My day on Saturday, April 30 started off as innocuous as any other Saturday. I slept in, lazed about for a while, then brewed a pot of coffee while I checked my e-mail and began writing this entry.
Around 11, my phone buzzed with a text message. It was the man that I've been seeing pretty regularly the past few weeks.
Note: This particular man hasn't been blogged about because he didn't want to be blogged about. But I begged him to let me write about Saturday because it was just too good of a story. He said OK, but as a compromise, I agreed to blog around him as much as I can.
Anyway, he texted, asking how I was, and what I was up to that evening.
Of course, my cousin Jackie was in town, and I said that while she and I didn't have specific plans, I would be taking her out to experience all that the nation's capital has to offer.
"Want to hang out with me for a little while before you go out with her?" he asked.
"Sure!" I texted back.
"Great! Meet me at the Hilton on Connecticut Avenue at 5 sharp. Fair warning: You'll need a formal/pretty dress."
Well that was an unexpected text message, I thought to myself. What the hell did I just agree to?
In passing earlier in the week, he had made reference to having somewhere to be at 5 p.m. on Saturday; I had figured it was some sort of get-together with his friends.
Yet, his text message clearly indicated something bigger. I started googling "events at the Washington Hilton" to see if I could figure out where we were headed.
It took mere moments to get a positive ID on the evening:
"No FUCKING way," I breathed. "I think this dude is taking me to the White House Correspondents' Dinner!"
I clicked aimlessly about on the Hilton's events listing page. Surely, there had to be another explanation. Some other event going on concurrently with the dinner. A work-related function in an adjoining meeting room.
But, no -- the dinner was the biggest thing going on in D.C. that night. The Hilton would be overstuffed with dignitaries and celebrities, and would not have had the capacity to take on anything else.
A rush of adrenaline took over. I immediately set to work pulling out an old bridesmaid's gown, matching purse and pair of strappy sandals.
I was a ball of nerves when I finally got off the Metro at Dupont Circle (also, my shoes kept slipping off my feet, but that's neither here nor there). We met outside, and together we continued the path to the Hilton.
There were a bunch of people standing out in front, eagerly waiting for a glimpse of the celebrities who would be in attendance at the dinner. We rounded the hotel's curved driveway and made our way through the door and across the red carpet, where a line of paparazzi was also waiting for celebrities.
At that moment, I felt blindingly self-conscious. I should NOT be here, I thought. Oh God, paparazzi, please don't take my picture!!!
As much as I was inwardly (and, given my tendency to wear my emotions all over my face like slurped spaghetti sauce, outwardly) freaking out, my date remained cool as a cucumber.
We took the hotel's escalator to the second floor, where a bunch of meeting rooms featured easels with signs bearing the names of various news organizations -- the Associated Press, the Washington Times, ABC News, etc.
We came to a room marked the Wall Street Journal.
"This looks as good as any," my date said as he clasped my hand and led me toward the room's bartender. "Do you want a drink?"
"How are we here?" I whispered through clenched teeth.
He ignored my question and instead ordered a drink for himself, then a chardonnay for me.
I watched him take the drinks, then turn his back on the bartender and survey the room. He didn't move to speak to anyone there, nor did he seem to be looking for anyone in particular. And I knew for a fact he didn't work for the Wall Street Journal, or any other news organization for that matter...
And like a bolt of lightning to my cerebellum, it hit me:
Oh. My. God. We were NOT invited. We are GATE-CRASHING. WE ARE CURRENTLY GATE-CRASHING THE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' DINNER.
HOLY FUCKING CRAP! I couldn't BELIEVE that we were pulling a Salahi on the night!
I was shocked! I was aghast! I was... turned on. Aside from a sense of humor, the thing I seek most in the men I date is balls. And to me, it took a gigantic set of brass ones to walk right in there.
From the Wall Street Journal's party room, we dipped into other rooms as they began to fill up with more and more revelers. We feasted on free food -- the Washington Times had some sort of fried empanada thing, whereas ABC News had a delicious array of bite-size appetizers -- and acted like we knew what we were doing.
It was then that I began to see famous people.
"Oh my God, that's Admiral Mike Mullen," I blurted.
For those not in the D.C.-area, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff might not be that titillating. But to those of us in the capital city -- even those of us like myself, who do not drink the Kool-Aid when it comes to politics -- it was PRETTY FUCKING COOL.
Adm. Mullen was as nice as could be when I asked him to take a picture with me. (And what's crazy about my picture is that it was taken less than 24 hours before this one.)
Next came Sean Penn, Jane Lynch, George Stephanopoulos, Geraldo. I got my picture taken with actress Elizabeth Banks, who I could tell wanted NOTHING to do with me but gritted her teeth and posed for me anyway.
The pre-parties shut down at 7, and everyone began to make their way to the banquet hall for the dinner. Sadly, while there was exactly zero security in the upstairs hallways, there were burly bouncers in front of the dining room, so we did not attend the actual dinner. The last person of note I saw as the hallways cleared was Attorney General Eric Holder.
I was SPEECHLESS. We sat in the hotel bar and I flipped through the pictures on my camera. I had just rubbed shoulders with some of the most powerful, famous people in the world!
We finally met up with my cousin Jackie at Meze in Adams Morgan much later in the evening. And all in all, it was one of the cooler nights I've experienced in a long time!