Eye of the Storm

After the press is settled in, the doors open to the general public. It’s about 10 past six. The crowds file in, steadily, slowly, filling the arena. Is this an arena? I think it is. And right now, it feels like we’re the show — broken gladiators. I don’t see anyone turn to the crowd. Photographers line up on the riser before the stage. The rest of us sit at tables behind them, on computers, on phones, jabbering away with fellow reporters, documenters of the times.

$175 for an internet connection. $175! There are two of us. One of us will Twitter from the phone. Awful. Just awful. $175! (So much for Minneapolis public wi-fi when you’re in St. Paul.) Sodas are $4. They banned me from the $2 soda machine, which I though was bad enough.

About three sections of the Xcel Center are completely full. That and half the center area — with press folk, of course.

The crowds will continue to file in. We will continue to wait. It’ll be a while before the Man arrives. But now, he appears on the overhead screens. The crowd roars.