The Feisty Lady and the West Wing
Feisty ladies! What an experience I had this week visiting the West Wing of the White House. I have visited the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers in the past but this was by far the best Washington DC tour ever.
It started with a lottery. Names were chosen and one of the fortunate persons whose name was drawn was…mine. I never win anything. I buy scratch-off lotto tickets and hand them out to family members. Everyone wins something except me. Guess that my lucky stars were with me on this occasion. Yes!
I had to submit my name, address, social security number, date of birth, and phone number right after my lottery win. I received a confirmation from the White House about my visit. It was very informal and simply signed, the “White House”.
It confirmed my visit and that was all. We were called the “White House 10″ by our peers but no mention of that was made in the email.
Security is very tight at the White House given the nut-balls and slime that have resurfaced during this presidential campaign. Every crazy seems to have been reinvigorated by a certain candidate. I thought that we as a country had moved forward beyond all of this racial, bigoted, and insensitive state of things, but I am finding myself shaking my head daily at the unbelievable rhetoric spewing from the racist thinkers in a certain party. You are what you say so always speak carefully. (This is the end of my political commentary… for now).
We all passed through 2 security checkpoints before even getting close to the West Wing. I cringed as the security people began asking for birth dates. I am not upset about my age but value all aspects of my privacy when I am among strangers. As I approached the window, the young man behind the glass glanced up at me and asked for my driver’s license. Whew. Guess that he saw the dread on my face and cut all of us older folks a break. I was frisk with the wand, but since I already volunteer in a prison, this did not bother me at all.
I am an avid picture taker and was disappointed to find out that no picture taking was allowed in the West Wing. As we toured, I was amazed at the hominess, comfortable settings, and calm surroundings in a place where so many important decisions are made affecting our lives. There was nothing pretentious or fancy in any of the rooms. First built by Teddy Roosevelt, he clearly had his “Teddy Bear” with him as he created this addition to the White House. Meetings rooms were without pretentiousness and were functional. The Oval Office exuded a sense of quiet strength and respect. The colors in the West Wing were all calming, muted, and tastefully done. The paintings and pictures clearly reflected important events in President Obama’s tenure. I was awestruck by my surroundings.
Given my feisty nature, some adventures awaited me. I, of course, had to use the ladies room. As I entered the room, I briefly thought about taking a picture, but figured that this room, too, was under 24 hour surveillance. I finished my business, looked around, and waved at whomever might have been watching me. All of my group proceeded to smile at me and commented later that I was the only person that they will ever meet who has used the bathroom in the West Wing of the White House. What an honor!
Several photo opportunities did arise as we left the West Wing. I have the Presidential seal above the exit door to the West Wing as my new phone picture. Not everyday that you can stand underneath the Presidential seal and have your picture taken. My picture however looked rather, unusual, as certain parts of my female anatomy appeared much bigger than they in fact are. Guess that the angle of the camera did that. Wow. This visit did more for me than I ever thought it would.
We next visited the press conference room. Interesting that the press has to always wait outside in a tent while a security check was completed. Given some TV channels lack of accurate facts, I wondered why they came to the press conferences at all. And sure enough, these TV channels were not given front row seats. I stood pretending that I was asking the President a question. So many things to ask, so little (actually no time) to ask them.
As we ended our tour, it appeared that the first family was home in the second floor living quarters. We received no waves from the family, but were sure that we saw one of the first daughters the next day with her Secret Service escort at a convenience store. Most of the tour members dismissed us, but we were still in the “Obama” state of awe. Who knows? Maybe it really was her. We could not see the first lady’s garden or the site of the annual Easter Egg roll either. Maybe on my next tour, I hope.
This was an eventful, never to be forgotten experience for me and the others in my group. I visited a place where a man that I totally respect and admire does his best, despite having to work with the party of “NO”, to keep our country prosperous, helping out the needy, and to keep us safe and secure everyday. (It is still is a great country now, Mr. Trump). People were actually still working as we toured the West Wing. I spoke with one security guard who said that working here “was a dream come true” for him and his family. I agreed with him as our tour ended. I felt the same way!