VIEWPOINT: My 30 seconds with Hillary
By Mary Lou GoldsteinI have to forget about Hillary. But how can I forget about Hillary? Everywhere I look there’s Hillary. I turn on the television, Hillary is being interviewed. I turn on the radio and who is being interviewed? Hillary. Perhaps if I retreat to the newspaper she won’t be there. But the subject of the “By The Book” column in
The New York Timesis Hillary Rodham Clinton. Thanks to that column I now know that she wants to have dinner with William Shakespeare. She must like men named Bill.
Sunday morning is a time for peace and reflection. Surely, I can forget about Hillary then. It’s not possible. Hillary, accompanied by another female role model, Jane Pauley, has come to my home via a Sunday morning program. How can I forget about someone who seems to be everywhere?
I know she wants me to remember her because she’s coming to visit me. To be honest, she’s not coming just to visit me, she’s visiting me and 999 other special people at Warwick’s Bookstore in La Jolla June 25. But I believe she really wants to meet me and hear my ideas and opinions about the world situation, the world of fashion, and perhaps a few words of wisdom on how she should proceed with her future career options.
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Tomorrow is the big day! I will meet Hillary in person. Of course there are a few rules that I must adhere to before I can actually approach HRC.
I must have the willingness and the stamina to stand in line for at least two hours. I can do that.
I must be empty handed, no purse. That will be a sacrifice. I can do that.
I must purchase a copy of “Hard Choices,” Hillary’s latest book. I can do that.
Not only do I have to buy the book, but I have to be among the first 1,000 purchasers.
I’ve followed all the rules. Met all the criteria. I am one of the 1,000!
Having set my alarm clock to guarantee that I will be on time for the great event, when the alarm sounds in the eerie darkness on Wednesday morning, I spring from my bed. I dress rapidly in my carefully chosen and tasteful outfit. I brush my teeth thoroughly adding a touch of mouthwash to give my breath a minty aroma that will be pleasing to all, especially to Hillary.
In my excitement I’ve almost forgotten to eat breakfast. That is not a good idea. I calm down and prepare my old-fashioned oatmeal. As delicious as it is, I can’t linger over this gourmet treat.
At last I am ready.
I walk briskly and purposefully to the bookstore where Hillary and I are scheduled to meet. I’m greeted warmly by the event organizers who direct me to proceed to the end of the line. The time is now 8:15 a.m. and I’m told people have been in line since 3:30 a.m. You can imagine what a long, long walk it is to the end of the line.
My line companions are all strangers, but gradually we become women united in our anticipation and sense of privilege for being women in a wonderful city in a wonderful nation.
Two hours after joining the line, I’m in the take-off position; only 50 people from contact. The scrutiny of the guests increases in intensity. One final reminder is given — no purses. If holding your purse is more important than interacting with Hillary, you will be banished from the line. Next step, I am examined by a magic wand. No funny beeps emerge from my person, so I’m permitted to enter the hallowed region.
Now that I’m in the store, I’m able to get a glimpse of the area where Hillary is stationed. At last I’m close enough to see her, but we still have to be made aware of a few more rules. Photos can only be taken in a designated spot and that spot is not near or with Hillary. There will be no pictures to share with friends; they’ll just have to believe that I was there. Once again we hear the message that we can have nothing in our hands — and I mean
nothingin our hands — when we meet Hillary. If we don’t go along with this edict, there are several Secret Service men who will be happy to escort the offender to a place of disgrace.
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It’s the magic moment. Hillary and I are face-to-face or as face-to-face as you can be when one is seated and the other is standing at a respectful distance. We bond instantly and it better be instantly because the entire encounter lasted 30 seconds. It was a memorable visit.
We hear that HRC cares about health care. That is true. The first question (actually the only question) she asked me when we met was “How are you?” and she looked me right in the eye when I gave my answer. “Great!” I said. Her friendly smile indicated her pleasure with my response. Of course, she may have been thinking I was one person who was not displeased with the healthcare system and was really trying to stay healthy, so I wouldn’t have to test it.
Displaying her developed communication skills, Hillary thanked me warmly for coming. I responded graciously and thanked her for being there.
What a wonderful 30 seconds it was! Every second was filled with positive vibes.
What was the cause of this sensation? Was it Hillary? Was it the very positive, polite group of 1,000 people of all ages, sexes, nationalities?
As I walked down the street with her book in my hand, people smiled at me, some stopped to ask if I had seen her. Did I shake her hand? Wasn’t I lucky to have been able to stand in line for hours to have 30 seconds with her? Yes, I was lucky and I’m fortunate to be able to experience a sense of democracy, caring, commitment …
Thank you Hillary for reinforcing my sense of pride in being a woman, being independent, and being an American.