April 9, 2013 at 6:13 am
I am in Washington DC once again for Headache on the Hill, an annual lobbying event organized by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy, an event that I am renaming The Capitol Hill 5K. Why? Because I am scheduled to take seven meetings with my state representatives and senators today. SEVEN!! Last year I only had four. I clicked over to ye old Gmap Pedometer to map the route I’ll be taking from the subway to all my meetings and back, and it’s about five kilometers long. I’ll probably walk even further than that as I trek through winding corridors and get lost looking for the cafeteria, assuming I even have time for lunch. My only comfort is knowing that each Congressional office for North Carolina is packed with peanuts.
If I grab one bag at each office I might be able to fend off low blood sugar and prevent myself from collapsing, though that would be a rather dramatic and memorable way to end a meeting.
Why am I going to seven meetings? Well, out of the 83 attendees, six of us are from North Carolina, and we’re grouped together. We come from five different congressional districts, so we’re seeing five Congressman. We’re also seeing the two senators for our state. 5 + 2 = 7 = Congressional cardio. Most of the meetings are spaced 45 minutes apart, and no two consecutive meetings are in the same building. Sooooo, wish me luck! I’m keeping deodorant in my purse in case things get stinky. It’s supposed to get up to 82 degrees today.
If you’re curious to know more about Headache on the Hill, you can read this entry about the 2012 event in general and this entry about my experiences that day. Basically we’ll be asking our representatives to do 2-4 different things that will make more funds available for headache research and make it easier for people with severe headaches to be considered for disability. My experience last year has made me more confident this time around, but it did not lead me to believe I needed to start cross-training weeks ago. And I only brought five copies of my headache memoir, Chocolate & Vicodin to drop off at offices, so if they got one last year they’re probably not getting another one unless they visit amazon.com.
The last time I had this kind of challenge getting from place to place in time was in high school when I had to go from 5th period band class to Mrs. Schuetter’s 6th period math class. The band room was located in a building annex a block away from the high school. It was so far away there with an entire middle school in between the two buildings. Mrs. Schuetter’s classroom was located on the top floor in the corner farthest away from the band room. Added to that, we didn’t always hear the bell ring to switch classes when we were playing, so I didn’t always get the full 7 minutes to get to class. Needless to say, I was late several times, no matter how fast I ran, and Mrs. Scheutter was a real stickler for the rules, so she’d make me get a note from my band teacher the next day or I’d get a tardy.
So there you go, Congress is just like high school! Here in DC I won’t get a tardy, but I’d rather not miss a meeting. It was almost a five hour drive up here, and I only had 30 minutes to crash before I had a four-hour training session, so I’d like to make all this exhaustion worth it. I was so tired I actually ordered room service for the first time in my life, even though it goes against every cell in my spendthrift heart. The AHDA has been kind enough to cover the hotel costs, so I figured I could cough up some cash for a ridiculously overpriced chicken sandwich. The menu obfuscates the price with an equally ridiculous word problem that involves adding a 18% gratuity and $2 delivery charge. So I had to break out my calculator and use the mad math skillz Ms. Scheutter taught me to determine this chicken sandwich cost over $15.
For $15 I think those salt and pepper shakers should have done a dance routine before I chowed down. I wouldn’t have objected to the ketchup bottle doing a drum routine with its lid either. Alas, my silverware remained inanimate, though the same will not be said about me today.