(Below is the unedited version of my story on Al Gore's book signing appearance in my, and his, local bookstore that was picked up by Pajamas Media recently and entitled GoreMania! My thanks to their fine editors.)
A sign in the bookstore window caught my eye as I dashed out of the mall back to my car, "Assault on Reason, Gore Booking Signing, June 1, Noon."
That would be today.
I stopped. Stared. Glanced at my watch. It was 11:14 am.
Then I reached into my purse. Did I have my camera? A pen? I knew I had the back of a blank check to take notes on, if need be.
My brain---quicker than a flash---was morphing from consumer/shopper focused a $39 beach towel at Restoration Hardware into citizen blogger who had just happened upon an unscheduled bloggable event.
Al, the prophet, Gore, our local prophet, now Pope of Global Warming, Prophet to the World, was coming to our local bookstore, his local bookstore just a few miles from his Belle Meade mansion with carbon offsets. And was bound to prophecy again in about 45 minutes when his church would begin its mid-day service. It was a talk, followed by book signing.
For a few seconds, the shopper in me with stuff to do tried to regain control from my inner blogger. A brief struggle ensued. Even though I had left my camera at home, it was to no avail. The blogger won out.
At exactly 12:06, I ran back into the bookstore with camera in hand amidst a growing crowd of campaigners, TV and media crews, young and old believers, all buying books. Eveyone was talking about Al's new book of revelations, An Assault on Reason, and whether he would run for president in 2008. They--we--milled around and gathered down in the lower level waiting for his imminent arrival.
But I needn't have been so prompt getting back Five, ten, twenty, and then forty minutes elapsed, and still no Al. While three hundred people, packed like sardines on the lower level, waited and waited, a funny thing started to happen: it got very warm down there.
"Wow, it sure is warming up down here," you could hear from all over the room. Irony of ironies.
Bookstore warming. Serious bookstore warming. And the cause was fairly clear. It was human caused.
While we waited and warmed, a loud speaker again instructed us to buy Al's book on the first floor upstairs, get a number for the book signing line, and then proceed back down to the lower level to await his arrival.
Yes, he was scheduled to say a few words. Tension rose as the room got warmer.
At 12:40, Prophet Al arrived and suddenly stood before us. The crowd went wild. He was here, the wait was over.
Al looked formal in a dark navy suit and light blue George Bush tie. He appeared well-fed, scrubed up and slicked down, kind of like a Victor Chavez with Brylcreem. A little dab'll do you.
Then Al began in typical AlGore fashion. There is only one way to describe the way the pope speaks: pontification:
He was truly sorry for being so late, yes he was, but actually he did have a pretty good excuse. He smiled that little smile he does to let you know something big is coming, like inventing the Internet or something,
"The new president of France just called me this morning and wanted to talk about global warming." The crowd of faithful--- many of whom had on Gore 2008 stickers on their hats, lapels and t-shirts--- broke out in wild applause.
"And that's why I couldn't make it here on time to see all of you all. I'm sure you'll agree that I needed to take his call. But I am sorry and do appreciate your patience. Thank you all for being here."
Well that explained it. We knew there was a good reason, but this was a humdinger. And here I thought he was delayed trying to find his way out of his cluttered home office.
Al then, wasting no more time, rocketed himself off the launching pad. Away the prophet went with phrases that have become all too familiar to us:
"Everything Bush does is smoke and mirrors.....Saddam did not cause 9-11......The world awaits our moral leadership which had been sorely missing since Bush took office......The money of special interests has more influence on us and our politics than reason......Bush has left 150,000 soliers stranded in Iraq, bless their hearts........Current American democracy isn't working like the founders intended......Political will is a renewable resource.......There are people in this world and this administration who deny the facts, that have clearly proven to be right and are indisputable.... I know the way and I sure hope you will follow...."
And so the stemwinder by the prophet went. It ended to rousing applause and yells for Al to run in 2008. Then the crowd broke up, many to seek fresh air in the 90 degree tempatures outside the bookstore.
I did buy a book to give to one of my children but had no intention of waiting in line behind 300 people to get it signed. So I milled around a few minutes and took a few more pictures of Al's devotees who were fired up after touching the hem of their savior.
"Did you know Jimmy Carter called Al once a week for over a year to beg him to run for president. Al finally stopped taking his calls he was so sick of hearing it," one fan said.
"But to have Jimmy Carter call you every week and encourage you....how great is that?
Who wouldn't take calls from a wonderful man like Jimmy Carter?"
I looked at the couple who held their books as close to their hearts as they did their hopes for their prophet and his mentor Jimmy Carter.
I looked at them and decided to say nothing about either Al or the man I considered to be the worst American president in history. I smiled and wished them well, as I walked up the stairs and back out into the parking lot. I had once been a liberal and feasted in the Church of Relative Reality and Global Warming caused by man. But now I have seen the light of another reality.
I stuffed my camera back into my pocketbook and walked to my car. I had satisfied my inner blogger and even had time to run by the grocery and the bank. And then run home to begin to post on the man who would be prophet, pope and czar of the world. That, in my world, would be in small caps.