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Guess who I met yesterday?  Yeah, sure, I gave it away in the post title.  Real brainy, I am.  Al Franken made an appearance yesterday in my small Minnesota town.  The local DFL organization sponsored his appearance and Hubby and I went, along with Hubby’s parents.

Al is one of the Minnesota DFL candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently being held by Norm Coleman, or, as I saw him referred to yesterday – Smilin’ Norm.  I don’t much care for Norm and I’m just going to leave it at that ’cause I’d rather talk about Franken.  In the DFL race for the seat, Al is up against Mike Ciresi, who’s not much of a candidate as far as I’m concerned.  Franken has that Paul Wellstone passion that is irresistible and hopeful and he’s smart as a whip.  I’ve long believed that satirists (as Al refers to himself) and comedians are some of the most intelligent people among us.  They have to be in order to create their jokes.

When Franken arrived, he made his way around the room and shook hands with everyone present.  All I could think to say to him was, “Nice to meet you.”  He’s got a good, firm handshake and he looks you in the eye when greeting you.  No distracted shirking with Al.  He gives great speeches, too.  He covered a ton of issues and his beliefs within a short amount of time.  Actually, I’m not sure how long he spoke.  We were all mesmerized and not paying any attention to the time.  We would’ve been happy to sit in the crowded restaurant listening to him for several hours.

Strangely, even after the speech, I didn’t have anything to say to Al when I had him sign something for me.  My mind was a complete blank.  I agreed with him on every issue.  I’m absolutely going to vote for him, but I was so overwhelmed by the situation that I stopped thinking and just went with the flow.  It was enough to shake his hand and listen to him speak.

Now, in case you’re thinking that I was star-struck, that wasn’t the case.  Al is very approachable.  I’ve been in similar situations with large crowds and a speaker who’s not well known and I tend to experience the same paralyzing reaction.  I’m not good in crowds, period.  I can’t mix it up and engage in small talk and schmooze.  I’m much better meeting people in small group scenarios, particularly one-on-one, where I can ask questions and take my time in getting to know someone.  In a crowded situation, I prefer to sit back and observe, let the scene wash over me and watch how everyone interacts.

In fact, I took notes during Al’s speech.  Periodically, I post under the pen name Black Molly on Fish Wrap, a blog that looks at local issues, and thought the Al Franken appearance would make a good story.  It did and you can see my post and a couple of photos related to the event here.  How’s that for taking the role of observer?

Go, Al!