Approximately 540 rooms, 658 windows, and 850 doorways. All to house the 435 lumps of dried glue and 100 paper weights we call the US Congress.
I was 16 years old the first time I visited our Nationals Capital, and coincidentally the last time I visited our nations capital. Which considering the events of that fateful day in my American history…. Let’s call this a blessing.
It was early in the morning for me, which is to say it was almost noon. And we marched into the capital building like ants, as the junior and senior classes of Bradford Area High School. A school which appropriately no one has ever heard of.
We were told to wear our best dress clothes, or at least what we’d wear to church, as we were to meet the representative from our district that day. A man who can best be described as the villain from a movie about the industrial revolution. With the facial structure of tweedle dum or perhaps tweedle dee.
A smile that somehow was reminiscent of a hyena, but with the balding head of a poorly polished marble, or maybe a boulder, but this story isn’t about him not really.
I stepped into the building wearing khaki pants, shoes 2 sizes too big, and a shirt of stained baby blue. Which is to say I blended right in. Joined the ocean of other white men pretending to care about something they obviously do not.
And like so many others in this great historic building, my mind was on one burning question, where is the food court?
As we trudged along the echoing hallways of the legislative process, I couldn’t help, but reminisce on the events of the previous night. The reason the bags under my eyes look like I’ve been sucker punched from both sides.
You see my school decided to put us up in a hotel, which needless to say wasn’t an easy feat for minimal funding so we settled for what we could afford and what we could afford was the fire alarm going off at 2 o’clock in the morning.
After spending the previous night prank calling the girls down the hall and pinning it on our history teacher, we were low on sleep. So when the fire alarm went off, I did not move a muscle. Like sleeping beauty if she was shaped like Shrek.
Luckily I shared a room with my brothers and a guy named Scott, which coincidentally happens to be all of our middle names and I sometimes wonder how he is doing, or if he needed therapy after that weekend.
My brothers (and Scott) did everything in their power to convince me to evacuate the building in an orderly fashion, but when I finally sat up and looked them all directly in the eyes, I think they got the memo when I blankly said “let me die” and immediately went back to sleep
Which is ultimately a message I live by to this day, but more importantly is an example of what I am like when I am low on sleep.
So here we are exhausted in the United States Capital Building, waiting “patiently” for our tour to begin and like a rebellious sack of potatoes, I sat on the capital floor to await my fate. when magically a tour guide appeared out of no where. Not our tour guide of course because that would be too convenient. No this shriveled old prune juice Capri Sun began screeching about how sitting in the capital is a sign of protest.
Being low on sleep, there was not an ounce of remorse left in the bags I carried upon my cheek bones. I looked her in the eyes; with a cold dead stare and uttered the word “oops”. A nod to my previous declaration of “let me die”. Many moments later when the older woman had exhausted her efforts and half my class had joined me on the floors, our tour guide finally arrived and led us down the corridors until we could finally meet our representative, and get out of this capitalistic hellscape.
We came, we saw, we scarred the representative like nail marks on his Boulder head, with questions about why he sucks at his job and we went on our way. It wasn’t until lunch that afternoon when someone finally mentioned how in my morning haste I had accidentally tucked my shirt into my white fruit of the loom underpants. The likes of which had crawled their way up my lower back and displayed themselves proudly to any passing gentlemen or lady in our nations capital.
Which looking back is probably one of the many reasons so many young men were checkin out my ass. Ok maybe the only reason. And when I met our representative and shook his hand, I couldn’t help but notice the red hue he took on in his stubby complexion, which is now more easily explained and when I saw him again, 5 years later at a ceremony at my college, I’m fairly certain a look of recognition came across his face as he gazed upon my khaki pants.
In those years that passed I had begun to consider myself a poet, which is to say I spent my time writing metaphors, and similes, and any other desperate ways to describe how it feels to know I showed my state representative my delicates. However after all these years, after all these poems, and new regrets, only one sentence comes to mind, “let me die”