Friday, April 01, 2005

Capitol Fun -- Inside the Blogway

Originally uploaded by estherhoffman.
In town early for the conference, I managed to make plans with my pal who works for Nancy Pelosi. We decided to meet for lunch. This was exciting because it would be the first time I'd get to see her new office -- in the Capitol (she was in the Rayburn building before). Crazy as it may sound, despite having grown up in a Maryland suburb of DC, I'd never visited the Capitol. What a site to behold.

I got to go in the entrance reserved for people who have appointments with members of the House. Not nearly enough security for my taste, but soon I was on my way. I went up to the main entrance for Pelosi, and they called my friend (she was on a different floor) to come get me. She checked to see if Nancy was away (she was), so she took me in her office. As someone who graduated with an American History minor in college, the gravitas of the experience... was amazing. This was the same office Tip O'Neill had worked in! My mind wandered back in time, thinking of other politicians who'd worked here and walked these halls. I tried to drink in every detail.

After seeing my friend's office, she had a surprise for me. She took me down to the floor of the Chamber of the House of Representatives. I got to see where the president delivers the State of the Union address. I got to sit where representatives do to cast their vote. They put in their voting card and then can press a button corresponding to their vote. I almost messed up -- seeing the bag underneath the chairs, I went to reach for it to see what it was (I thought maybe it was a bag of candy or something and I thought it was cool if they needed a sugar rush, etc...). WRONG! It was a gas mask! D'oh! After 9/11, everyone received training on using a gas mask. Makes sense, since they're probably a pretty big target for a terror attack but still kind of scary.

On our way to lunch, we used the underground railway (looked like something you'd see at Disney World to get around) to get to the Rayburn building, which was closer to the metro station we were going to use. Way cool. That's all for now.

PS: The bracelets on my wrist in the picture are for breast cancer and Israel.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

Has she installed the chicken wire yet?

At 7:02 PM, Blogger bbs said...

I wasn't surprised, although I laughed out loud, that you had never been to the Capitol. One never visits their own backyard. But you're right, the Washington buildings invoke the work majestic. The first time I went into the White House I felt awe. The Capitol, awe. The Supreme Court made me cry, until I read the historical documents on the walls. Reading discussions and decisions on why blacks weren't people but slaves, and the endorsement of that, made me see red. Did the ascension of Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas as Sup. Ct. Justices assauge that? No. But at least one of them made me swell with pride as I looked at his picture, and felt the awesome responsibility he had. Our government is crap and does crappy things. But there's something about D.C. that makes you remember the good and work harder to eliminate the bad. Glad you're there Essie.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Conservation Terms said...

Chicken wire? What for?

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

To stop the beer bottles! Didn't you see the Blues Brothers?

By the way, make sure you have a map. One wrong turn may change your impression of DC.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Esther said...

tran sient, I haven't seen the movie (ducking) so I was confused too; I have a friend here who DID see it and he doesn't know what you're talking about either. ;)

renee... wow, thanks for sharing that. I know you were laughing at me rather than with...and I'm still okay with it.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

Bob's Country Bunker...oh nevermind. In any case, it will give you a reason to watch TBS.

At 12:29 AM, Blogger patrickafir said...

haha You goofballs haven't seen The Blues Brothers! You haven't seen Dan Akroyd and John Belushi singing Rawhide behind the chickenwire, and you call yourselves Americans? heh I kid, I kid.

That's a great picture, Esther, and bless your friend's heart for working for that insufferable woman (eh, she's a politician). Your whole trip sounds really exciting. I went through D.C. once, but I didn't get to do the stuff you're doing. Good for you, ma'am!

At 6:10 AM, Blogger Esther said...

I will watch, I will watch, honest!

Patrick, would you believe I took that with my cell phone? I was pretty jazzed. The trip is going to be very cool. I never did things like this in DC either, I had 22 years here to try. Today won't be too exciting. Supposed to rain a ton. I'm moving from my folks to the hotel where the conference is taking place and tomorrow night it starts.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sure would be thrilling to visit "The Capital". I envy you.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Sergeant America said...

"...I managed to make plans with my pal who works for Nancy Pelosi"

Hoping that one "plan" was to introduce Nancy Peligro to a blanket party ... ;) I kid, you not!

At 2:57 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

I am looking forward to read all your commentaries from the conference.
I can sense you're having a ball there.
I this your hand in this picture?

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"PS: The bracelets on my wrist in the picture are for breast cancer and Israel"

I was going to ask.

"haha You goofballs haven't seen The Blues Brothers! You haven't seen Dan Akroyd and John Belushi singing Rawhide behind the chickenwire, and you call yourselves Americans? heh I kid, I kid."

You maybe kidding, but everyone should see the Blues Brothers. That movie was a classic.

"To stop the beer bottles! Didn't you see the Blues Brothers?"

That's hillarious.

Esther: Are you mainly on vacation or was there another purpose (such as work)?

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Bill O. Writes said...

Sounds like a nice trip. If you want to talk more about it I wouldn't mind.

My brother said that the Capital Building's roof was originally flat, but with all the hot air from Congress it swelled. :)

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Esther said...

felis, hopefully gindy's next comment answered your question. :) But yes, that's my hand, though I'm quite disturbed at how the angle makes my hand look really fat. I actually thin, small-boned hands. Not fair! ;)

Patrick, the thought that others would want to know what it was like was exactly what motivated this post, so please feel free to live vicariously through my visit!

As for your opinions on Nancy... well, you'll laugh that as I was telling my friend some of my thoughts on policy in Nancy's office, she pretty much looked aghast and said, "Oh my God, you're sounding like a republican!" It was pretty funny.

gindy, I'm actually playing hooky from work. not sure what my boss thought when he called me as I was walking onto the plane, lol. But for that job, I work essentially from home, so I didn't feel he needed to know. ;) This trip, other than the day or so to stay with my folks and see them, is strictly for this conference. It's the best perk of doing this year long program with the ADL.

bill, lol over your brother's comment. And thanks.


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