This past Saturday while visiting DC we had a confirmed reservation to tour the White House. The plans were made in advance and we had the confirmation number. Our scheduled tour time was 8:30am. We showed up around 7:45a (cuz I’m just anal that way). We got up to the podium (ya, seriously… that’s all they have… no gate, desk, computer, etc.). The girl looks through the hard-copy list (it might have even been printed on a dot-matrix printer) and our names aren’t on it. She checks our IDs and calls a guy over (he couldn’t have been over 23 years old — I’m gonna call him Skippy). Skippy proceeds to make a cell-phone call with our IDs and confirmation number in hand. He goes over to a bird-bath (I’m serious) and sets all the stuff down on his little workstation the government has so graciously provided for both him and the pigeons! He comes back to us and hands us back our IDs and tells us he’s awaiting an email… yes, an email on his blackberry, cuz they ain’t got a computer anywhere in site… and Lord knows how secure sending our social security numbers over 3g is.
In the meantime, more 8:30 people show up (we were the first — did I mention I’m anal?). More missing names. The girl is really starting to get panicky. So they start making a little corral for us to “graze” in while we wait. Soon the corral is full of 8:30 attendees. A security guard shows up on his Schwinn, also a little panicked that some of us are outside the corral. He instructs us all to back up while they extend the size of the corral. By this time, all 8:30 tour people are directed to the corral, whether they are on the list or not. I can see they suspect a terrorist plot. Some “Jihad Joe” infiltrated the computer system, sabotaged the 8:30 list, in hopes that they’d just let us all go through. But haha… they are smarter than that. Instead, Skippy is going to take each of our IDs individually and process us 1 by 1. Shouldn’t take more than say… SEVERAL HOURS.
Lucky for us… we were already being processed by the finely tuned line-processing team. Our names were called moments later and we were able to proceed. We mosey up to security gate #2. Showed our IDs. Oh crap… were not on the list. I say “Ummmm… we are part of the mixed up 8:30 list”. The guys walks over and finds the sheet over paper with our 3 names on it. Whew! We’re in by 9:00a.
What happened to the rest of the 8:30 group? We ran into one of them later at the White House visitors center. They were all asked to come back in a few hours. Not sure if any of them got to take the tour or not. We were lucky! The whole time I had to hold in my laughter. It was true poetry in motion. The epitome of our government at work. It would truly make a hilarious scene in a movie. Adam Sandler… feel free to steal this for your “Happy Gilmore: President Elect” movie.
What would have topped this all off? Jay was SO EXHAUSTED from standing he almost sat down on a 200 year old chair in the Red Room. OMG that would have been hilarious if it would have shattered. Luckily I caught him in mid-squat, even before the Secret Service did.
Want to see more of our trip? (BTW… no cameras allowed at the White House, so we didn’t get any pics)