Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spotted: Signing Legislation

Intern working in front office. A woman comes in and says "can you sign this piece of legislation for your Congressman, he is for it." The intern proceeds to sign her name on the piece of legislation that has been signed by multiple representatives. The woman then has to reprint the bill and have it resigned by every Member.

Spotted: National Ice Cream Truck Driver Association

One morning, I was waiting in line to enter Rayburn House Office Building when I see an intern dressed the way only an intern could. It was a guy and he had black dress shoes (good), black dress pants (good), and, inexplicibly, a blue-white seersucker dress coat (wtf???).
He looked like a lobbyist for the National Ice Cream Truck Driver Association. Or maybe Ringling Bros.

Heard: Mispronunciation

A group of interns from a think tank were out for an after-work drink, showing off their political knowledge. Male intern drones on and on about his impressive memory of the House Minority Leader's congressional record...all while pronouncing his name as "boner" instead of "bay-ner." No one seemed to notice. Furthermore, the female interns surrounded him like they were learning something.

Spotted: Whispering Spot Tour

Recently, an intern with a tour group decided to give his entire explanation of statuary hall, statues and all while using the 'whispering spot.'

Heard: Define "Important"

Committee Intern receives explicit instructions from the departing committee staff – who are about to attend a meeting – for Committee Intern to contact staff immediately at a certain number in the event that someone “important” calls. Being in a rush, recognizing that Committee Intern had been on the job for a few weeks, and banking on common sense, staff did not define the word “important.”

Committee Intern receives a phone call from Committee Chairman to talk to a certain staffer. Committee Intern patches the Chairman to staffer’s voicemail…. and then leaves for the day before staff returns.

Spotted: Intern Interviewee

Potential intern on an interview for a spot in our office.

First, she walks into our office not five, not 10, but 35 minutes late – claiming the traffic was worse than she thought it would be. Mind you, she took the metro, and she lives nearby – she knows what to expect.

She is wearing a dress – or a pathetic excuse for a dress. It was more like a beach cover up. I’ll give her credit that it at least had long sleeves, but this linen and bedazzled dress would have not passed the dress code at my high school. To top it off, she is wearing thong sandals which are, of course, bedazzled with rhinestones as well (have to dress it up and be classy, right?). What happened to professionalism? Or suits, for that matter?

Our Chief of Staff decides that even though she is ridiculously late for her interview, that he will meet with her. From my desk, I could overhear the conversation – it wasn’t pretty. Every other word was “like,” and she even dropped a “totally cool” mid-interview. While heading out of our office, she shared with him that she likes to go out in Georgetown with her friends on the weekends.

Sadly, her status as great, great, etc. granddaughter of a (barely mentioned) politician was unable to make up for this lackluster performance and help her get a spot as an intern in our office. Even though, don’t worry, daddy called us about four times beforehand to try to seal the deal.

After reading this blog, I am saddened by the fact that she did not get the internship – I’m sure there would have been a lot of great stories about her to put on here.

Spotted: Stand up?

A new Capitol Hill intern is waiting for her capitol tour group in the capitol. A fellow intern asks to pass the time with her while they both wait for their tours to conclude. As they prepare to finish our tours the fellow intern hands her his "business card." (Cards he made himself and are not from the official office.) He then asks her to call him as he departs.

Flash forward a week later, the female intern is giving another tour in the capitol. It’s a busy day on the Hill in terms of tours. Statuary Hall is filled with folks mingling about their personally guided groups. Mid-room, said intern is surrounded by her constituent tour. Leading a tour group out is “business card” intern. Girl spots guy, smiles and waves. Guy loudly responds “Oh Hey! Thanks for standing me up!” from across the hall, just loud enough for the entire room to hear, leaving the girl intern to gather her thoughts, close her jaw from shock and further explain to her tour that not calling a guy is not that same as “standing him up.”

Heard: Staple v. Paperclip

Let me set the scene. A Legislative Assistant, a Deputy Chief of Staff, and a Chief of Staff go into the Chief’s office for a closed-door meeting on an important topic. In the middle of this very important meeting, the door opens, without a knock, and in comes an intern. “Does (Congressman’s FIRST name) like his speeches stapled or paper-clipped?”

I’ve never to this day seen three hill staffers at a complete loss for words.

Heard: Politics and Voting?

Recently, an intern in our office was chatting with me about how much he wants to work in politics after he finishes at business. The subject of voter registration came up. He said he's voted once: in the school budget election, when he was 18. But not since then. He's 23.

Heard: Special Seating in House Gallery

Intern 1 to Intern 2: "Aren't there places for staff like me to watch the House floor, you know, where I don't have to sit with the general public?" (General public stated with disdain.)

Heard: Black Jeans?

At some point or another through our Hill staffer endeavors, we all encounter that one "special" intern (only one if we are lucky), as made evident by this blog, who leaves behind a legacy which will forever after be remembered and periodically recalled with much laughter and cringing.

Prior to said "legendary" intern (for the purposes of relating her adventures we will refer to her as "Greta") officially beginning her internship with our office, she made numerous phone calls to the office asking a wide variety of questions which ranged from what to wear to what time to be there. One particular phone call she asked if it was okay to wear jeans because she wasn't much of a dress or skirt type girl. My very adept and polite co-worker informed her that jeans were not okay.

Most would think that the next question would be along the lines of "Oh ok...well, what about dress pants?"

Oh no...not this young lady. Needless to say, when she immediately responded instead with "Okay well what about black jeans?" ...we knew we were truly in for a treat...

Spotted: Junior Mint

Earlier this week, at T-Coast, a group of interns sat behind me in the next booth, talking about their first day. One kid orders not one, but two margaritas with a fake ID, which he then proceeded to brag about.

That's a special, special combination, junior mint -- two margaritas, at lunch, on your first day of work as a Hill intern, bought with a fake ID.

Heard: Legg Bagel

While taking breakfast orders for the staff the intern was handed a piece of paper from a senior staffer with his order written down. She returns 20 minutes later with everyone's order except his. When the staffer inquired about his food our intern simply said ", they didn't have a Sausage LEGG Bagel..I honestly don't even know what that is."
The staffer had written Sausage/egg bagel. Common Sense and literacy were not present in this intern.

Heard: Health Care = Sadness

An intern had been with the office for a few weeks, and the Legislative Director wanted to give her a substantial assignment to work on:

LD: What issues are you interested in?

Intern: [thinks for a moment] Yes.

LD: Um, no, I mean, what legislative issues do you find interesting? Do you like health care?

Intern: Yes.... I mean.... No. Because health care deals with sick people, and sick people make me sad.

Heard: Telephone Sign-Off

Today my intern asked if instead of saying "Thank you for calling, goodbye" they could sign off the phone with "have a [our political party] day!"

Spotted: Red Line

This morning I jumped on a typically sardine-crowded red line train. Tons of interns crowding the doors, of course, but the worst of all was the Skintern wearing a zebra print tank top, with soaking wet hair. (I guess she spent so much time on her Friday-night-going-to-McFaddens-makeup that she didn't have time to dry it?) Little Miss Skintern had wrapped her entire body around a pole smack dab in the middle of the car. I looked her in the eye and said, "You know, a lot more people could hang on to this pole if you could remove yourself from it. I promise, when the train stops, you won't fall over." Skintern glared at me, rolled her eyes, said, "What if I don't move?" and continued to hang on to the pole, blocking at least six people from using it, boring holes into the back of my head while I read my paper.

I kind of wanted to get off at Farragut North with her just to trip her up the escalator, but I'm guessing Skintern would do a good job of that on her own. God I love Intern Season.

Spotted: GW Dorm

Two male interns walking into GW dorm: "I bet she's conservative until she gets there."

Spotted: McFaddens

Intern leaving a GW Dorm on a Tuesday Night (read: the intern was going to McFaddens): "Does this purse make me look trashy?"

It did.

Spotted: Senate Office Building Hallways

Attention Interns: Congratulations on your arrival at the nation’s capital. You may have noticed, this is not high school. The hallway next to the Senate Dirksen cafeteria is barely wide enough for two people to pass in opposite directions. Your decision to walk four abreast like you did in high school is very annoying. You clusters in the hallways actually are impeding the nation’s business. Either get in a single line or stay out of the way.

Spotted: Intern? on Capitol Hill

Woman in an ill-fitting pink seersucker suit with panty-line-showcasing capri pants--far enough above the ankle to show off a pair of Rainbow flip flops. Topped off by hair badly in need of new highlights and probably not washed this morning. Chatting with an older woman who, while plain, was put together and appropriately dressed.

The worst part? Because her badge was turned around and clearly one of several IDs, I'm not sure she was an intern.

Heard: Newsworthy Celebrity

Traveling home one evening on Metro a notable news reporter was standing near me. As a courtesy, everyone was adhering to proper Metro conduct by leaving him alone and minding their own business. An intern was also standing near by and quite obviously staring at him. He noticed her and very politely said, "May I help you miss?" Her trance broken, she blushed and replied, "Oh no, I'm sorry, you just look a lot like my favorite reporter." He smiled and jokingly said, "Well is he at least handsome?" Her response was, "Well I think so, but my friends don't. And they all tell me he's gay anyway." He smirked and the conversation ended. Anderson Cooper left our train at the next stop.

I thought the lady behind me was going to die laughing. The intern never figured it out.

Heard: General Advice re: Undergrad

People come from all over the country to work on the Hill, but a good chunk of Hill staffers attended college right here in the nation's capital. Georgetown interns: yes, we all know your school is hot shit, and it goes without saying that Georgetown is the top name school in Washington, DC.

However, before proceeding to rip mercilessly on GW, AU, and CUA, you might want to do a little research to see if any of your superiors attended GW, AU, or CUA. There's a good chance at least one if not a few of them did.

Heard: "Statutory" Hall

Last summer we had a female intern in our office who I repeatedly heard referring to Statuary Hall as "Statutory Hall." I don't think she ever learned the difference. The frightening thing is that she led tours of the Capitol and probably made this gaffe in front of countless constituents.

Spotted: House Office

We asked an intern to summarize a book we received for the Member. This is an easy way to keep them busy when it's slow. The summary he turned in three days later was off the inside of the book's jacket. Verbatim.

Spotted: Metro Center

Intern in Metro Center with red badge proudly on display, attempting to insert her (I would assume newly purchased) Smart Trip card into the turnstile ticket slot.

Spotted: General Security Advice

Dear Interns:

When you arrive at the building in the morning and enter the doors, there are usually a couple of police officers there. Those officers politely make you walk through this object called a metal detector. I know that grasping the objective of this machine can be difficult, but please try. It detects metal. Your cell phone - you guessed it - has metal components. That metal coffee canister - you guessed it - made of metal. Those aviators on your head - you guessed it - made of metal. iPod? right again! Metal. Unsure? Err on the side of caution and put it through the metal detector.

Finally, please be curteous and be prepared when you arrive at the metal detector. We don't all want to wait for you.

Spotted: Union Station to Senate Office Building

This is the worst I have seen, though I've heard intern attire can get pretty scandalous on the House side.

Ruched metallics are never work or even day appropriate. This poor girl was waddling like a duck from Union Station with both hands grabbing at her skirt to prevent it from riding up. You'd think having to exert that kind of effort would prevent someone from leaving the house (or dorm) in something so constricting and awkward, but you'd be wrong.

The flip flops complete the outfit, but I'm not going to lie-- I wear them too. The jacket was velvet.

Spotted: Waddle Waddle Plop

As those of us who have been around the Hill for at least a month know all too well, Hustler magazine loves to send our elected officials a free copy of its latest issue. Now, I don't know what other offices do with this "gift," but we would recognize the envelope and toss it in the recycling bin. Simple enough, right? Well, not when you combine the World's Most Awkward Intern and the act of forgetting to tell him about the envelope. Allow me to replay the scene with as much gusto as I can muster in the written word.

Enter: Awkward Intern (AI). He is too nervous to talk to anyone. This is usually the case, so we think it is normal. When he wants to talk to you, he traipses lightly across the room in a waddle-like fashion and plops himself in front of you.

AI: waddle waddle waddle waddle plop. "Um." face turns bright red.

Staffer: "Do you need a brown paper bag to breathe in?"

AI: "Ummmmmmmm."

Staffer: "Your inhaler? An epi-pen?"

AI holds up the infamous envelope

Staffer: "ohhhhhhhhh."

AI: waddle waddle waddle waddle plop in chair. breathe with difficulty.

Spotted: Senate Office Building Security Line

Two female interns were waiting outside a Senate Office Building in security line. They were using the sunlight to check themselves for hickies. Their male colleague was watching and was very uncomfortable.

Heard: Russell Park

Pack of interns heading towards Union station, "They shouldn't treat us like children in the office. I mean we're like 20 and 21 yrs old..."

Heard: Senate Office Building Basement

Intern 1: Shouting halfway down the hall, "Yo, brah, are there any open bar receptions tonight? I wanna get shitfaced!"

Intern 2: "I dunno, bro. Let's go to the house side, I heard there's always shit there!"

Pièce de résistance: A committee staffer happened to be walking by as these buffoons telegraphed their bacchanalial desires across 40 feet of the corridor. The staffer and I overcame our considerable partisan differences to share a resigned grimace in silent recognition of the commencement of intern season.

Welcome: Roll Call and Politico Readers

Welcome to DC Summer Interns!

Thank you for visiting our blog! We invite you to submit stories of intern antics and gaffes. The blog is less than a week old and has already received many great stories. Please continue to submit them to: Thank you again, and we look forward to hearing of your encounters!

PLEASE NOTE: As with the viral nature that is the Internet, many offices have stated concerns about anonymity and poor reflections upon them - please be assured that no office or individual will ever be singled out. This blog operates under complete anonymity and will never be of a libelous nature.

This blog will never post any identifying information including, but not limited to: place of work, place of residence, name, or anything else that may identify an individual to the general public. In essence, it is a blog to which residents can voice their frustrations and from which interns can learn how not to behave (interns, please use this as a learning experience).

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at:

Spotted: Dupont Metro

Inappropriately dressed female. Wearing: tight short khaki skirt with double vents in the back (the vents ended right under her ass), complete with four-inch stilettos. And she was eating a yogurt in the Metro.

I tried to take a picture, but she kept staring at me. I think she knew I was horrified in her choice of outfit!