Friday, January 27, 2006

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned

I had breakfast with one of Alabama's two Republican Senators. Senator Shelby, to be exact. (Is it bad that not only did I go to this breakfast this morning, but also that he's been one of the state senators for the entire time I've lived in Alabama (about 20 years) and I don't know his first name?). Well, when I say breakfast, I mean they had a huge bowl of mixed fruit and a few trays of pastry-and-mini-muffin-type-items. Except for the fruit, it's the exact same pastry- and mini-muffin-type-items that they serve at any briefing, training or early morning event on base. We only had fruit because a few generals, Dear senator and the Montgomery city council were there. But I'm on to them now. I know that out of the three trays of pastry type items, there will only be two cheese-pastry-type-items per tray. And the cheese-pastry-type-items are definitely the best of the lot. The poppy-seed-mini-muffin-type-item is also ok. We also had our choice of two juices or coffee. By now, you should know what I chose to drink. It was 7 AM. We had been instructed to be at "The Montgomery County Town Hall Meeting with Senator Shelby" and in our seats by 0720. (That means 7:20 AM to the rest of the world). Which means I needed to be on base by 0650 (6:50 AM). Which means I had to leave home at 0545 (5:45 AM) and get my lazy butt out of bed by 0515 (5:15 AM). Which means that by 0720, I'd had two cups of coffee before I left home, a cup of coffee and a mountain dew on the road, then two cups of coffee before our "Town Hall Meeting" got started. The thing about lots of caffeine and little sleep, is that I find things hilariously funny. When I'm in this state of mind, things like "we're going to go to war with Iran, Palestine and North Korea tomorrow" (which Dear Senator did NOT, I repeat NOT, say) would be the equivalent of Chris Rock's infamous "Bring the Pain" video. I felt that it would be a good idea for me to find all of Dear Senator's comments funny, rather than insulting. So we (I and a co-worker, and about 200 military personnel) went. The most exciting part is always when the Generals walk in: somebody yells some unintelligible word that the military somehow understands to mean "stand up and salute, you lowly officer, there's a general in the room". Over time, the civilians have also learned that this sound means that this is the point where we stand and try to look just as important as the military (salutes make you look much more official, but I'm not joining the air force just so I can join their saluting club) (and is anyone else reminded of Pavlov's dogs?). Then it was your typical political shin-dig. "Blah blah, we're honored to have the senator." "Glad to be here, blah-blah, before I get started, blah-blingy-blah, Now I'll explain my thoughts, bore-me-to-tears-now, blah,bippity boppity blah, I'll open it up to questions." 40 minutes of Q&A later, we were free. Well, my bladder wasn't very free, it was actually quite full. As was my co-worker's. I used that as an excuse to leave, even though Dear Senator was making his way down our row of tables shaking hands. Or maybe he was checking to make sure that he hadn't forgotten to use one of his props (he brought charts and graphs - not for his opening speech, but in case they came in handy with one of the questions). I briefly lamented that I hadn't brought my camera so that I could have my picture taken with him. It would have been a great gag gift for my Hubby on his birthday. Or at least, it would have been great to watch his face as he yelled "what the hell am I going to do with a picture of a Republican senator?" Especially if Dear Senator had signed it "To You, With Love"

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