For awhile, I debated with myself if I was willing to skip my Japanese class at one when I know there’s a midterm on Wednesday. After a small internal discussion, I arrived at the obvious conclusion and set off to get some barbecue.
On my way out, I ran into my fellow Public Life reporter, Amanda Woytus. I tried my hardest to convince her to skip her one o’clock class in which she has a midterm in on Wednesday. Fortunately, I was successful and we both set off to get some barbecue.
The plan was to get a table, order a sandwich, and wait for McCain to appear. Obviously, the details of this trip were a little on the shady side, because when we arrived at Buckingham, it was only seconds before McCain’s motorcade pulled into the parking lot.
Amanda demonstrated some impressive navigation skills by quickly cutting through the Andy’s Frozen Custard parking lot, sped in front of the motorcade and pulled into the Gateway apartment complex’s parking lot.
I live at Gateway, so I jumped out of the car, rolled on the ground and sprinted at the speed of light into my apartment, taking the stairs at least five at a time… Or I just ran as fast as I could, which isn’t very fast. I grabbed my camera and changed my shirt and ran back to meet Amanda.
In the span of those three minutes, McCain had already parked, shook some hands and greeted a few of the crowd who gathered to meet him. So, Amanda and I set to work doing what we hope to someday do best- report.
Fifty minutes later, one wanding from the police and several admonishments from the Secret Service, we found ourselves on the opposite side of the street with the rest of the crowd. By this time, random pedestrians had been sucked in, along with several curious college students drawn to the commotion from their apartment balconies.
Our press passes obviously weren’t a special ticket into the restaurant as we had hoped they would be.
Instead, we met other Missourian reporters and photographers and tried to cover every possible aspect of the barbecue picnic/luncheon. We spent an equal amount of time gathering quotes and speculating as to what was going on inside, who McCain was talking to and why we weren’t allowed inside.
Our friend and reporter extraordinaire Regan McTarsney showed up and proceeded to mysteriously procure more information in 15 minutes than any of us at the scene had in an hour. After shame and internal flagellation, we waited until McCain made his grand exit.
I tried to get close to the police barrier, but was pushed back by several incredibly enthusiastic Republicans screaming and trying to shake his hand like he was Mick Jagger in the… well, just Mick Jagger.
After the hullabaloo subsided, Amanda and I finally got within spittin’ distance of the front door to the restaurant. We interviewed the now-famous waitress, Katie Fudge (like the candy, she said), who served him and the owner, along with some local business owners who McCain chatted up over the hot link special.
And all that excitement before (my) lunch! Amanda and I jumped in Old Silver and headed back the newsroom. Beside this entertaining and wonderfully informative blog entry (check out our links!), we also collaborated with Amanda Kushner and Hayley Tsukayama to produce a more serious, but no less entertaining and wonderfully informative article so you too can relive the action of the day!