Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Heard: Dress to Impress?

Overheard in a Senate Office Building elevator: "I wanna get some and my dress needs to scream that!"

Red badge of courage? Check

Spotted: I Promise I'm Not Lazy

Actual email from an intern:

Hey [Staffer],

A while ago you asked me to do some research on CBO and another topic (what it was escapes me). Yesterday at our meeting with [staffer], I had a heart attack when I learned I probably should have sent you a memo with the information I learned. I’m not sure if you were telling me to do the research for my own benefit or if you actually needed it done but I don’t want you to think I missed a deadline because I really didn’t know how the office worked back then. If you still need to research, I would be more than happy to do it for you and have it in your inbox in a timely manner. Please let me know and I promise im not lazy :/


Heard: See red-badged Interns, you really are the coolest interns in town!

The other day I was approached by a couple of female (non-hill) interns as I walked by the Capitol. They asked if I would take a picture of them with the capitol in the background. I said sure and took the picture. This is what I overheard as I returned the camera and began walking away:

Girl 1: Oh my gosh, we're totally like those interns with the red badges on
right now.
Girl 2: Haha I know! Except that we don't have the red badges!
Girl 1: Seriously! I wish we had red badges, we totally need some!
Girl 2: Yeah, we should totally make our own. Like print fake ones or something!
Girl 1: YES! Like fake IDs, but red badges.
Girl 2: Yeah, that would be sooo cool!

See red-badged Interns, you really are the coolest interns in town!

Heard: Check Yourself

A coworker and I were getting coffee in the Rayburn Deli when three interns sauntered over. Planned Parenthood was on The Hill that day, and there were volunteer lobbyists wearing pink shirts everywhere...

Intern 1: Oh my god I hate hate hate babykillers. I want to say something to them.
Intern 2: Yeah, oh my god you should.
Intern 1: Is it worth it?
Intern 3: blank stare

Look. I get it. You have come to The Hill because of your deep passion for politics, but we are all here with varying opinions and you should restrain yourself from calling somebody else something inappropriate in front of staffers because you disagree with their politics. I'm not saying keep your opinions to yourself, but you don't want to have confrontations with lobbyists in the cafeteria... that is maybe the surest way to have your story in Politico rather than just this blog and your ass on the street.

Heard: Where's MA-04?

Our intern planned to attend an intern lecture from Chairman Barney Frank. Being unfamiliar with the Capitol Complex, she asked me where she might find MA-04. I politely informed her that MA-04 represented Chairman Frank's State and Congressional District. She said, "Oh, well, then where is TBD?"

Heard: Cameras in the Supreme Court?

I am a summer intern in the Senate and have rarely been more disappointed in my peers than yesterday when all Hill interns (that made it in the door) were treated to a speech/Q & A hour with Justice Ginsburg in the Supreme Court court room. This was obviously a big opportunity and one intern in particular felt he was just more important than everyone else waiting to get in. The interns who lined up inside the Supreme Court's waiting room were in four lines; I was lucky enough to be in the last line, along with this certain intern. The lines dismissed one by one and sure enough..this intern tried to cut in front of no less than a dozen people without the least hint of subtlety, literally pushing over and around his peers to try and get in front. Glad to see about five or six other interns did not allow this act of total-jerkiness.
Also, to the intern who asked Justice Ginsburg a question when she asked us about something entirely different: you should probably pay attention to when a Supreme Court justice is talking to you. Justice Ginsburg was waxing poetic about the Constitution and paused to ask the interns a question about the Constitution. What did this other intern do? He felt compelled to ask Justice Ginsburg at that moment if she forsaw whether the Court would allow cameras into the courtroom in the near future. Whoops.

Heard: I'd be Happy to Take it to the Senator for You

Cool event: Google DC hosted a local celebrity chef for a talk and some treats. They set up a Moderator to vet audience questions in advance. And yet one of the perky young audience members stood up to ask an impromptu question:

"Hi, my name is John, and I work for Senator X. I'm sure you know, Senator X is very concerned with food and agricultural policy with his work on Y committee... so if you have any feedback I'd be happy to take it back to the Senator for you."

Giggles spread throughout the audience. Miss Intern (no red badge but fair guess, no?) earnestly took notes as the chef replied emphatically about the inequities and injustice of corn subsidies. Props to the chef for the good answer to such an inelegantly phrased... um... 'question'.

Heard: They're Not Just on the Hill

I don't work on the Hill, but thought this intern story might be blog worthy.
Last week, two of our interns in my office went to get a free lunch at some new place that just opened near our office. I ran into them with a co-worker as we were coming back from lunch and they were telling us about it. The two best comments had to be "We're interns, I feel like we should have been able to cut in line for the free lunch instead of waiting forever like everyone else." and "I wish I had an intern badge that I could flash around the city." I had to try really, really hard not to laugh at them to their faces.

Heard: From One Intern to Another

I'd like to simply thank you for both providing some incredibly useful tips on how to comport myself (e.g. hiding the badge unless I need it), and for putting my first-week-of-work-style mistakes (getting lost, screwing up a phone transfer, etc.) in perspective. And, for what it's worth, my initial reaction upon seeing entrances/food lines/whatever labeled 'staff' was extreme uncertainty and nervousness about whether my intern ID was good enough. Anyway, thanks.

Hilltern #2013649

Heard: Tactless 'Terns

I'm a student at GW and found myself in a conversation with a Hill intern. I asked him how he was enjoying the Hill and he told me the usual story about how cool it was that his job was so important. Then we came to this exchange:

Intern: Yeah, but I'm still waiting for something really cool to happen... like an attempted terrorist attack on the White House.
Me: Uh, I'm sorry?
Intern: Well, I just mean it would be cool to see, like, gun turrets come out of the ground on the front lawn of the White House.
Me: That's... not how things work.
Intern: You never know...

I wasn't really sure how to continue the conversation at this point, I just walked away in disgust.

Heard: I'm Pretty Sure I was Roofied

"I'm pretty sure I was roofied." ~ My visibly hungover intern explaining to our office why his last day of work consisted of him showing up for 3 minutes at 2:30pm to turn in his red badge of courage. EPIC FAIL.

Spotted: Not Cuts, No Butts, No...

The lines to get into the HOBs have become atrocious since intern season began, particularly the line into Longworth from New Jersey. Apparently, one red-badged Hilltern thought it was kosher to cut in front of 10 people and merely stand next to someone she recognized to avoid further waiting. Calling her out on her folly, as well as the red badge, could not have come with a sweeter sense of justice.

Spotted: White Knight

I had the opportunity to actually be on the Hill today as part of a lobby day for a conference and had always heard of the mythical interns with the red badges of courage...and not thought much of it. That was until I got off at Capitol South Metro and was walking past Canon HOB to see an intern with her red badge on wearing skinny jeans, white flip flops, and a white tank top. I get that Congress isn't in session this week, but when tourists are better dressed than you, perhaps you should consider wearing something nicer to work? Thanks.