Recently, I visited Washington D.C.
It was Monday.
I was supposed to have coffee with Sima that afternoon.
In the summer, the eastern seaboard seemingly becomes a giant Crock Pot, slow cooking human bodies until nightfall relieves them of ever-present sweat. Humid weather is not particularly pleasant for a heavy sweater like me.
Earlier that day, I had ventured all over the D.C. area College Park, Maryland, Georgetown, Howard University. By the time I exited the Federal Triangle Metro station, I was not very dry (or clean, for that matter).
Sima works at the Federal Treasury building, which is located right next to the White House.
As I was walking toward the Treasury, my underwear started to chafe. I adjusted it from outside my pants and kept walking, pausing to re-adjust it from time to time, as it continued to chafe.
I now know why people put talcum powder in their pants.
Most tourists loiter outside the front of the White House for photo-ops. Arriving at the Treasury early, I found a bench on the considerably less popular right side of the House (stage left) and sat down, a dense growth of gated trees before me.
My feet hurt as a result of extensive walking that day, so I took off my sandals.
About a minute later, I felt the inner-thigh chafing again.
Goddammit, I thought.
I looked around. No one in sight. Determined to fix the situation once and for all, I stood up, unzipped, and stuck my hand through my fly to directly adjust my underwear when
What are you doing?
There were two security guards hiding among the trees, dressed in black with bulletproof vests on, automatic firearms in hand.
I'm…adjusting my underwear…it-it's…chafing…
Take your hand outta your pants, said one of the guards.
Can I see some identification please? asked the other.
Identification? I thought. WHAT? Why do you need to see my identification?
When the person asking you has a gun, however, you don't refuse his request.
I pulled out my driver's license and handed it over to him through the fence.
So you're from California, eh?
He looked at my license, then at me (…and my bare feet), and then muttered to his partner:
Did he just call me a hippie? I thought.
I was in disbelief. I mean, I don't think much of the president, but…a hippie? At least call me "passive liberal scum," if you must. I think he thought I was going to piss on the White House lawn or make some lewd gesture at the White House with my penis, when all I really wanted to do was sit comfortably on a bench and smoke cigarettes.
All right, get outta here! he said, handing my license back.
The two guards gave me dirty looks and walked away.
The fuck were you two hiding in the trees for? I thought. The president's on vacation! The fuck are you protecting?
I put my sandals back on and re-located to the benches surrounding a nearby statue of General Sherman, pausing only once to adjust my underwear.