Photo by Marcell Subert
Some students have had the experience of camping out in front of a shopping mall before Black Friday or before a big video game release, but most have not experienced soaking in the rain at midnight on a Washington, D.C. street while having a homeless man casually walk up and ask them out to dinner. That late-night experience was just one of many that sophomore Emma Marcois and her brother spent camping outside of the Supreme Court in order to get tickets to see the oral arguments on same-sex marriage, which took place on April 28. Paid $250 a day for her troubles, Marcois spent four days glued to her cot along First St. N.E. in Washington for a family friend who wanted tickets to see the case and was willing to pay Marcois to stand in line for them.
“There were a lot of protestors from either side,” Marcois said. “There were drag queens and a bunch of the ‘Bible-slinging sin-haters.’”
Despite a sea of protestors from either side of the debate, Marcois also encountered a lot of Capitol Hill residents just passing through. A large number of rowdy homeless people also appeared later in Marcois’ stay, including the one who offered to take her out for dinner.
“By the third day there were a lot of homeless people sitting in line across the sidewalk from us,” Marcois said. “They were holding places for the attorneys, and they scared off half of the lawyers.”
Since the event garnered quite a large amount of international publicity, Marcois was also interviewed by several media outlets, including a Swedish radio station.
“They would just ask really simple questions so it wasn’t as fun as I had expected,” Marcois said.
Marcois also emphasizes the bond that was forged between her and the other line sitters who shared the experience with her.
“Everybody had a little kinship with each other, even though everybody had different views,” Marcois said. “Everybody was really nice, and we all shared our snacks.”
Law enforcement played a passive role during the line sitting and protests. No arrests were made, but the police officers did enforce regulations on allowing line- sitting etiquette.
“A lot of the policemen were very uptight about people sitting on the sidewalk, and they didn’t want it to look like we were camping,” Marcois said. “We weren’t allowed to lie down or sleep during the day.”
Marcois’ physical state of well-being was sub par upon the completion of her odyssey Tuesday morning.
“I got sunburned, and then I got minor heatstroke, which at the same time was really terrible,” Marcois said. “My parents had already called me in sick to school, but I came in anyway because I thought I had a few quizzes.”
Despite getting soaked during Saturday showers and then roasting in the unforgiving sun the next day, line sitting proved to be very lucrative for Marcois. She and her brother, Will, earned $850 apiece for their urban shenanigans.