Capital Views: A day on Capitol Hill

Last week I got a much-needed change of pace. I think I’ve become vitamin-D deficient. It seems unnatural not to see the sun for eight odd hours a day. You can imagine that I was relieved to spend a day outside on Capitol Hill. gavel1My duties included standing in front of various House and Senate buildings in a red shirt ushering in and out assorted AARP officials.

In between van drop-offs and pick-ups, there was a good deal of down time. And I was not bored in the slightest. To distract myself from the sweat trickling down my forehead (got to love that swamp-like D.C. weather!), I people watched – prime time. My sunglasses provided the perfect opportunity for conspicuous staring. Reminds me of my secret pleasure of gazing down at the masses from the second floor of lower – you know you love to do it, too.

After a day’s worth of standing on perhaps one of the world’s most powerful street corners, this is what I saw/heard/understood:

  • Any given male wearing a jacket immediately takes it off once he walks outside.photo (1)
  • Don’t be afraid of an angry elephant running at you, that’s just the sound of the capital security gate opening and closing.
  • “No, call him NOW!” is a perfectly fine thing to yell into a cell phone.
  • Amid a throng of protestors stands a child with a “Don’t Deport My Daddy” t-shirt.
  • The Capitol has no unflattering angles.
  • Free hotel lunches are the best thing ever.
  • Cabs run the Hill.
  • Capitol-hillers wear badges and nametags so you can easily discern who they are and what they’re doing here.  I hope it’s not because they forget who they are.
  • Confused tourists look woefully out of place next to the high-powered silver foxes running Washington.

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  • Most time spent outside, or where I was standing, is used by the Washington moving masses to scroll through Blackberries or iPhones.
    • Large vans run the Hill.
  • Motorcades are kind of like Christmas presents, you don’t really know what’s inside.
  • Getting from Senate building to House building to Senate building to House building is more stressful than the actual meetings that occur inside of them
  • Black Escalades run the Hill.

By the end of the total of four hours I spent outside, I’m pretty sure some of my skin had melted off. Maybe next time I will actually make it into one of the buildings.

Photos by Katie Levingston/Gavel Media.

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