On Wednesday I
gave tried to give two weeks notice to the boss. She refused to hear me and when I said that I didn’t have work in DC yet, she was pleased. I took that as a compliment, which was how she meant it.
Me: What’s the worst thing I could say right now?
The boss: That you’re quitting.
Me: Well, I am.
The boss. Crap. Why?
Me: The husband got a promotion and we’re off to DC.
The boss: I’m not happy for you. The husband is on my blacklist.
Me: I will relay the message. This is the first job that I haven’t wanted to quit. I don’t even have work out there yet.
The boss: Oh good! What I hear you saying is that you’ll keep working here while the husband moves away. I like this plan.
Me: We did consider all options but I’m going to go with him in the end. Maybe I can work from a distance or come back for session.
The boss: That could work. Let’s talk tomorrow. I’m ignoring this conversation for today.
I left early on Wednesday to volunteer for the Republican Presidential Debate. One of the other writers and I volunteered, not really knowing what they would need or what would be expected of us. She got there earlier in the day than I did, and enjoyed much food, conversation, and general waiting about with a collection of politicos. When I got there, we did all those same things.
We were stationed together and our main role was to keep the photo spray photographers from approaching the stage in the backstage area. Which means we stood in the backstage area as all the candidates came out of their dressing rooms and chatted and brushed hairs off of each others’ shoulders before going on stage.
It was incredibly cool. The lighting behind the curtains was a lone bright spotlight positioned in such a way that anyone standing under or near it was a black silhouette. Had my friend and I brought our phones with us, the photos would have been print-worthy.
The candidates lined up in their debate order and stood on the backstage steps that would lead them out to their podiums. From my vantage point, I could see the candidates standing on the steps, standing in between the debate backdrop and the black curtain once they got to the top of the steps, and as they hit the stage to great applause. The change in body language at each of those brief stations was fascinating. On the steps, heads down watching their footing, maybe praying, looking behind them as the next candidate got too close on the narrow steps; in between curtains, stock still, deep breaths, and the occasional clench of fists or wipe of palms on pants; on the stage, arms waving in greeting, wide smiles, nods to the warm crowd.
During the debate we watched from the filing center, where the press sat, 350 strong, at rows of long, black-skirted tables like you see in the movies. Flat screen TVs at each row of tables broadcast the debate, which means everyone had a front-row seat when Gov. Rick Perry had an unfortunate few minutes…
The press clacked away on their laptops, typety type type type, clackety clack. Perry paused trying to remember the third government agency he would eliminate and the typing slowed down. Type type…clack… Perry fumbled, Congressman Ron Paul tried to help, the moderator pushed him on his choice of the EPA as the third agency, and the typing stopped. The whole filing center of nearly 500 people was silent until Perry concluded with “I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” at which point there was a cry of dismay and unbelief.
Heads literally hit desks, hands slapped cheeks and covered eyes and mouths. Those of us who actually have a stake in this race stared blankly at the TVs and at one another. No one could believe what had just happened in the middle of a rather standard debate. Suddenly, with a new angle and headline for practically every story being written, the furious typing began again.
I was assigned to the role of post-debate liaison for Congressman Paul, but when the debate was over, only three of the candidates came down to the filing center to talk to the press. The Paul campaign sent a surrogate but he didn’t need anything from me so I wandered away and gawked at the news anchor I grew up watching, as he prepped for a live update. It’s nice to know some things never change.
After the debate, the stage was left unattended. This is what happens when they hand out credentials all willy-nilly.
At some point in the evening, the boss called me.
The boss: Are you at the debate?
The boss: I’ll make it quick. I talked to a few people and we would really appreciate it if you could stay on through the end of the year or at least the end of session.
Me: For sure! Let’s do it.
The boss: Ok. I know you’ll need to look for other work but it’s always better to piss off your old boss than your new boss. Not that I’m pissed.
Me: Cool. Let’s talk details tomorrow!
And so I still have a job. The one I like, the one I don’t want to leave. Answered prayer! I’ll fly back here from DC for two weeks of session in December, but I’ll use a week of vacation to move and the plane tickets will still cost us less than the gas I use each week, so really it’s a win for everyone.
Plus, now I can get a reference from my boss. Three cheers for that. Still have to watch the husband’s back though.