My David, who sells ads for the radio, likes to say, "tell me and I'll tell thousands." But I'm thinking Dave Oliveria, of Huckleberries fame, could give him a run for his money 'cause even stuck out here in Clark Fork I've already heard that at least a partial version of my story on Cheney's visit is making the rounds... courtesy of Dave.
So here it is - the story I promised days ago but am just now getting around to after spending a weekend doing volleyball in Spokane and trying to catch up on my newspaper deadline.
My David (this is to distinguish him from Dave O) emailed Wednesday to see if I'd like to attend the Cheney extravaganza with him, bringing my teenage daughter, Amy, with me, and by the way, respond within five mintues as we have to get our names/addresses in for approval.
Of course I said yes, even though it's fair to say Cheney is not one of my favorite people in the world. My David, however, IS.
I turned in my name and address (initially I said my name was Trish "Squeaky Fromme" Gannon but I figured the Secret Service would not see any humor in that... and to tell the truth, I didn't either. I'd rather wait for Cheney's black, evil heart to give out on him than see anyone try to help the process along.)
Despite what I'd heard about liberals like me being banned from the production, David and I were approved and off we went to CDA.
Like most people, we went to the airport, which was the wrong way, and turned around and entered an incredible line of traffic, whereupon we proceeded to sit and wait. Finally arriving at the parking for the airport, we exited the car to be greeted by what felt like sub-zero temperatures, howling winds, and freezing rain. I wondered if this location was chosen in order for Cheney to feel like he was at home in Wyoming.
We walked miles (only a slight exaggeration) and got in the line to enter the hanger. I was wearing two sweaters, a vest, a heavy coat and a scarf. David had been smart enough to bring an unbrella, as well, so we were somewhat protected from the weather, but for the most part we were as miserable as everyone else in the slow moving line.
Of course, I drove from Clark Fork to attend this event, had waited in line in the car for an awfully long time, was waiting in line again for an awfully long time, and have given birth to three kids. I had to pee. I REALLY had to pee.
I recognized the situation was becoming desperate when I found myself contemplating the relative merits of heading back to the parking lot WAY behind us, finding a spot between cars, and baring my bum to the freezing wind versus the warmth that might be generated if I just gave up and peed my pants. (I had neglected to wear long johns.)
Lucky for me, I spotted a guy with a badge coming in our direction down the line, so I stepped out from under the umbrella to ask, through gritted teeth, "where would I find the closest restroom, please, sir?"
"Just come with me," he replied.
Before I go any further with this story, if I have to speculate as to this man's identity, let's go with his being a member of the Secret Service. (After all, if there's any blame to be laid, let's lay it at the feet of those who were responsible, right?)
This gentleman, to my surprise, escorted me into the hanger, behind the security tables, and pointed me in the direction of a door that led to the executive office suite - then walked off and left.
I had free run, no one waiting to see if I ever came back out, and a plethora of optional exits if I so chose to use them. Bear in mind... no one, at any time, checked to see if I had a ticket to the event, asked to see my ID, or checked underneath my bulky outergarments to see if I was packing, say, a rifle or a bomb or even, God forbid, a "Cheney go home" sign (all of which would have fit).
Of course, I'm a good girl. I used the restroom, then walked back outside into the freezing rain to join my man.
I never got inside again. Long before we ever got to the front doors, they were closed and people in line were told to go home as the hanger was too full.
David and I followed the edge of the runway to make our way back to the car, parked at the farthest remove of the lot. It (the runway) was lined with big trucks - trucks like gravel trucks, dump trucks, even a grader - in what appeared to be an attempt to keep vehicles from driving out onto the runway and approaching Air Force Two. Of course, about two-thirds of the way back to our end of the parking lot, they ran out of trucks and the way was clear for anyone with a clear wish to do harm, or maybe even just to take close up pictures.
We watched Air Force Two land, (along with the fake AF2 as well) watched a convoy of about a dozen limos pull up to escort the VP and his entourage into the hanger, watched the VP descend from the plane (though I'm not sure about that part. It was too cold and I just wasn't interested enough, though David watched). We visited for a while with a young man with a camera, and I encouraged him to go out on the tarmac and get much closer to the plane than we were - after all, there was no one there until you got to two fire trucks about midway across the asphalt - but the kids wasn't as gutsy as I would have been at his age.
After a while we moved on to the car, escorting an elderly woman who had already fallen once on the ice (and thank goodness we came along, as she would have frozen to death if she had fallen again and couldn't get up - there were NO vehicles left but ours at that end of the parking lot by then). Then we pulled over to the empty place in the asphalt to watch some more. This time we stopped at the far end of the runway, and parked by a police vehicle, which, of course, we could have outrun if we really wanted to.
Security, I have to say, was a joke at this event.
And I'm still waiting for Dave Olivera or one of his "bloggers" to post the information - who paid for this boondoggle?