So, Deonne, Sarah, and I were at a PI conference in D.C. early this week up until the morning of 9/11. For the most part I didn't think about it too much. We did get a chance to walk the mall on 9/11 before our flight and decided to tour the capital building (where the senate meets). For those of you who haven't been, I highly recommend it, especially if you have someone with you who has been there before. All of the museums were free, as was the tour of the capital building, and there are some dang cool museums too (we went briefly into the holocaust museum, but only had about 45 minutes before we had to hop on the Metro). The Metro is very easy to work with (although I still managed to almost get on the wrong train just about every time--a special thanks to Deonne and Sarah for not letting me head out to the burbs. Oh, and the announcements left a lot to be desired, a bit like the speaker at the drive through).
Anyway, back to the capital building, they gave us what my colleague Kathryn DiPietro (who spent several years in Tennessee) would call a "come to Jesus" talk about the security measures. This involved saying in a loud and clear voice that we were not to leave any belongings in the capital building for any reason, and that we could not bring anything we could eat or drink into the building. This was backed up with very capable steely-eyed flat bellied professionals wearing sunglasses despite the clouds and rain, carrying rifles that (as Danny Vermin might say) could shoot through schools. So I'm a little nervous about the details, and even though Deonne was assured that gum was okay, I decided to confirm with one of said steely-eyed flat bellied professionals and asked "but gum's okay right?" at the second (of three!) checkpoints. Turns out that it's extremely important to emphasize the "m" in gum. Because it sounds a lot like "n" and I got a look (this one was not wearing sunglasses) that made me want to rethink my life.