Weekends are meant for sleeping in. Yet, I found myself up at 7:30 debating whether I should make the trip to Kennedy Center via the Metro. The website said it would take some 30 minutes to make it there, and then I'd likely have to wait in line. I'd want something to eat beforehand too.
You see, they were handing out free tickets to celebrate the tenth year anniversary of the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Whatever that means. All I cared about was that they were planning to give out free tickets to Sufjan Stevens who would perform for this anniversary.
Now, I figured the kind of people who'd go see Sufjan (pronounced Soo-fee-ahn, sounding Armenian) would be college kids who couldn't drag themselves out of bed at such an early time. But alas, I forget college kids often camp out for basketball tickets for crucial games.
I was planning to eat a healthy breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, but to no avail. The parking lot, small as it is, was full, and therefore, there were plenty of people in line. Instead I went to College Perk, got a coffee I was happier with, and a brownie, and drove to the College Park Metro.
The website for Metro suggested I transfer at L'Enfant Plaza, but I could cut a few stops short if I got off at Gallery Place, then onto Metro Center, and pick up the Blue/Orange line from there. Alas, when I got to Metro Center, I had to wait 9 minutes, even as I had barely caught the Gallery Place Red Line and didn't have to wait.
I knew once I arrived I was supposed to take New Hampshire. Signs pointed to Kennedy Center, so that made locating the building much easier. As I neared it, I didn't realize just how close the Kennedy Center was to the Watergate hotel, so I took a few photos.
The temperature was chilly, but at least it wasn't windy, and indeed, it was sunny.
As I got near the Kennedy Center, I got in a line that was already stretched out the side. It looked like 100 or so people. I had no idea how many tickets would be available. We asked the cop or whatever he was what line it was for, and he asked us what line we wanted to be in. I said "Sufjan", and he pointed further down.
When I got further down, I saw a line, but as a I rounded the corner, the line went on and on and on. There were at least 1000 people, but it looked closer to maybe 2000, maybe 3000 people. I was told there was 2300 tickets. Each person could claim two tickets, so at worst, there would be 1250 people, and at best 2300. Even then, I felt there were at least 2300 people.
I showed up 10 minutes or so before 9 when they would start selling tickets, and still people were coming in. I later heard that some people had camped out two days. Still, I thought it would be fun to wait some, and they kept people moving, rearranging the line, and so even though our chances of getting tickets were small, it was still interesting to see how many people were out there.
The average person looked in their 20s, kind of the bohemian art type with thick glasses, drinking their oversized Starbuck's.
I eventually struck a conversation with the guy behind me, who was a geographer, belonging to some society, and we talked about maps and such for a while. I find it easier to talk about other people's backgrounds than mine, plus I ask questions, more than I gave out answers.
At one point, some of those in uniform directing crowds claimed there were enough tickets, but that seemed unlikely. Even so, we stood in line, watching birds fly above, and planes take off, and the water in the distance.
Eventually, one of the guys said the chances of us getting tickets were pretty much impossible. I stayed a few more minutes longer then decided to leave. As we passed near the front of the line, someone asked how long they had been there, and one said they had arrived at 6:15, which was earlier than I was planning to be there by at least 45 minutes (best scenario). It was nice to know that I was hours late and didn't waste too much time.
Apparently, the optimal time to come was at least 4 hours before, around 5 in the morning, and wait the four hours until they sold tickets. This would still leave you with a bad seat, but at least you'd be in.
I kept thinking Sufjan would easily make ten thousand dollars if each person paid five bucks, which I'm sure most would have been happy to do.
I then ate at a coffee and sandwich place at the Watergate Hotel, which may not be a hotel according to Dave, who thinks it's a condo by now. I thought prices would be outrageous, but it's comparable to other places.
After waking up that early, I got home and decided to sleep. While the trip didn't yield me much, I did get to see a bunch of people who had hoped they'd be among the lucky 2300, but weren't. Politeness ruled, and no one seemed to shove or cut in line so much.
The day was sunny and brisk, and I wasn't too unhappy being out at this early hour.
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