05 September 2012

How to Survive a Political Convention

We have two days left until the big show is over, so I thought I'd post a few things to bring to this, or any other major convention.  Especially one where it's hot and transit is as challenging as ours has been!  (Charlotte's light rail has saved me more than once. I'm telling every local I talk to so they keep voting to support it.)

Anyway - my list below for what to bring to help you survive:

  • Healthy snacks - there is food around for purchase but it is all stadium fare which gets a bit old.  I'm craving a salad and good Seattle coffee! 
  • Collapsable water bottle - security is tight, Water is around $4/bottle so a reusable and collapsible water bottle has saved my wallet (and my disposition!) REI has them in lots of colors for around $10.  
  • Band aids for preventing or caring for blistered feet. I'm not talking the kind you put on a skinned knee, rather thick cushioning plastic kind that are a godsend! I use them if I have a spot that is rubbing for my shoe, but they are really intended for aftercare.
  • On the subject of feet, I'm also using a tennis ball I brought from home as a makeshift massager for my aching feet! It's lightweight, small, and if I lose it is cheap to replace.  Win!
  • A cellphone power pack. This is a small square thingy that has saved the day for me and enabled me to keep tweeting, check email for Delegation updates, and update Facebook for the folks back home. I have a "New Trent" which I'd say holds 2 full charges for my Samsung Galaxy 2. The only downsideis it's a bit heavy.
  • Extra camera batteries and cards!
  • Curiosity - we've met a lot of great people and learned a great deal of information from just talking with volunteers, the press, and fellow Delegates.
  • Calling cards! I have cards printed with my name, Google Voice number, and my email address. I've been handing them out to anyone I meet who is friendly and excited, and inviting them to send me an email so I can share a link to my photos when I have them up. People are so delighted, especially folks like our light rail conductor who won't get an inside look at what we are up to.
  • Do your research, especially if you are going to be willing to do press interviews! I've talked with TV and radio reporters from all over the world now and am so glad that I have yet to be stumped by a question. Questions focus on the theme of the day (Michelle Obama yesterday, Bill Clinton today...) so think about what you might be asked and come up with a few talking points. The DNC is also offering a few messaging tips to us which has been helpful.
  • A supportive partner. The Historian is home, and I've really been out of touch, complicated by our respective schedules and the time difference. I called him today at a very early hour to remind him about our Roll Call today so he can watch. I am pretty sure he was awake enough to remember...
  • My last and perhaps most important point is to bring your patience. An event like this is special and meaningful to everyone, no matter their role. We are all inconvenienced, rained on, tired, and a little bit grumpy. So just relax and enjoy, rather than letting your inner honey badger out. You'll be glad you did.

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