There were no emergency vehicle sirens (as there are right now).
Probably someone standing in the middle of Central, holding up traffic and ranting about the latest alien sighting or something, I thought.
Fifteen minutes passed; the noise only intensified. Boy, this guy's stubborn.
Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I went to the window, opened the blinds, and looked across the street. This is what I saw:
And as if the din of car horns and shouts--both supportive and oppositional--wasn't loud enough, the modest-sized St. Petersburg chapter of The Michelle Bachmann Invitational Teabagging FreedomChantFest put on their best off-key tavern voices and howled God Bless America, threatening the integrity of nearby glass curtain walls, traumatizing poor Marley the Cat, and leading this writer to wish that God would indeed bless at least this part of America and call forth one of those wonderfully sudden cloudbursts for which Florida is famous.
No such luck.
The sky couldn't have been bluer, and the teabaggers seemed happily oblivious to the anti-pro-freedom people of the Socialist Fascist Republic of Democrat Healthcare, responding to the odd appreciative beep with a wave of the flag or a flutter of the sign.
They're clearly ignorant about matters sociopolitical, but at least the St. Pete Teabaggers can spell. (Assuming these folks actually live in St. Pete, of course.)
Unsurprisingly, the teabaggers didn't offer any solutions--or even an idea for a solution or a brainstormed theory that might, given enough debate, turn into an idea for a solution--for the healthcare crisis and runaway costs that currently account for nearly two-thirds of the nation's bankruptcy filings. They sure were fond of one monosyllabic word, though:
And then there were these senior citizens, and theirs were the signs I found to be most confusing of all: they're simultaneously insisting--nay, demanding--that government not take over their healthcare, even as government, insofar as I'm aware, continues to run (and fund) Medicare, the very, very popular health insurance program for American senior citizens that was signed into law by President Johnson in 1965; the social insurance program these gentlefolk apparently want preserved as hands off.
I suppose I could've done the right thing, saved them from any further embarrassment, and, er, corrected them--after all, I can do Liberal Fortissimo Con Brio pretty impressively when the spirit moves me, and hell, they were just across the street, six floors down. But I started having visions of the old country, with Pythonesque peasant-wives screeching from upstairs windows as the cart clattered along the cobblestones, its driver repeatedly droning, Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!
Not wanting to assume a position in that disturbing (and perhaps comic) mise en scène, I closed my window and opened my laptop instead.
Also at Cogitamus.