I was invited to cover a screening of George W. Bush: the 9/11 interview at the National Geographic building in DC. Before going any further, I would like to remind you that this is on Nat Geo on Sunday, the 28th. It is worth spending an hour watching. Its educational and reminds us all not to be such bitches about war, Bush or the government in its entirety.
The cocktail reception started at 6, I left my house at 5:45, I needed to be fashionably late, I learned my lesson from my first press related event.
I found M street with no issues, cussing or causing an accident, so I took that as a good sign. I pulled into the first garage I could find. I pull in and ask the young man (hoodlum) how much parking was, what time they closed and if they take visa. He then informed me that they close at 8 (it was 6:30), they take cash only and it would be $18 for 90 minutes. I told him “fuck no” and then asked “how am i supposed to get out of here now?”. He said I had to back out, onto a busy street in DC, surrounded by parked cars.
I am not a (tremendous) fan of stereotypes but there is one that I will own up to. I, as a female, am a terrible driver. I use this stereotype to my advantage at all times without shame.
The hoodlum at the first parking garage told me there was a parking garage across the street that I should try “they be open later”.
I crossed traffic to be met with an individual whos belt was doing a better job holding his knees together than keeping his drawers up. He gave me the bargin price of $15 for 90 minutes. I asked him if his mother knows what he does for a living. He then mumbled “you wanna park?” needless to say, the answer was “fuck no”.
I decided to take my business elsewhere. I pulled around the corner and lo and behold there was an “event parking” sign. I was so elated to have a person with their shirt tucked in tell me (in an articulate manner) that THIS is where I should be. I asked him if he wanted to see my invitation on my phone. He said no.
I drove down a long spiral road into the parking garage. It was so clean and friendly I wanted to get out of my car and skip through the garage. I found a luxuriously large parking spot that I snuggled up into. It was right next to the large bank of colorful elevators across from the entire wall of bike racks.
Upon arrival I realized that I was painfully under dressed in jeans, a tank top and flip flops with my hair perfectly coifed into a day-old ponytail.
I immediately noticed they they were serving mashed potatoes in martini glasses and coconut chicken fingers being that eating is a favorite hobby of mine I was going to see what I could find. But before I did, I noticed it was 6:45, the film was to begin at 7:00 so I decided that I didn’t have enough time.
I decided to thin out the herd and find one lone sheep to attach myself to for the remainder of the evening. Since everyone looked like they were at prom I couldn’t pick based on clothing, so I chose the next best characteristic – age. I found the youngest person in the room. She turned out to be a recent graduate from American University with a major in marketing with a minor in graphic design. We spent the next 20 minutes discussing marketing while she grilled me about “the real world”. It might have been the longest 20 minutes of my life.
The flicked the lights and it was time to enter the auditorium. I brought my new friend with me, we chatted politely as we moved through the crowd. She chose our location, 5th row to the left. We settled in. I complemented her notebook (a boring legal pad) and her stolen ball point pen. She was not amused by my puppy notebook. Square.
The presentation started. It was brilliant. It was moving. It was educational. All that Nat Geo is. I started choking up about half way through (i have a heart sometimes) but I looked around, nobody else was moved to tears, so I put that back into the same place where I go when trying on swimming suits.
After the documentary there was Q&A. Theres one guy in every crowd who wants to cry every time some political leader does something that isnt 100% correct. There were two of them in this crowd. They came together. They were totally married. Their questions were all surrounding Bush as a person (i.e. his religious beliefs and whether or not he knew about 9/11 when he said he did), none were related to the film. Their questions were limited to one each. At one point they were both standing with their hands raised.
When Q&A was complete, the rows emptied out and everyone started to file to the doorway. I lost my new friend in the shuffle. But that was ok, she asked too many questions anyway.