Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My trip to the White house or Why I sometimes want to wrap my friends in a blanket and beat them with Rubber Hose.

Ok, I already ranted about my tweet up meet up and some of the things that went wrong there. I decided that I really need to give a play by play of my day.

This morning I got up a little earlier than usual, and headed down to the conference. I had made some appointments to meet a couple of people I tweet with. They were in the exhibitors area which I didn't know didn't open until 9:30 a.m. soo.... I headed off to one of the 8:30 a.m. sessions (PlacePuzzles) While in the session I got a reminder from Jared, "Hey are we heading off to the White House after this, I want to get their early" We had appointments for an 11:00 a.m. tour at the White House. I txted back "Let's talk, I need to see a couple of people in the exhibits"

So, our discussion after the session went something like this:

"We can't take cell phones"
"Ok, I'll drop mine at the hotel after I leave the exhibits"
"Ok, I am going to head right down there"
"I'll only be 10 minutes behind you wait for me at the entrance"

Now for the timeline and map

View White House Tour in a larger map

9:45 Said "See you later to Jared"
9:50 Visited @edu4u
9:55 Visited @edutopia
10:00 Out of the Conference Center
10:08 Arrive at Hotel on 12th and K
10:13 Left Hotel proceeded down 12th toward Pennsylvania Ave.
10:13-10:17 continue crossing streets and avenues toward Pennsylvania Ave.
10:20 make it to Pennsylvania!
10:35 make it to Entrance for White House Tour
10: 36 get to front of line and ask about tour and if there is anywhere else Jared and wife could be waiting
10:36:30 Find out someone has mispelled my name and I am not on the list
10:36:35 Asked by Secret Service Agents (yes Agents) to please step aside
10:36:45 Sequestered behind iron bar barrier (ok 1 person could move 2 of them one hand each but...still "Please step behind the iron barrier" aack)
10:42 Secret Service Agent asks for Name, Birthday, Social Security Number, Driver's License, Teacher's License Number, Fingerprints, Hair sample and DNA Sample (Ok, only the first two but come on this is the Secret Service)
10:43 Note to self that the Secret Service Agents have not mentioned whether I could leave if I chose
10:44 Continuing to note that I have not been notified whether I could just walk away.
10:47 Couple with iPhone uses it to review their confirmation number with Secret Service agent. Agent enters the building to Check information
10:49 Couple's information has been found they are ushered in Cell Phone and all.
10:50 Begin wondering what will happen to me if they think I am "fishy"
10:51 Begin second guessing every decision, website, and person I've spoken too since leaving UTAH...pretty sure that the NECC site is ok, wondering if they will look at my NECC Blog?
10:53 continue fretting
10:55 Washington D.C. Police arrive confer with the Secret Service, Decision is made to move the entire line further away from the White House apparently POTUS is on the grounds
10:56 fret more, wondering if it will hurt when the 4 agents who are my only company tackle me to the hot asphalt
10:59 People from the now distanced line begin arriving and announcing they are here for 11:00 a.m. Tour
11:00 Tour Group trickles in one other person joins me
11:01 They take his information
11:02 Realize his name was reversed on the list (last name and first name)
11:02:30 Other guy goes in.
11:03 begin fretting in earnest realize I have no idea what they are doing, looking for or whether I will be allowed to leave. Only Company are 4 Secret Service Agents, 2 Washington D.C. Officers and A National Park Services Ranger (all have weapons)
11:05-11:08 moving from fretting to anxiety. Various worries about Guantanomo, solitary confinement and just what the Secret Service are allowed to do.
11:08 Agent announces they will be locking Gate at 11:15 Hope rises maybe they will just turn me away and I will be safe.
11:11 Hope dashed Agent informs me that it will only be a few more minutes. Fret some more
11:12 Cursing Jared under my breath "He said he would wait, huh like one hog at the trough for another"
11:13 Agent Returns
11:14 Agent Verifies license again
11:15 Agent notifies me that since I wasn't on the list they ran another background check and I am going to be allowed in
11:16 enter White House Tour
11:17 Notice an unusual lack of supervision wonder what all the fuss is if no one is going to watch me inside
11:18 Catch up to the group and notice the prevalence of Cell phones with cameras. Curse Jared again "He said no recording devices... better leave your phone... if he would have had his..."
11:41 Realize that essentially the White House Tour is 3 rooms Green, Blue, Red and a room 'similar' to the oval office
11:42 Exit White House
12:00 arrive back at Conference Center
12:01 Fume and plot my revenge against Jared


Jared said...

no comment

Jorgie said...

I need to clarify a little. Jared really wasn't to blame for this experience and I played up what it was like for the effect. I actually appreciate Jared's efforts to get tickets to the Capitol and The White House. I hope this post is taken as it is intended. Tongue in cheek. It's just a humorous commentary on a series of events that looking back on it were actually pretty funny.

Jared had no fault in this at all. My sincerest apologies to him.

Jorgie said...

Oh, also, It was really freaky sitting there and realizing that to the Secret Service I was just some solitary strange guy trying to get into the White House with no really good credentials for doing so. Pretty scary at the time. Funny now.

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