Something wonderful happened yesterday.
I met Hillary Rodham Clinton. We talked. We made eye contact. She smiled at me. She signed my book.
My alarm went off at 4:00am on Monday morning. I, in typical fashion, snoozed until 5:00am. The subway was not even running yet, so I walked to the Indigo at Bay and Bloor. I was one of the first in line around 6:00am. I waited in line for an hour or so. A very nice lady from the Starbucks inside passed me a coffee. She said: “It’s our Blonde Roast!” I thought: “How are you so peppy right now?”
Among the other rules of the signing, you had to show up early, buy the book in the morning, get a wristband, and return in the afternoon to get a signed copy. I happily paid and put out my wrist for a bright yellow badge of honour.
I returned to the lineup at noon. The Indigo event staff, plus the security teams and Secret Service (indeed), really ran a top-notch show. Our bags were checked, I brought a handy stool to sit on, and the lineup was mostly pleasant. Sun News was walking up and down the line asking loaded questions.
Following her speech at the Board of Trade, a video of which can be found here, along with her Q&A session and her interview with Peter Mansbridge on the National, Hillary Clinton traveled to our local store for a signing.
We were led in groups of ten through the store, down the steps, and snaked through the bookshelves. Hillary was wearing a bright turquoise outfit, and she was smiling, laughing, and engaging with the folks ahead of me. She was flanked on both sides by aides and security, but they were in good spirits as well, smiling and pleasant.
I snapped a few pictures from the line, but we were told to put everything away and to have nothing in our hands as we approached. Somehow, she signed 900 books in one sitting.
There was one man ahead of me who had a nice chat with her. But the next person did not ask or say anything, so all he got was a signed book and barely a look. The trick was to engage her first, and ride the wave. I approached, trying to hide my beaming smile, trying to appear like a normal adult, and keep my fangirling to a minimum. I stepped up to the table.
“It’s such an honour to meet you. Thank you for coming here today,” I said. She signed my book with a blue pen.
“Well, thank you. It’s nice to meet you too.”
I was chuffed that she responded, and then started to mutter something along the lines of “Hope you enjoy Canada… ” and then went on my way.
I feel very lucky that I was able to be in the same room as one of my idols, heroes, and role models, let alone be able to speak to her face to face.
She is beautiful, poised, eloquent, friendly, polite, and gracious. Everything I could have hoped that she would be, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet her.
I greatly value the strong female role models in my life. Hillary Clinton has been one of these role models for over a decade. I remember being a university student, back in 2008, and watching her primary speeches, alone in the basement of my family home. I wept with pride and joy as I listened to her messages. She moved and inspired something in me that I carry with me to this day. I really wanted her to beat Obama, and I was so sad when she did not.
I am hopeful and excited at the thought of being able to listen to her primary speeches once more.
Clinton 2016. Let’s go.