LAS VEGAS—I don’t know what I will be doing with my time four years from now. Maybe I’ll be in a house on the shore of Lake Superior writing a book that will sell modestly but receive glowing reviews. Maybe I will be playing pedal steel in a country-rock band. Maybe my family will move to Kenya. It is hard to say. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t include standing awkwardly in a loud and crowded room trying to ask people I dislike questions I know they can’t answer.
LAS VEGAS—The best thing about the third and final—that has a nice ring to it, right?—presidential debate was the free beer garden sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, which, as far as I am aware, remains open even as I write this. My flight was late and I didn’t have time to check in at my hotel and get something to eat before I picked up my media credential. All I expected was an overpriced hamburger stand. Instead I got beef brisket, some chicken, potatoes, green beans, cornbread, coffee, and five Budweisers. When I walked over to the bar I couldn’t believe my luck.
Four people assemble for a photo before a grand fountain in the shadow of minarets for a Sunday afternoon wake. A single yellow taxi, an SUV, sits in the background. The shoot takes maybe thirty seconds, a minute tops, as they pause to let the Atlantic City breeze whip past them on this grey day. Another cab, this one a dark minivan, joins the queue. They sit idle. So does the fountain that welcomed fleets of taxis and valeted cars, celebrities, card sharps, and amateur aspirants to the Trump Taj Mahal.
NEW YORK, N.Y.—It took a few seconds for me and my companion to single out the Lion Theatre from a clutter of other venues on Theatre Row. Its facade was partly obscured by the construction scaffolding that is a constant presence in New York City. Just inside, I could see a woman with close-cropped hair and an old leather jacket buying a ticket from the box office. I suspected we were in the right place.
I guess there are worse things than being a libertarian, but I still don’t want anyone to think I’m one. That’s why I have my press badge on even though the event I’m covering is outdoors in Washington, D.C., on the corner of New Hampshire and M streets, freely accessible to random passersby—including the first person that talks to me.
HEMPSTEAD, NY—Never fear. This is not costing me or the Beacon $200. My notes are in a small Mead composition pad. My iPhone is dead. The shabby-looking Dunkin Donuts appears to be closed, but its wifi is still operational in the parking lot. They must have forgotten to turn it off, which means that I should be able to file. For a day that began with the starter going out on our family’s 2003 Chevy Tracker and a nearly missed train, things are looking up.
I learned recently that Francis Fukuyama’s favorite film is Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 adaptation of a P.D. James novel about a future in which no children have been born in two decades. In partnership with the New America Foundation, Slate, and Arizona State University, Fukuyama hosted a screening of the movie on Monday night at the Landmark Cinema on E Street in Washington, D.C. I went.
PHILADELPHIA—Today in Philadelphia I had a bizarre and occasionally frustrating experience. I stood for half an hour in the humidity watching women with babies strapped to their torsos be told that they could not bring water with them to watch the president speak on behalf of the indisposed Democratic presidential nominee. When I finally got to the front of the line, there were two hang-ups, one more serious than the other. The first was my reluctance to give the Hillary campaign my name, email, phone number, and postal address again. I am already a paid-up member of the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum. I receive calls from Hill Dog’s moneymen at least twice a day (one time the ringer on my phone wasn’t turned off and the call woke up my daughter, who had just fallen asleep after an hour’s exuberance at the playground). Did I really need to double down here?