Saturday, July 07, 2007

Brushes with greatness

This morning we went down to our neighborhood diner for Saturday brunch, which is a weekly treat. (BTW, our neighborhood diner has a previous brush with greatness all its own; it is the very place where the pretend cops caught the attempted assassin on "The West Wing." We watched the filming from our lawn chairs with coolers, and applauded each take from across the street.)

At the next table was a neighbor who has been a docent at the National Air and Space Museum for over twenty years, who is current not only on the exhibits at the downtown museum, but also on the huge annex at Dulles Airport, the Udvar-Hazy Center. Now, to be a docent at NASM, you have to go through three months of all-day-Saturday training, spend every Wednesday night at refresher clinic, and vow to spend at least 80 hours a year conducting tours and educational groups around the museums. It's quite a commitment. And the odd thing about our neighbor is that he isn't retirement age, which most of the docents are. We'd just decided that he didn't have a life otherwise.

He and his lady friend were sitting at their table, not ordering, because their friends had not yet arrived. We ordered, and got our coffee, when their friends finally arrived. It was an elderly woman from the islands, I'd guess Turks and Caicos, and a young man walking slowly with a cane, and two shiny new prosthetic legs. She was a volunteer from Walter Reed, and he was a patient on one of his first journeys out. He ordered a western omelet and a toasted croissant. They discussed loudly the relative merits of the two museums, and which one was best depending upon what you wanted to see (The Enola Gay is at Dulles; the Glamourous Glennis is downtown), and the differences in what estrogen vs. testosterone wanted to see.

I was in the presence of greatness all around.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, Brian Lamb walked in.

If you're not a C-SPAN junkie like my very self, maybe you don't know that Brian Lamb is an interview god. Brian Lamb occupied my every Sunday night for years uncountable, interviewing historians, political scientists and social critics of all sorts on his weekly show Booknotes, which evolved eventually into C-SPAN BookTV channel.

The Captain said he'd never seen me so excited, and he was a little jealous.

I mean, Brian Lamb is to Washington politico-geeks as Paris Hilton is to, well, whoever likes Paris Hilton. He's the top.

I feel so insignificant today. Some ice cream ought to fix that.


pooks said...

Ben & Jerry's WILLIE NELSON COUNTRY PEACH COBBLER will get you back to normal, asap.

Colleen said...

Mmmmmm ice cream fixes everything!!

Annette Markin said...

I'm sorry, but I don't think we get C-Span in NEEbraska...we have to have the ag report instead!
Seriously though, what a great story! You are such an awesome writer!