Here’s the thing about me. I am a rule-follower. As I shared with you in this post, my life is pretty devoid of “troublemaker” stories. Therefore, when random.org served up Mama Kat prompt number two, “a rule I broke,” I actually had random.org recalculate a second option in case I couldn’t think of anything.
But there is that one time at Arlington Cemetery ….. the one where I ticked off the Capitol Police (or whatever entity is in charge of security there) and possibly disrespected the memory of a revered former president.
I was visiting a friend in Washington, D.C. I happened to have a pretty sizable crush on this friend (the feeling wasn’t mutual but I had not accepted that yet). The friend and I had worked together on a political campaign for a North Florida candidate (translation: we watched a lot of clogging and ate a lot of chicken pilau). The candidate won; my friend went to work for him in D.C. I did not get a position with the candidate’s office and remained in Tallahassee.
When the friend and I visited Arlington National Cemetery, we were on a trajectory toward John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. The problem is that my friend took a shortcut. Even though if I had decided independently, I would have taken the sidewalk, I deferred to my friend and followed him up the perfectly manicured grassy slope toward the site. The Capitol Police were. not. impressed. A whistle shrilled. Like a deer in headlights, I just kept going – there was no way to divert to the “official” path by now and plus I was following Mr. Crush.
And that’s where the story ends. I don’t think the Capitol Police even said anything to me – if I recall correctly they were at the bottom of the hill so I suppose they gave up once they saw I was not going to defile the site or anything.
But the incident has always bothered me. Had it happened in the Post 9/11 era, I would probably have been thrown in the slammer or forced to a TSA-style full body scan or something. Horrors.
I lost touch with the crush. The candidate changed parties (there was a lot of that going on among North Florida politicians in the late 80’s). I still run into him once in a while since he lives in my town. I always chuckle inside because seeing him rekindles that little “rule breaking” flame of memory in my brain.