Saturday, March 24, 2012

We arrived at 7:00 last night and already we could tell we were late. The Supreme Court announced that a line had started forming at 9:30am Friday morning, and by evening there were eleven of us lounging on the sidewalk. Dana and I came well-prepared: two folding chairs, snacks (with plenty of coffee), a small 6-cell netbook for videos, and a USB drive stocked with Dr. Who episodes.

We quickly realized, however, that it was going to get cold fast. Dana took orders for a supply run to Target for me and those in line, and came back armed with umbrellas and sleeping bags for everyone in need. We also realized the laptop was completely extraneous - everyone is so friendly we've barely cracked it open.

Many of those in line are paid line standers, holding spots for parties interested in seeing the arguments and not enduring three days of DC rain. Those who were willing to stick it out quickly bonded together: Tom, a left-wing independent journalist travelling from New York; Kathy, a trial lawyer from Atlanta with two chronically ill children; and Carol, a tourist from California exploring the city and struck with the inspiration to join us at 3:00 this morning.

The line standers are working in shifts - usually about 6-8 hours. I've yet to see someone return after their replacement takes over. The rest of us rolled out our sleeping bags and hunkered down for what turned out to be a chilly evening. Midnight sandblasting at the capitol building kept us awake, but most of us were able to sleep until it started sprinkling around 5:30. (I came with the misconception that the Supreme Court doesn't allow sleeping because it looks too much like camping, which is illegal to do on the public sidewalks in DC, but the police were perfectly fine as long as we didn't obstruct the street).

Internet is scarce, as it is only available at the Starbucks five blocks away. I will continue to report as the night continues.

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