For starters, I’ve got to tell you how much people in uniform doing official functions scare me. My thought isn’t usually “They’re here to protect me” but more along the lines of “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it”. Just the sight of any federal building besides a post office makes me want to wet myself. But, anyway, Mom and I parked across the street, took the skywalk across the street and promptly realized that the only way into the building was by flashing your little pass thingy by a sensor and getting these freakily new age door thingies to grant you access to the deep, dark, secret interior of the building. So we backtracked. Jack Bauer belonged there, let me tell you. I was waiting for him to come tearing around a corner, gun drawn and yelling about a bomb in the building.
After going back the way we came and going down to the ground level AND crossing the street AND being asked by at least three different people what our business there was as we went through security, we FINALLY got in. Once we got past the starkly alarming marble entry way (which looked like something out of The Matrix) there was a very pretty and cliché mosaic of local animals and other wildlife, the sort you see at park welcome centers and whatnot. I’m not sure if it was designed to serve the nerves of children dragged there on ‘bring your child to work day’ or whether it actually has some secret room behind it that can only be accessed by pressing the raccoon’s eye in or something. Once we passed the adorable, cuddly animal display, we came into a long hallway with numbered doors and the décor of a hospital. No joke. I thought I must have had a heart attack and was walking beside my stretcher as it was wheeled along on the way to the ER. I got over that pretty fast, though.
The first laugh was when I realized that every single room was numbered, including the restrooms.
When we came to the room we were supposed to go to we found out that they had already closed. We glanced into the next room, which seemed to be either security or reception, hard to tell which in places like that, and a security man came out to give us a hand. He got his chuckles, too, because we “civilians” couldn’t read military time. We were actually about two hours late for our appointment, because apparently the use of A.M. and P.M. isn’t enough to distinguish between the hours of the day for these guys. I officially flunk reading military time.
My second laugh was that when the guy came out he was wolfing down the remainders of what appeared to be a chocolate doughnut. I’m willing to bet just about anything that there was a mug of coffee hidden somewhere back in that office.
But he was very helpful. He called the office we were supposed to go to and it turned out that while it was still closed, the man who ran it was actually there, so he came out to talk to us, too. The security man laughed it up with the fingerprinting dude (who had to show me his badge, which made me even more nervous) about silly “civilians” who couldn’t read military time. Fingerprinting dude was very nice, though, and rescheduled our appointment on the spot.
Now we get to go back and do it all over again at a later date.
Next time I’m gonna dress up like Neo.