Sunday, September 28, 2008

DC Diary: Gelatinous Adventures on Capitol Hill

Preface: I apologize if you're someone who couldn't care less about American politics, but living in DC, politics has a way of seeping into your life. Sometimes, it almost mows you down in the street.

Yesterday, my brother Tona and I decided to take a tour of the Capitol. I wore black tights, a crisp pencil skirt, tasteful cardigan, and a hot pink trench coat. Tona asked me why I was so dressed up.

"Here's the plan," I said. "I'll catch Hillary Clinton's eye with the bright coat and then whip it off to reveal my professional garb underneath. Then she'll ask me to be her personal assistant." I told Tona he should dress nice too, just in case.

He laughed at me as he slipped on his sneakers. "Yeah, I'm sure that people on Capitol Hill tours get job offers all the time."

"You never know," I said, and I might have added "jackass." We left.

While we waited in line at the Capitol, Tona read a list of the prohibited items out loud, since I tend to carry a vast, strange, and sometimes dangerous assortment of things in my bag

"No fireworks are allowed in the Capitol building."


"No food or drink."


"No liquids or gels."

"Ummm..." I reached into my bag and pulled out the loot from a recent visit to the Kiehls store: two heaping handfuls of sample-size tubes and packets and tubs of moisturizer, hair product, and body oils.

Tona put his head in his hands and sighed. "Why are you carrying around twelve pounds of gel?"

"I forgot!"

"Well, you have to throw it away."

"Hell no!" I cried. "Do you have any idea how much these free samples are worth??" I carefully rearranged the contents of my bag, placing the dangerous facial creams at the bottom and covering them with a protective layer of tampons, gum wrappers, and stale Craisins.
Fifteen minutes later, we went through security. Success.

My secret weapon.

The tour itself was alright. The building is beautiful, of course, and our tour guide had no shortage of bad jokes and puns--"Capitol idea, sir!" But since this was the day McCain and Obama had heroically returned to the hill, and the government was in a mad scramble to save our country from economic collapse, and, you know, impending doom, we were eager to get passes to see the House and Senate in action. To get these passes, you have to go to the office of your state representative and ask nicely.

We headed toward the office of the honorable David Wu, and as soon as we entered the House office building we realized--this is where the action is. Important-looking people were running around, freaking out; I saw a young woman about my age, wearing a suit, clutching a briefcase, crying. Tona and I hid on the stairs to eavesdrop on a couple representatives throwin' down some impromptu bailout plan debate. (Choice quote: "Well, maybe AIG shouldn't have been such a DUMBASS.")

After getting lost in the dark maze of hallways upstairs, we were rescued by a chivalrous young intern (excellent choice, Rep. Buck McKeon!) and finally passed through the doors of David Wu's office.

"Hi," I chirped, trying to be louder than my pink coat, "we're from Oregon!"
The receptionist was exceedingly friendly, showering us with house and senate passes, business cards, stickers, and tales of her former life in Oregon. She joined us in making fun of the guy from California working the other desk (hey, we had to), and we walked out beaming with state pride.

Tona stopped in the hallway a few steps from the door. "Should I ask them how to apply for an internship?" he asked, gesturing back toward our new friends. I told him, yeah, for sure, and sat down in a random but comfortable leather couch placed in the middle of the hallway while he popped back inside to get his information.

Five minutes passed.

Ten minutes.


Finally, Tona came back out. He was laughing and shaking his head.

"What the hell were you doing in there?" I asked.

"They just interviewed me for an internship," he said. "Damnit! Why did I wear these shitty jeans??"

For the rest of the day we went back and forth between the House and the Senate, hoping to see some hot political action. Mostly, we stared at completely empty chambers save for one elderly congressman droning about how hard it was for his friend to buy a boat. There were a couple good speeches that actually related to the UNPRECEDENTED ECONOMIC CRISIS, but I guess the real dramz took place behind closed doors, hidden away from us meddlesome citizens.

Overall, I'd still call the day a smashing success. Sure, Tona's refusal to put on a damn pair of slacks may have cost him his dream job, and we spent approximately three hours going back and forth through increasingly grumpy security checkpoints in order to be spectators to...nothing, but our lurking around allowed us to see tons of famous (or...not) politicians. Here's part of the running list we kept in my notebook, along with some notes and observations:
  • John Conyers--waved at us, causing me to shriek, "john conyers just waved at us!"
  • Ron Paul--wiping spittle from his lip. Hmm...
  • John Murtha--Santa?
  • Henry Waxman--surprisingly short.
  • Harry Reid--seemed a little too relaxed, all things considered.
  • Barney Frank--sassy.
  • Charlie Rangel--could use a blowout.
  • John Tester--wearing a denim button-down (inspired by Rumi?)
  • Chris Dodd--impressively bouncy and voluminous hair (must ask what conditioner he uses!)
  • Rahm Emanuel--HOTTIE (my brother thought so too.)
Meet my new desktop background.


Anonymous said...

I just love reading whatever you write! So funny.

*~Dani~* said...

Loved this diary. Just the right amount of politics and the perfect time to be in DC! Keep the stories coming. I truly enjoy them.

Kim said...

You just described a dream day in my husband's world. He is a rabid follower of politics and I swear our next vacation will probably be to D.C.
Yes, we are very cool.
Also, more proof you and I are soulmates (creepy!) - it was a mere three days ago I was talking about Craisins! Okay, I know I'm grasping here, but here's the proof:
I loved this story!

Poochie said...

Oh, Winona

I think I could anywhere with you and have the best time and most delightful adventures!

I either need to plan a trip up there or you need to come to NC. Then we can tour the Guilford Courthouse and Battlegrounds. Watching war reenactments rocks! Or there is always Old Salem - equally riveting, I swear.


Anonymous said...

wow, your mere weeks in dc have been more exciting than my entire life living two miles away. My last Capitol Hill experience was 4 years ago, when all of my fifth grade class was required to go down because our rep's kid happened to go to our left me with an intense wish to be a congresional page.

Anonymous said...

Watch yourself Rahm!

Bekah said...

Oh hot Rahm! He is my maaan! (to the tune of "in the ay-er"? too thug? was worth a try)

That's absolutley hilarious but at the same time ironically sad about your brother's interview. I'm sure they'll note he's related to you, so he'll get it, I'm sure.
Good job hiding your samples, that's what any smart person would do in the situation. I LOVE free things. It's the only reason I have an XXXXXXL Monster Energy shirt.
I hope that one day I'll have half as good of adventures as you do.

Anonymous said...

Oh man oh man... you should have weekly political adventure commentaries on Daddy Likey, this post was way too much fun. Write a novel, please, I would read it in heartbeats. Your posts always make me smile and laugh laugh laugh.


ps: craisins are godsend

Katy said...

haha! You are so talented. Sounds like a great day.

WendyB said...

I find that all problems can be successfully covered up by Craisins.

Anonymous said...

Perfect post! You made my day.

Sophie said...

DAMN! He is hot. Caps was accidental there but I decided it was needed after all.

This is the best post I've read it a while! Now I actually really want to do one of those tours! haha

Anonymous said...

Sharp. Great blog. Thanks. I'm with others when I say, "Please explain the term 'urine damage.'"

TheSundayBest said...

Things are reaching that "scary bad as in the movie right before someone does something heroic" phase in the US. I fear for you.

On a different note, today's captcha is "vrsisal." If that isn't a cream to clear up genital herpes, I don't know what is.

Lisa said...

Oh he is a hottie!

Haha I'm expecting a random Google search along the lines of "hide liquids gels capitol hill" in the next edition of Inadvertently Ask Daddy Likey.

Henry Leineweber said...

Damn you Winona, you just revealed our secret weakness to the terrorists: Craisins! I'm blaming the next attack on you.

Fun fact: Rahm Emanuel is an accomplished ballet dancer.

echidna girl said...

A great day! You've just inspired the newest craze - it's like license plate spotting, only it's Democrat and Republican Congressionals. How many points each? Do you get extra for Hawaii and Alaska?

You should definitely continue to keep tabs for the rest of your stay.

Anonymous said...

I hope Tona has learned his lesson: ALWAYS dress like you are about to be interviewed for an internship on Capitol Hill.

Or wait ... is that the right lesson?

LallaLydia said...

I feel like I was there. So funny!

Anonymous said...

Brillian post. Rahm may be a hottie but he is not completely well liked in his own district in Chicago. I have and so have many of my friends written in "Ficus" in the last election for his office.

Anonymous said...

My love for your witty commentary is as deep as your seemingly bottomless bag full of... well, everything you own.

allison said...

Oh my, I'm glad you recognize the beauty in Rahm Emanuel... And remind me to tell you the time I brought my Swiss Army Knife to the Capitol - they don't really like that so much.

Glad you made it to the Hill!

Anonymous said...

hahhaha this is amazing. sounds like your tour was a capitol success (oh god). i agree... ralph emanuel can represent my district any time.

-ahhh see you soon?!?! marmar.

Anonymous said...

oops, sorry rahm. didn't mean to tell everyone my secret pet name for you.

LallaLydia said...

So by that same logic, if you go on a White House tour dressed a la Jackie O will you score an invite to a State Dinner?

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