in which I do not get to see Dick CheneySo I've returned home from our annual ECW Conference over in Tulsa (and over the weekend I learned where the phrase "Tulsa time" comes from, so now all those billboards make a whole lot more sense. Or more accurately, I should say I was introduced to the song that the phrase "Tulsa time" was used in.)
Being part of the board that puts on the conference, I'm always aware of the under-the-surface paddling that allows us to pull these things off. But this year was made more complicated by the fact that it also included the appearance of the Secret Service.
I've been a little nose-to-the-grindstone lately between episcopal visitations and the usual end-of-the-program year stuff so that most news of the day had entirely escaped my notice. I was checking into my hotel room the afternoon before the conference, and in typical Oklahoma fashion found myself chatting with the person in the room next to me. She asked what I was doing there, and I reciprocated. She said, "I'm here for the Vice President's visit."
It took me a minute to realize she meant the Vice President, and I stared at her. "The Vice President's coming here?"
She stared at me like I was the local village idiot. "Yes, he'll be here tomorrow."
Again, clueless to the fact that when she said "here," she didn't mean "Tulsa" but at that very same Large Downtown Hotel. (Which one might also refer to as the Large Downtown Hotel of Slipshod Service, or LDHSS for short).
Of course, no one at the front desk of LDHSS had bothered to inform me of this fact when I had checked in mere moments before. Or informed me that access was going to be restricted in and out of the hotel the following day. Luckily, the cashier at Very Large Downtown Parking Garage where hotel guests parked was more forthcoming with, you know, actual information. When the board compared notes on Friday morning, we discovered many of us had been given conflicting information by hotel staff on what would be accessible and what wouldn't during the magical hours of 4 - 7:30.
(LDHSS also failed to clean our hospitality suite before we got there, so we were greeted by sticky tables, balloons left over from a baby and a moldy ice bucket. In addition, the check out material stated that "enclosed was a service questionnaire". There was no service questionnaire in the packet. The irony was not lost on the conference board).
Because I was still learning my singing parts for Friday's choral evensong, I did not try to venture back to LDHSS. I heard later that the Secret Service blocked off the garage and the 2nd street exit of the hotel, and some of our women were not able to get back in time for Evensong because they couldn't get their cars out of the garage.
So I missed Dick Cheney and the Secret Service, although some attendees of our conference hung out and people watched as people came into the ballroom. I'm kind of sorry I missed that part, but since the opportunities for public embarrassment were manifold with the setting for evensong, I chose rehearsal over affairs of the day.
But I am kind of sorry I didn't get to see what all the fuss was about.