Last week I got a much-needed change of pace. I think I’ve become vitamin-D deficient. It seems unnatural not to see the sun for eight odd hours a day. You can imagine that I was relieved to spend a day outside on Capitol Hill. My duties included standing in front of various House and Senate buildings in a red shirt ushering in and out assorted AARP officials.
In between van drop-offs and pick-ups, there was a good deal of down time. And I was not bored in the slightest. To distract myself from the sweat trickling down my forehead (got to love that swamp-like D.C. weather!), I people watched – prime time. My sunglasses provided the perfect opportunity for conspicuous staring. Reminds me of my secret pleasure of gazing down at the masses from the second floor of lower – you know you love to do it, too.
After a day’s worth of standing on perhaps one of the world’s most powerful street corners, this is what I saw/heard/understood:
- Any given male wearing a jacket immediately takes it off once he walks outside.
- Don’t be afraid of an angry elephant running at you, that’s just the sound of the capital security gate opening and closing.
- “No, call him NOW!” is a perfectly fine thing to yell into a cell phone.
- Amid a throng of protestors stands a child with a “Don’t Deport My Daddy” t-shirt.
- The Capitol has no unflattering angles.
- Free hotel lunches are the best thing ever.
- Cabs run the Hill.
- Capitol-hillers wear badges and nametags so you can easily discern who they are and what they’re doing here. I hope it’s not because they forget who they are.
- Confused tourists look woefully out of place next to the high-powered silver foxes running Washington.
- Most time spent outside, or where I was standing, is used by the Washington moving masses to scroll through Blackberries or iPhones.
- Large vans run the Hill.
- Motorcades are kind of like Christmas presents, you don’t really know what’s inside.
- Getting from Senate building to House building to Senate building to House building is more stressful than the actual meetings that occur inside of them
- Black Escalades run the Hill.
By the end of the total of four hours I spent outside, I’m pretty sure some of my skin had melted off. Maybe next time I will actually make it into one of the buildings.
Photos by Katie Levingston/Gavel Media.