Sometimes I embarrass myself. I should amend that statement because it’s not just sometimes. It’s frequently, in public, and usually in quite spectacular fashion. It’s not that I mean to be such a dork, but I just can’t help myself. I am not someone that can remain calm, cool, and collected when meeting those I adore.
As a teenage girl, I was completely irrational and melodramatic. I bought ridiculous teenybopper rag mags and plastered my walls with the fold-out posters found inside. I filled journals and scrapbooks with my overwrought emotion, sure there could never be another as great as whichever celebrity or athlete I fashioned myself in love with that week. I begged for concert tickets and collected ridiculous memorabilia. I fainted at an Atlanta Braves game.
I was a hot mess.
Growing older, I’ve learned to keep myself in check, sort of. I still wrap myself passionately and wholeheartedly into things I enjoy. I still find myself inspired by people I admire. I still DVR Tyler Florence on Food Network and have a bookshelf full of Chipper Jones memorabilia. I might have cried at a John Mayer concert, but I’ve managed to become at least a little more balanced.
While mindlessly browsing and trying to kill time, Facebook suggested a nearby event to me. It was a political event I’d attended in the past, so I gave it a second glance. When I saw the featured speaker, I immediately knew I had to be there.
While most people probably don’t find themselves completely freaking out over being in the same space as a politician, I have perfected the art of Randgirling.
I quickly read the event info, trying to figure out how to purchase my ticket. I needed to be in the same room as my sweet, curly-haired prince! I nearly broke down in tears when I realized that the event listing had a cutoff for purchasing tickets and that date had passed. Drats! My plans to breathe the same air as Rand Paul were being foiled by some unknown political foe. Who stops selling tickets before an event is sold out?!
I dialed the number listed, anxiously waiting for someone to answer. Surely they would hear my plea and make an exception. When I heard a woman’s voice, I started to ramble and beg, only to realize I’d gotten someone’s voicemail. I left a somewhat coherent message, hoping I didn’t have to wait a long time for a call back. Thankfully, within hours, I had gotten a response and my name was on the list to attend. Succeess!
I was going to see Rand Paul!
The night before the event, I couldn’t sleep. I was going to be near Rand Paul! How could anyone sleep knowing such a momentous event was on the horizon?! I tossed and turned for hours, like a small child awaiting a vacation or the first day of school. I finally settled down in the wee hours of the morning to dreams of liberty, balanced budgets, and the abolishment of the Federal Reserve.
When my alarm finally sounded just a few hours later, I started running around like a raving lunatic. What would I wear? How should I do my hair? Oh my gosh! RAND PAUL!!!
When I arrived at the event, predictably, the tables near the front were reserved. I chose a seat in the middle of the room, trying to calm my nerves as I waited for the dinner to begin. As I sat waiting, the back portion of the room was closed off for a private meet and greet. Why was I not given this opportunity? Surely if someone had offered it to me, I would have quickly handed over a donation. Please, take my money!
The divider between the back section of the room wasn’t closed completely and I could see my hero through the tiny crack, taking photos and chatting with the chosen few. I started to get really nervous, worried that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to meet Rand Paul. Would someone just usher him in, then guide him right back out as soon as his speech was finished? Was he in a hurry?
When the event finally began and Rand Paul was introduced, I was surely in heaven. Just like on tv, I found him to be engaging and entertaining, his speech filled with ideas I can agree with. The time passed so quickly, and before I knew it, his speech was over and the event was wrapping up.
I stood around near my table for a few moments, checking my phone and wasting time. The were some local business leaders and politicians near the front, shaking Rand’s hand and chatting with him. After a few minutes, I noticed a few people walk up and ask for a photo. My chance had arrived!
I nervously crept to the end of the line of people that were waiting. My heart was racing as I got closer to the front. My palms were sweaty and I felt much like I did when I sat front row at a John Mayer concert. It was too much! I felt like a 15-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber meet and greet.
With four or five people ahead of me in line, I heard some of Rand’s staff say they needed to get going. There was another event early the following morning and they had to get on the road. I started chewing my lip, unsure of what to do. Rand continued to take photos, but started moving towards the door.
Panic set in. While the opportunity to get to hear Rand Paul speak was wonderful, I really wanted a picture! As an introvert, I am simply not an assertive person. I’m not someone that would charge to the front of the line, but I didn’t want to miss out. I stepped a little closer and hoped, holding my cell phone in my hand, camera ready to go.
Thankfully, someone from Rand’s team must have noticed I’d been standing there for a bit. She asked if I wanted a picture and immediately grabbed my phone to snap it.
Of course, in all the excitement, I forgot to have him sign my pocket Constitution. Maybe next time.