Former Belle Plaine Educator
Once I had the bus system figured out, my daily commute became routine, with occasional bursts of excitement.
Among the usual patrons of the D.C. bus system, the young, nicely-dressed Congressional Intern stood out quite obviously, making the seat next to him a coveted prize among the older female riders. The fact that they, and their assorted bags and other accoutrements, took up considerable space made for less than comfortable rides for the aforementioned intern.
One day, a young man, of apparently independent means, boarded the bus accompanied by a large boom box. Demonstrating his status as an American entitled to do as he pleased, he slid open the window in violation of the signs all over the bus explaining that said bus was air-conditioned, and that all windows were to remain closed at all times. The driver pulled to the curb and explained, in rather colloquial terms, the bus company's policy on windows. The young gentleman seemed to be so absorbed in staring out the window that he failed to hear the driver. At this point, the driver exited the bus, followed by everyone else on the bus except for the young gentleman in question and the hick from Iowa who was unfamiliar with life in the city. The driver flagged down the first police car to come along and as the officer entered the front of the bus, the young gentleman exited through the rear door. The officer gave the hick from Iowa a bemused look, then went back out of the bus, the driver and passengers reentered, and we continued on our way.
My stop was in front of the Library of Congress. One day, as I was walking down the sidewalk toward the office, there appeared, in the crowd coming toward me, a young lady. This young lady appeared to be a university student who had been doing research at the library. It being a sunny, warm day in our nation's capital, she was attired in a light summer dress, most of the front of which she had inadvertently gathered up along with her notebooks and books, all held high against her chest. Torn between wishing to be a gentleman and fearing to be the bearer of bad tidings, I didn't know quite what to do. Finally, a kind lady hurried up to her, whispered in her ear, and the young lady hurried off, rearranging her garment as she did so.
My days in the office presented a variety of experiences, most of them routine, some of them comical.
One of the daily duties performed by each member of the office staff was to peruse local newspapers from the home district. These were not the stalwart publications such as the Sioux City Journal nor the Fort Dodge Messenger, but rather the small weeklies that for the most part have (sadly) disappeared from the scene. We were sifting through the various "Mrs. Jones's Wash Falls Off Line" stories, searching out accounts of notable achievements on the part of constituents. Upon finding such items, we would prepare a note of congratulations which would be sent to the honoree from the Congressman. I was somewhat taken aback the day that we were all summoned to the inner sanctum and excoriated for the lack of originality in our congratulatory notes. Upon exiting, the permanent members of the staff assured me that this was a perfunctory sessions held with each new staff member as a means of demonstrating how sincere the Congressman was in his on-going efforts to recognize the achievements of the people "back home" (and hopefully garner their votes).
Whenever the daily Congressional Record featured an account of the Congressman's work on behalf of the good people of our district, it fell to me to go around to the offices of Representatives with whom we had a good working relationship and obtain their copies of the record so that they could be sent (no postage required - see "Franking Privilege") to especially influential individuals in the district.
Whenever a family of these more important people showed up on our doorstep, great effort was made to ensure that their visit to Washingtonwas memorable. As a part of this effort, it fell to the most junior member of the staff (guess who) to take them on a tour of the Capitol. On one instance, the tour became a bit more memorable than usual. So great was the interest in the building that we tarried past closing time and found ourselves locked inside. Rising to the occasion, I guided the family through the maze of tunnels connecting the Capitol with the Cannon House Office Building.
That is probably enough for this episode.