Friday, October 22, 2010
Breakfast with Barack
See the sky above Stonier Hall's parking lot? That's where POTUS--the Secret Service's designation for The President of the United States--flew overhead, in Marine One. He came to USC, today, for a political rally.
We only found out about it last week, and the whole thing was arranged by the White House. Well, the White House, and somebody at USC, but not USC's Protocol & Events people. They were just as much in the dark about the specifics as the rest of us. All we knew was that Obama was going to talk at at 1:30 in the middle of campus, so if we wanted to see him, we had to get in line by 10:00 at the latest.
Because I donated to his presidential campaign, I got an email RSVP.
So did 5 billion other people.
So I got to campus at 10:00, and wore my USC i.d., so that I could make my way to my office, and dump my backpack.
Oh wait, let me backtrack: I've been sick for the last 4 weeks. First I had a cold, then I got strep throat (unbelieveable body aches, fever, throat felt like a horse had kicked me in the neck) and took antibiotics for 10 days, and then I came down with the same "cold" that Tommy and Maggie have. Took Maggie to the pediatrician last week, and he swabbed her throat. Test results came back this week: she also has strep throat. Pediatrician didn't even bother to culture Tommy. He said that if two of us have it, and Tommy is currently sick, then he's going on antibiotics, too.
So when the alarm clock went off this morning, I felt so crappy, that I decided to call in sick. Oh, wait. I have to tyake the kids to school, then I can go back to bed. But Obama is coming, today, and I'll be pissed at myself, if I don't go.
So I dragged myself in to work.
I arrived on campus, and saw an unbelieveable line of people--four abreast--snaking out of campus, and all the way down Jefferson. I thought to myself, "Wow, this is going to suck. I don't feel good, and I can't drink water, because I won't be able to pee until we're inside the secure zone, where they set up the porta-potties."
I marched into the middle of campus, where Obama was going to talk, and got to my office. Right outside of my office, there was a short line of people waiting to get in, and they had signs from the Democratic Party that gave me the impression that this was the line for people who RSVPd. I went up to some of the people in charge, and asked, and they said, "Yes."
Wow, that's great. I'll just go get something to eat, and then come back. I don't have to stand in line for hours with all those other people out there on Jefferson. Cool.
I did exactly that. There was no internet in our building, so I literally couldn't get any work done. My boss and I went out for an early lunch. We mosied back to the office, and I went and got in line. After standing in line for 20 minutes, this incredibly unattractive young man in a suit tells us, "Take all metal objects out of your pockets to make it easier for the metal detectors."
Cool. I'll be inside in a couple of minutes.
Then somebody asks Quasimodo something, and he says something that raises my suspicions, and like and idiot, I ask him if I'm in the right line, and he says, "No," and my RSVP is the same as the other 50 trillion people who RSVPd, and I have to leave i.e. go stand out on Jefferson with the rest of the sheep.
When I told my wife this story, tonight, she said, "You shouldn't have said anything. You would have gotten in."
You know what? She's right.
Man, I am stupid.
In my own defense, I really didn't feel well.
So I walked back off campus, and tried to find the end of the line, to go stand in line with everybody else. I figured that I'll wind up way in the back, and with my middle-aged eyes I won't see Obama clearly, even if I squint.
There was no end of the line. I'm serious. The line went on forever.
Part of Einstein's theories is that the way the Universe and the laws of physics work, if you could shoot a laser beam in some direction, and the beam went on and on forever and ever, eventually the beam of light would arrive at the back of your laser.
That was the line waiting to see Obama.
I called my boss, and told him what happened. After he finished laughing, he drove me home. I coughed non-stop on the whole drive to Claremont. I just woke up from a 3 hour nap, and I think I'm going to go back to bed after "Medium".
A gaggle of Highway Patrol officers waiting for Obama outside Hedco Neuroscience Building.
If only they knew about the freaky brain research that goes on inside there.
They would all scream, and run home.