So this week has been a little crazy, as the Vice President decided to visit my place of work. Some observations from what can only be called a logistical nightmare that rivals my bike closet in terms of complexity and redundancy.
- The Secret service will kill you. No lie. They are very nice, but those guys are fueled by octane-1000-badassedness. I think my camera just shut down at one point when one of the guys started giving me the eye for getting too close to the protectee. They have that kind of authority. I even asked one of the nicer ones if it would be a problem for them to be in our photos, he replied with a straight face, “We don’t show up in photographs.”
- Heads of state apparently travel with their own podiums, which is a damn good thing considering if it had been up to us we would have raided the middle school down the street. The podium we had weighed 200 lbs and was named Falcon. The other, bigger one, is closer to 300, has a certain undisclosed amount of bulletproofedness, and is named Blue goose. I’m guessing they name everything right down to the ball point pens.
- In order to visit our building the White House had someone install ‘extra phone lines.’ What this means is anyones guess, but all things considered, I’ve taken to saying hello to the NSA whenevery I answer the phone.
- There’s nothing quite like getting to work and being greeted by a a swat team, and ambulance, the Fire Department and a line to get through security that rivals the airport at thanksgiving. You just know your day is going to be awesome.
- I was allowed to follow the protectee around for photo purposes, separate from some of the press, so the secret service gave me a special ‘R’ pin (stands for ‘ridiculously-awesome’ (actually for ‘restricted’)). My theory is, they actually read all the anit-Bush items on this site before coming to visit and decided it’d be best to keep a close eye on me.
- As a side note, the ‘R’ could have stood for rented-absurdly-large-lens-for-this-event. I could see hair follicles form 60 yards. Lets add this to the wade-robs-a-bank-and-goes-shopping list as it is definitely the single most badass piece of camera equipment I’ve gotten my hands on.
- From the moment the VP steps in the door, to the time he exits, every step is planned. it’s a bit wild, they even have arrows and signage pointing out the bathrooms and the next stop on the tour, complete with presidential seal. The shear logistics involved in moving one person from place to place – at least 30 staff, four cars, two podiums, I’m guessing a 747, gads of secret service, plus accompanying police to shut down all the roads in town – it’s logistical phenomenon.
This whole set of shenanigans was two point success in that a) none of our stuff was form-tackled by the secret service (althou I think we came close) and b) it’s over with and we can go back to doing whatever it is we do.