I am in Chicago working a conference for my organization. There is a buzz of anticipatory anxiety in the air. This buzz is the frantic nature of conference attendees as they bounce from session to session sometimes bewildered because of unfamiliar surroundings. We, the organizational staff, have been told that secret service personnel have been “sweeping” the hotel since Saturday in preparation for the Obama rally tomorrow. Their presence also adds a level of “crackling” in the air.
Waiting for the elevator just now, I see a young man with a dog. This is surprising as I don’t think this hotel allows animals. A tall young man accompanied by a an older woman begins to ask about the dog and engage the man in conversation. “What’s your dog’s name,” the tall guy asks. “Max,” the young dog laden man replies. “He’s cute,” I chime in. By then the elevator door opens and a clean cut looking young man comes out with another dog. Both dog laden men acknowledge each other. The one departing the elevator goes the other way. The men are dressed in plain clothes, but there is a military crispness to them that relayes a readiness to respond to… The tall young man with the older woman and I enter the elevator. Young dog guy doesn’t enter. “Hey come on get on,” tall guy encourages young dog guy. He and Max get on. “So you all preparing for Obama.?” “How many states have you been to?” “What kind of dog is he?” The tall guy peppers him with questions. The dog guy answers them one by one and reveals that he is a federal employee, traveling half the country. I assume this travel is to protect Obama. Young dog guy does say that his wife will be glad when this is all over so he can come home. The tall guy and older woman leave the elevator when they arrive at their floor. He thanks the young man for his service. I come to my floor and say good bye to the young man and the dog.
Wow. This doesn’t seem like much. I mean I wasn’t in the elevator with Obama but it makes me fill closer to this historic moment. Our organization’s suite will be used by Obama and his team on Tuesday! I took pictures of the area last night if only to feel like I am capturing history. In about 30 minutes I am going on a tour of sacred and religious sites on the south side. This tour goes by Obama’s home. Our list had to be reviewed by the secret service last week. I am looking forward to this. I hope I will be able to take pictures.