Friday, March 18, 2011

Chapter V: Half done, not edited

Chapter V: The Players

It’s not far to our destination.  Along the way is Senate State Park where if your lucky you can sometimes see a congressman or senator eating lunch.  Washington DC is located between Virginia and Maryland, along the Potomac River.  It spans 100 square miles.

After Union station we have to walk five blocks.  All we have to do is stay on First Street.  Corridors of majestic buildings come and go us as we make our way to the Capital building.  Each block gives testament to America’s power and prestige.  Marble and granite buildings pride fully exhibit breathtaking beauty as people pass under foot in hushed tones.
Pedestrians span from workers in business suits to groups of Asians who are obviously on vacation.  I try to pass one Asian group of teenagers but find myself walking behind them.  There are roughly twenty teenagers dressed the same.  They are wearing blue uniforms and are taking a lot of pictures.  I nod in amazement as I watch the group maneuver the street like a snake from a jungle. They don’t say much but they seem to be on the same page.  What makes them different is what they are wearing.  They have little white masks on to keep germs out and on their backs are three foot rods with red flags at he end. I remind myself that someday I would love to see Asia.  Places like Thailand and Singapore piques my interest. 

We are now passing The Hart Senate Office building and the Russell Senate House Building.  The next street is Constitution Avenue NE.   

I feel conflict when I see road barriers.  They are built on every street.  Heavy metal machines lift up from the ground, painted with streaks of red and white.  On each corner are guard posts but I rarely see them manned.  During high level political functions it is common to see military snipers on the buildings and special cops units with super dogs.  This doesn’t stop the poor from smoking medical cannabis in the open, nor does it hamper vacationers with cameras.  Today is not a high risk day so there are no snipers.  There are a lot of cops but this is normal.  There are a few Vietnam vets wandering and begging.

Maryland Avenue NE comes next.  This block has the Supreme Court Building.  I get excited and quicken my pace when I see a couple of my coworkers sipping star bucks on the front steps of the Supreme Court.  Nearby are a few reporters, they have a hawkish air to them as they patiently wait for the next big story.
I yell out, “Are we ready, and is anyone at the Capital building?”  Mark and Alexandria look up, I see Alexandria blush as Mark whispers something in her ear. 

Mark is the treasurer of our office; he is a medium black fellow with black short cropped hair.  Washington D.C. was his home town.  He told me this when he took the office out to  a national baseball game last month.  His office is right next to mine.  He has a doctorate in Library Sciences with a concentration in finance.

“Hello Greg and April, nice to see you show.”  He looks at Alexandria; his face shows a little perplexity, “Where were you, you missed the drill.  Director Maxwell is unhappy with you.”  Mark is a perfectionist.  This can be attested by his wardrobe which always impeccable. 

Alexandria quickly adds her opinion, “I don’t think it matters, if your function goes without hitch we will get national coverage and all will be well.”  She too is dressed nice.  She is from Russia and is a fellow.  Fellows are visiting professors who use the Library of Congress to further their books or articles. 

They look good together; it is no surprise that Mark is courting her. 

“Did I miss anything important?”  I notice the Asians I saw earlier made it to the Supreme Court Building.  

Mark quickly answers, “No, Veronica (who is our secretary) signed your name to the check in sheet.  Homeland Security thinks you were there.  She’s annoyed at you though.”  Ever since 9-11, there has been a new way of doing things when it comes to emergency preparedness.  It is Homeland Securities job to make everyone ready in case terrorists or nature attacks.  Every few months it is mandatory to do drills and exercises.

“Shit, sorry.”  My coworkers often do not give me drama when I am late.  They are compassionate about my back disability.  Our job is not hard, but rather there are hundreds of small tasks that make up the day and we are expected to do them with perfection.  We are the cream of the crop and we know it.  Everyone seems to have a doctorate and is a specialist in one or two areas.  We daily cater to congressman and need to be on the ball.

“Well, let us not keep the public waiting.”  With a grand flourish Mark directs our attention towards the capital building.  He concludes, “This is a great day to be on television.  Who wants to bet the vice president’s daughter will be ten minutes late?  There is side game going down in the office, odds will be in your favor if you put your money that she will be 8 minutes fashionably late.  As a group we continue our journey to the capital building.


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