Remember that time I went to the Kansas caucus and stood outside in freezing temperatures forever?
Well, go grab a cup of coffee and I'LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT.
The Kansas Democratic caucus was last night. Now, from what I can tell the caucus is an old-school way of voting. You don't really vote but your presence gets counted and the delegates get determined based on your presence. Or some shit like that.
Now, that caucus was to begin at 7 p.m. The doors to the caucus opened at 6 p.m.
My friend, Kristi, and I were to attend the same caucusing location so we decided she's pick me up. We found a parking spot at 6:15 p.m.
Google maps measured and said we parked a quarter mile from the caucusing location.
It was freezing, well below 32 degrees fahrenheit and pretty damn windy. Kristi and I, along with her seven year old son, walked from the car to the caucusing location.
But the line, THE LINE. By the time we got to our place in line, at 6:20, we were here:
It was DAMN COLD. But we were talking to people around us, telling my friend's son how we were surrounded by Democrats and It Is Glorious. We watched near-car accidents and watched how the line kept expanding. We estimate well over 1,000 people ahead of us.
At 7 p.m. the caucusing people stopped allowing people to get in line. We estimate over 3,000 people in line to caucus. Here's where we are:
Sometime around 7:30 I became aware that this line is barely fucking moving. It was cold. And windy. With freezing drizzle.
This is also the point with the belligerent asshole starts acting crazy. Now, when you have a group of people this big, there's always gonna be a belligerent asshole and it's my role in the Universe to somehow always be next to him (or her). He begins screaming, "Don't think you've been to a caucus" and "This is not a democracy!" and "Ever been to a caucus breakfast?" For the rest of our time in line, he never shuts up.
Around 7:45 they began to offer some people to go inside another building to warm up. Kristi and I take turns taking her son inside.
Sometime around 8pm people began to tell us what! a! good! job! we're! doing! And how every! vote! will! count!
At 8:15 they started to tell us the results of our polling. Remember -- at this point I've been standing outside for nearly two hours. The first batch was Obama 150, Hillary 80. The second batch was Obama 105, Hillary 37. The third batch of 50 people was being let in.
Holy fucking shit. We've been standing outside for two hours and only 372 out of well over 3,000 have been allowed to caucus?
Then it comes to light that they only expected 200 to 300 people. They don't have their shit together AND they are taking smaller batches in for caucusing.
I call Aaron (again, I had been calling every 30 minutes or so) and he says his mom (in Michigan) heard the announcement that Obama has taken Kansas in a landslide. He looked it up and Obama is winning but no official announcement yet.
Meanwhile, I'm whining to him that I need to get off the phone, when I'm on the phone with you my hands freeze. My toes are numb despite all the fidgeting. my ears hurt. I had on a light jacket and short-sleeved shirt. I'm fucking cold.
8:20 p.m. Over 300 people still ahead of us. They barely let anyone in. And Kristi's son is Officially Losing His Shit. Now, I don't blame him, he has been amazing through this whole thing but the way he loses his shit is similar to the kind of shit-losing when you're suppose to smack someone across their face.
We decided to leave. Finally.
We take about 20 steps away from the line, headed to the car, at it starts sleeting. A down poor. We're walking as fast as we can, ice cubs are ricocheting off my nose. It hurts. The sidewalks are getting slippery. I can't feel my toes.
8:50 p.m. I arrive home after a short jaunt to get Kristi's son some hot cocoa. I'm dripping wet. I was so cold I didn't realize I was wet. I walk in, strip down, get the shower ready. I have red splotches all over my legs, my toes and ears are bright red. I take a warm shower and huddle in bed with five blankets. I can't get warm for hours. By 9:30 Obama takes Kansas with 70-something percent.
Lesson: Well, I wish there was a good one. I really wanted to caucus and I'm disappointed I didn't have the opportunity. It's great the Obama won Kansas with such a large landslide but it's a stab to the heart that my voice wasn't counted. It's a disgrace that this happened, and it wasn't just me and my location either. Over 1,100 people at my location did get the opportunity to caucus. The last one started after 10:30 p.m. Well over 2,000 people left without voting.
And I'm pretty sure that I chillblains on my toes and on my legs. So I'm never standing outside in below freezing temperatures with freezing drizzle ever again.