Andare, Partire, Tornare


Rumors of my death

So. I nearly died yesterday. How've you been?

Well, actually, I'll never be certain how close I came to actual demise. It depends on who you ask, and I'll never be able to talk to the person who would be the final arbiter, namely a certain Secret Service gent who I wouldn't recognize if I tripped over him in my living room. The tale goes as follows...

We have a room that's about to be converted into another type of storage space, and this includes the installation of a new HVAC system, all that jazz. So naturally, we have to empty out any museum objects and move them to safe storage for the duration. For the past few months, yesterday was the day marked on our calendar to do this move, since it fell after Congress and before the instillation of the HVAC.

My boss and I go toddling up to the third floor, put as many of the objects on a cart as we can. But one of them has just been conserved for a great deal of money, and as they're rather long, and stick out over the end of the cart, I decided to hand carry this one down while my boss wheeled the cart. We also make the decision (natural at that point, later to prove momentous) to go up via the first floor, instead of taking the elevator down to the lower level and then up, because the lower level is a maze of filling cabinets and twists and turns. With all these things sticking out everywhere, we weren't sure we could navigate it all without any damage occuring.

So we go wheeling through the first floor, make the turn to get to the elevator, and see a shadowy figure at the far, far end of the hall. It moves, and comes out from around the door it was half-hidden behind, and I blink at it for a minute, then finish my turn around the corner, and we get into the elevator and head on up to the third floor. Whereupon we both realize that the shadowy figure was probably Secret Service, we had both completely forgotten...the President was doing some sort of speech in our hall.

And the objects we had chosen to move that day? Our rather small collection of muskets/muzzleloaders/fowling pieces and swords. The piece I was personally hefting was a fowling piece from the 1700's, carrying it in front of me (at port arms, as they say) to protect it from any damage. So basically we had been spotted by a Secret Service agent toting a small arsenal of weaponry, and I personally had been carrying one of them.

We chuckled over this, upstairs. Neither of us had even come close to remembering that the President was in the building - after all, he might as well be in Texas for all we see him when he's there. Usually, we don't even see the Secret Service, save maybe for a few cars out front. It all takes place in the adjoining building, and the President arrives, and leaves, and we have no idea when it all actually happens. Neither of us were too freaked out by what had just happened...until our office manager comes running into the room where we were working.

"I just got a call from downstairs. The Secret Service says, *please* don't be carrying weapons around when they're in the building. They're not too thrilled."

Oops. Well, it's ok. We'll wait. They probably got startled by us.

And then we get a second phone call.

"Um, you really worried that Secret Service guy. He was about to shoot you, ya know."

Shoot me? Me? Little old me, harmlessly walking down the hall, protective cotton gloves on, cradling a really old (but really big) gun?


Our head of security for the building didn't help matters. He's a person who thrives on excitement, and he came up to "reassure" me and left me feeling more and more like the icy hand of death had been, if not actually on my shoulder, at least inching towards my ankle. He then proceeded to tell the whole building about it, so I got a few emails going, "Hey! Hah, hear you nearly got shot this morning!"

My boss had a brainwave last night, and realized that we had probably been monitored on cameras the whole way down from the third floor. We passed a bunch of them, and there's no way that somebody from Secret Service wasn't in there watching all those monitors flicker with our slow progress, pushing a cart full of swords. In all probability, the guy at the end of the hall stuck his head out to watch us pass because that was the safe, prudent thing to do (never know, assassination by muzzle loader hasn't ever been tried, I don't think) and when he saw us toddle around the corner, relaxed and went back to his post. The probability that he was drawing a bead on my fantastic torso, in order to drop me like a deer the first day of the hunting season, is not actually all that high. But yesterday, man - yesterday, I wasn't entirely sure of that. And since I didn't even have a premonition I was in danger, I would have died dumb. A candidate for the Darwin Awards, no doubt. So I didn't actually have any sort of nervous breakdown, but I did get a bit jittery, like I had a few too many cups of coffee.

On the other hand, think of the stories the relatives could tell about me. Genibee, gunned down in a hallway by the President's elite. No doubt I'd mutate into a folk heroine after a few centuries, with my posessions being kept as relics and revered. I'd be the Robin Hood of the new century.

Or something like that.

Anyway, it's much nicer to be alive. Especially since today is the Bemo's birthday. Boy, that would suck, huh?

9:24 a.m. - 2002-07-11


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