Monday, August 2, 2010
Boo Goes to Washington, Via the State Fair
We were seated under a tent on Saturday afternoon, enjoying pizza and funnel cake at the State Fair, when The Husband pointed out our Congressman just a few feet away.
(I have a complete inability, to my personal and professional chagrin, to recognize people out of the context in which I am accustomed to seeing them. It's awkward at best and embarrassing at worst. The Husband, however, is at the opposite end of this particular spectrum: while we ate bagels and whitefish at a Palm Beach deli in 1995, he spotted a character actor who appeared in one episode of a '70s era sitcom.)
As I was saying. So it was that our Congressman was in our midst and I was clueless. (This is a small state, with politicos - even those of a Vice Presidential stature - on a first-name basis with many of those pulling the Election Day lever.)
Boo immediately sprang into action, jumping up from his seat.
"Where? Where's the Congressman?" he said, excitedly.
The Husband pointed him out.
"How old is he?" Boo inquired, his standard and often socially awkward opening line at the mention of anyone.
"I'm not sure, bud," white-lied The Husband, trying to avoid a very-possible scenario where Boo would impress the Congressman with his bibliographic knowledge by yelling out, "You're 71 years old!"
"Did you meet him?" Boo asked.
"Actually, yes, I have. Several times."
"What day was it?"
"I'm not sure of the exact day, Boo, but he came to my work."
"You work with him?"
"No, he came to visit my work."
"Near my office, yes."
"Do you want to meet the Congressman, Boo?" I asked.
He leaped up from his seat. "YES!"
By this point, the Congressman was several hundred yards away from us, headed towards the Giraffe Menagerie, and I grabbed Boo's hand and we followed along. (Props to the Congressman: at 71, he was moving at a much faster clip than 41 year old me.)
We caught up to the Congressman and his entourage (two members of his campaign staff, and - I wouldn't know - possibly his wife).
"Excuse me, Congressman?" I said.
He turned around. Smiled.
"My son would like to meet you," I said, nudging Boo slightly forward.
Boo extended his hand and the Congressman, incredibly gracious and accommodating, shook it. Introductions were made. Expressions of "oh my God, he is so cute!" ensued. (About Boo.) A campaign staffer whipped out his camera, snapping photos of the made-for-campaign-materials-moment. (The Congressman is currently running for Senate).
Boo's very first question: "Did you meet my father?"
Oh, my God. At least it wasn't are you really 71 years old? Or, in given Boo's fascination with death, are you going to die before you're elected?
The Congressman turned to me, as if he should recognize me as being someone noteworthy, while responding to Boo. "I'm not sure. Who's your father?"
I chimed in. "My father - I mean, my husband - works at _______ . He met you once or twice, just in passing, during one of your visits."
"Oh, yes, I've been there many times. Have you been at the Fair all day?" the Congressman said, turning back to Boo.
"What was your favorite part?"
"I liked the rides. My favorite is the Tilt-a-Whirl!"
"That's a fun one. Have you seen the giraffe?"
"Can I get a quick photo before we let you go?" I said. The Congressman obliged, smiling broadly. Boo, who is in the midst of a campaign himself (one that is adamantly against smiling in any and all pictures), managed a half-smile but serious, all-business look. (If you're my friend on Facebook, you can see it.)
"Thanks so much for your time," I said, shaking the Congressman's hand. "Best of luck with your campaign."
Boo practically bounced back to our table, proclaiming "I JUST MET SOMEONE FAMOUS!" as fairgoers looked around (probably oblivious to their Congressman in their midst). "I'M GONNA BE FAMOUS! I'M GONNA BE ON THE NEWS! I'M GONNA BE IN THE NEWSPAPER!"
"Well, maybe not, pal. Maybe the Congressman's website. We'll have to see."
Back at our table, Boo was ecstatic, relating the encounter to The Husband.
"I'm going to vote for him," declared Boo, who turns 9 this fall. "Are you going to vote for him too?"
We were planning on doing so anyway, but after being so kind - albeit for just mere minutes, if that - how could we not?
Since Saturday, Boo has been talking non-stop about the Congressman, about meeting him. (I later found out from his campaign website that he has a Young Friends section. Boo will be likely bookmarking this and probably making a campaign contribution.)
If there was any doubt, the political junkie gene in the Betty and Boo family appears to be alive and well.
Photo taken by me of the flag flying outside our family's beach house, July 2010. Photo and text copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.