
(im in ur hous)
About three weeks ago Lolly and I returned home from shopping to find a naked tuxedo kitty in our yard. We had never seen her before and thought it must be someone’s lost pet. After she vaulted over the fence, she flopped over in the alleyway and showed off her belly. (The kitty, that is, not Lolly. Although it would have been equally charming – and surprisingly studly with the fence leaping – if it had been Lolly.) Then a car pulled in, but she was in no hurry to get out of the way so we scooped her back into our yard.
As our gluten free fettuccine noodle dinners were thawing in the shopping bags, we stood around perplexed and worried about what to do next. Was she really a stray? Just some other neighbor’s cat? Dumped in our yard because of the pinkness of our lady house and the stunning cat-shaped topiary by the street?
We quickly surmised that she was not feral because a) the belly presentation, and b) taking of treats out of our hands. Also, whilst a little scabby, she also had some shininess and substance indicative of someone maybe doing some caring for her. So we did what anyone who remembers what her mother told her about not feeding a stray cat because it will keep coming back would do and fed her.
…And, lo and behold, she doth return…
However, without capturing her and stowing her in the basement –which we felt we couldn’t do because of exposure to our other extremely sheltered, coddled, spoiled, fraidy, indoor-only cats– I didn’t think we could put up flyers in the neighborhood to say she was “FOUND!” Really she was just “SEEN!” and “SOMETIMES ON MY PORCH!” and those wouldn’t make for very helpful signage. Instead I did some sleuthing: posted on our neighborhood forum and called around to local vets and the city animal shelters, repeatedly checked Petfinder and Craigslist, and looked for “LOST” signs in the area. No luck. No match. I also started pestering people about taking her in if she was in fact a homeless kitty, e.g. phoning my boss after work and telling her, “Your cat is on my porch again. I think you should come get her.”
I knew that the next thing to do entailed bringing her somewhere to have her scanned for a microchip (because cats with chips are allowed to roam around without tags on according to someone at the city shelter). But the thought of taking her somewhere, finding out she was nobody’s, then plopping her back out into the alleyway to continue to fend for herself seemed too cruel. If not just to her, then also to me. Closing the door in her little face every night and leaving her out there in the dark alone was making us anxious. And some of us began weeping regularly.
Then, a breakthrough. My boss’ daughter lives two blocks away. One afternoon she was over there with her new grandbaby and started a conversation with one of the neighbors. This neighbor, we’ll call her Alice, told my boss about a black and white cat that she used to have, three of whose grown kittens she still has, who didn’t want to stay with them anymore and was taken in by another neighbor who then moved away without her. Hence, Alice’s former cat was now roaming the neighborhood for the past year, coming and going as she pleased with no particular place to call home. Could this be the same cat?
The squawk box in my head told me I had a new mission: to confirm tuxedo kitty’s identity. I wrote a letter. I printed out some pictures. I left the letter on Alice’s porch. Later that day, her husband called me and filled in a little more of the story… Their daughter brought them a kitten one day. They kept her for about three years or so. In that time she had kittens of her own (because -I paraphrase- having animals needlessly reproduce is a great thing for kids to witness and kittens can be sold to people, who will even come from out of state to buy them, for twenty bucks or more, so kittens are not the burden one would think they are, and besides, she is spayed now). Then, mysteriously, the cat no longer wanted anything to do with her kittens when they got a little bigger and she stopped coming home. She “divorced” Mr. and Mrs. Alice. “We didn’t abandon her. She abandoned us.” He said she was not friendly to them and was even “semi-hostile.” Still, she was welcome to come around if she wanted and have some food, etc. etc. I thanked him for calling and kept my WTF to myself.
I made some more letters up and delivered them to the house where the lady-who-moved used to live to find out if anyone living in those apartments had taken up care for the cat. One of them, we’ll call her Betsy, called me to tell me that Socks/Boots was left behind by the woman who lived there before her. She does visit with her, feed her, and allow her into the house last winter, also that she gets along okay with her two cats.
We felt quite relieved by this information, but by this time she was already at our place in the morning (asleep in her be-blanketed crate until we make kitchen sounds), back in the afternoon (to have a nap and a treat if Lolly sees her), and here in the evening (for dinner, petting, playing, and sleeping). So while folks have been looking after her now and again, she has pretty much taken up residence here, and even more neighbors have noticed. To date, when I’ve been
busted feeding her spotted with her, I’ve been asking, “Hey, do you know this cat?” because she is NOT MY CAT!
This evening I will be heading over to our neighborhood meeting about the arsons. It was going to be in a walk-up banquet room across the street (and down the street, and behind) from a scorched place, in a room that was too small to fit the number of people who were expected, and only had one way up and the same one way back out. Sounds like a fire trap to me! I am very relieved that it has been moved because otherwise I feared the arson would be planning A Big Finish.
Speaking of the fuckwad, it is generally assumed – on the gossipy blatherboards – that the arsonist is going to be attending the meeting. I hope that we get a mystery novel moment where the fire marshall says, “Thank you all for coming. Please don’t panic, but the arsonist is here with us and his name is [LIGHTS GO OUT!]…” Then there is a scuffle, and when the lights come back on the perp is caught! Although it is more likely we will all be sitting on each other pointing fingers and crying.
Anyway, I’ll post an update if anything exciting happens. Because I know you just can’t stand the suspense.
I’d feel stupid writing a blog today about anything else besides my neighborhood being burned down building by building. There is an arsonist on the loose, and not just the kind of firebug who likes to burn trash cans and abandoned soggy sofas. This fuckwad is really doing serious, harmful damage. There have now been seven fires (2 just last night, following the 3-alarmer that took out four businesses over a week ago) since the summer.
The neighborhood is on edge. Someone had the idea to pile up a bunch of old shit out on a play field to see who comes to light it up. Maybe we can use the abandoned McDonalds building as bait.
Online community posters are suggesting civilian foot patrols. How is that going to work? It takes 30 seconds to start a fire; there would have to be mulitple sentries on every block. I can’t even get Dandelion Lady who lives across the street to acknowledge my existence when I see her almost daily at the bus stop. The Croutons and the McScreamersons only come over when they a) need our permission to do construction, or b) to tell us they drove into our garage. (Yes, I know, I don’t go visit them either and I’m sure they have some nice names for me too especially after I do things like broadcast a stream of invective and profanity out of the vent for the clothes dryer when I couldn’t reassemble that bloody piece of crap.) I’m just saying we don’t seem like a very band-together kinda group. Also, I recommend that the mob does not carry torches.
So, there are plans to get a meeting happening with the townfolk and the police and the fire department. I hope all the sweaty voters come out and shout and stomp and sob so someone will help us. I’ll be there too with flames… flames on the sides of my face.
[photo stolen off our local phinneywood blog]
It’s was caucus time again on Saturday. Another day spent with my “neighbors and friends.” There was a crowd of about 1500 plus gathered in a local high school.
I was slapped with a sticker when I walked in the door. Thus clearly tagged for Hillary, I signed in as the alternate HRClinton delegate for my precinct. I received my “credentials” — which consisted of a blue postcard with my name and info on it and a white piece of yarn to thread through the holes punched in the top. This I looped around my neck like a kindergartner on a field trip. I squeezed through the crowd and found a seat in the “Hillary” area, balloons and signs marking out the 2 of the 8 sections. These big wooden bleachers were rolled out in the gym and there were some plastic cafeteria chairs arranged in the middle of the floor for anyone who couldn’t scale the steps of the bleachers. (Those steps were high; my knees were unhappy and I thought I would be tumbling down the risers before the day was out.)
Call to order and the flag salute.
During the initial count there were speeches by the party people (in da house), state representatives, guys running for office, and our congressman. I chatted with some of the people around me, scored some more stickers (whoo), and had the opportunity to do some quality people-watching. I didn’t see anyone I knew yet, except a lady from the bus who is an avid reader. I perused my “program” and the party platform and felt kinda glad that I had come. I had to, of course, because I had promised (PROMISED) the delegate lady from down the street that I would. I still hadn’t seen her and I started suspecting that I wouldn’t. Anyway, leading up to this I had been starting to feel the first waves of ambivalence about this primary and the candidates since it all began so many months ago. Being at the caucus gave me a little spark again, remembering that something’s going to change soon.
Then I was summoned to be seated as a Delegate and went back down the bleachers, through the crowds, to get my new “credentials” — the yellow postcard of the lady who didn’t show, with my name written on the back in black Sharpie(TM). And a new piece of yarn. Then I got to wait on line for the bathroom for a while. Then I climbed back into the bleachers. It was a bit less crowded now. And time for the second count.
The platform committee head was at the podium going through the platform line by line. People went to the microphone on the floor to state that they wanted to “flag” an item for discussion later. If the people at the microphone flagged an item that had already been flagged, or started explaining why they wanted to flag the item, they would get shouted out by the crowd and politely, but sternly, redirected by the man at the podium to come back later. Nearly the whole platform was flagged, every section from Agriculture to Transportation. Flagging meant that they wanted to debate something about the item – the wording, or it’s inclusion at all. The crowd shouting at the speakers was a little harsh at first — some of these people were clearly new to the process — but after the people before you got shouted at, you’d think the lesson would have been learned. Much of the shouting was incomprehensible as well, just a lot of “HEeynoOTSt-opwahablAHHMmaa-ambACkcantDDid” background noise. The intent was clear, but the directions not so much. Some speakers got frustrated and shouted back “what??? why? WHAT?!” into the microphone.
Next, the Mayor came and spoke. (After someone hissed at the announcement of his impending arrival we are all admonished to play nice on this special happy party day.) The tally of the second count of delegates was announced. As expected, it was still Obama over HRClinton at about 4 to 1. Each side then had a representative speak for three minutes (only!) about why their candidate is the greatest ever. After which there were 15 minutes allotted for the people who wanted to change their votes over to the other candidate to do so. (In case you are wondering, the Edwards delegate and the Kucinich delegates did not reach the minimum to be “seated.” I don’t know which candidate they went to.)
After this the debate about the platform resumed. Each item that was flagged was announced and the motions were made from the microphone on the floor. If someone wanted to amend or delete an item, there could be two speakers for and two against. It was very Robert’s Rules of Order. If someone messed up, inadvertently moved to a new motion, or went out of turn, the crowd again started its shouting and mumbling en masse. “Out of order! Out of order!!” Democracy in action. It reminded me of Parliamentary proceedings in the in the UK — a lot of “huzzah huzzah” and “bah humbug.” Fun!
In order to vote pro or con on the motions we had to hold our “credentials” in the air to be counted. Generally one group of yellow postcards held aloft out numbered the other group of yellow postcards held aloft, but when they didn’t a count was called. The word ‘archaic’ came to mind. I couldn’t help but think that here in the year Two Thousand Eight, things would be more streamlined, more precise, less wonky. And at this point I would like to comment that some of my “neighbors and friends” are… crazy. Not incoherent, but a bit illogical? maybe out of touch? I’ve tried to find the words to describe them, but you’ve just gotta experience them. I think many of them may be the oddball library patrons that plague my favorite librarian.
So, we only got as far as Education before the final delegate counts came in. Then it was time to adjourn to our congressional districts, by candidate, for the selection of the next set of delegates. Our group trundled off to the school auditorium. We were all given printed ballots with the names of the people who wanted to continue on as delegates to the county-state-and-eventually national conventions. Except, a page was missing. So our group leader had to read out 30 names for us to write down on our printed ballots. It went a little like this…
“Number 112, Melissa Haffersnatch.”
“IS THAT WITH TWO ESSES?”
“PLEASE SPELL THAT LAST NAME!”
“H-a-f-f-e-r snatch. Number 113, Joan Tremble.”
“WAIT! YOU’RE GOING TOO FAST!”
“No, I think I am going just fine. Keep up people or we’ll be here forever. Number 114, John Johnson.”
“THERE’S A LADY UP HERE WHO CAN’T KEEP UP! YOU ARE DISENFRANCHISING HER!”
It was a bit testy. All the preamble and materials and everyone said we would be going no later than 4pm. But it was already about 3:30 pm and we had yet to listen to all 115 people’s 30-second speeches about why they should be elected as the delegates. Finally we got to the speeches, and it turned out that a bunch of people were gone already. I guess they would have been sucky, uncommitted delegates! We needed to choose seven women and seven men. Some of the speeches were dopey, some good, some very good. At one point I got little verklempt when a woman made her statement …. about how you see in the history books the lists of presidents we’ve had so far, all 43 of them, and how you might feel imagining looking at those rows of faces, those rows of oily portraits, and then seeing HRClinton at number 44.
Well, hell yeah. My heart might grow three sizes that day.
Finally the speechettes were done, the ballots collected and we were free to move on. There were still about six or seven more pages of platform to go through – line by line, everyone’s nit-picky, and/or perfectly reasonable motions. But I was out of water, and out of Luna bars, and out of other things, and it was well past 4pm, so I called it a day and shuffled on back to the parking lot. I suspect that the motions on the platform might still be going on today, with the die-hards, fatigued and bleary-eyed and holding their credentials aloft.