As you may know, I covered President Obama’s Town Hall yesterday in Nashua New Hampshire.
Everyone who was anyone (or who is even thinking about becoming someone) from New Hampshire was there.
I was in the Press Section with all the other reporters and as I knew I couldn’t stand for a few hours because of orthopedic problems, I parked my butt on the piece of masking tape that said “Reserved for AP”. That’s about as close as I might ever get to being an AP writer but it was good enough for me. I mean, here I am, conversing with the big boys and sitting on AP tape. As a writer, it just doesn’t get much better.
Except that I was almost arrested as a terrorist.
It didn’t happen when I was being “wanded” and they found the cell phone that I had forgotten to take out of my jacket pocket. (oops).
And it wasn’t even the brace incident. I’m soon going to be put in a leg brace that I’ll need to wear for a long time so I asked the Secret Service guy what the security procedure was if you are wearing a metal brace. He told me that you need to have a medical statement from a credible source and will then need to be patted down and sniffed (hopefully by a dog) off to the side.
I asked if my mother was considered a credible source.
Let’s just say that the Secret Service doesn’t really have the best sense of humor.
But no, even being a wise guy to the Secret Service isn’t what did it.
After President Obama finished his speech, he shook hands with members of the audience and then he left. All exit doors were blocked until he got off because “no one leaves before the President.”
After a bit, the Press door opened and I saw some people leaving (like elected officials) I figured that I could go also. When I got outside, I saw the motorcade just leaving and no one (absolutely no one) else was in the parking lot.
How great was this? I was going to get a jump start on the traffic and be home in time to take my kids to their ski program that night in Northern NH.
I got in my car and when I saw that you had to go all the way around the parking lot to leave, I figured “well no one is here, so I’ll just take this little one way entrance (the wrong way) to quickly put me on the main drive”. Lucky for me the road was *completely* empty. Not. One. Single. Car.
After driving for a few seconds (it only takes a few seconds for your brain to realize you have fully messed up – your heart kicks in just a few nano-seconds afterward) I realized that the reason the road was empty was because all entrances were blocked by police cars with lights on. I was traveling too close to the President (even though in my defense he had already left the school ground by the time I even got in to my car).
Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all. And no, I didn’t have a bomb in my underpants but if any police officer had stopped me I’m sure they would have found something else.
I have a large black car. Everyone from the white house drives large black cars (although admittedly theirs don’t say “Clean me” with a frowny face in the salt). I just kept driving sitting tall with authority and trying to look like I knew what I was doing. At the end of the road, the police officer who was blocking all traffic was just getting into his car to allow cars to begin passing. He glanced back at me and closed his car door.
I started breathing again while my heart slowed down to a pace compatible with life.
So White House, if you are listening, I’m not a terrorist, I’m just a mom who was trying to multitask work with kid pickups. I promise I’ll get a medical statement from a credible source (not my mom) for the brace. For all future events I’ll remember about the cell phone in my pocket.
And I swear, for the next Presidential coverage I do, I’m going to call a taxi.