Monday, 4 April 2011
There were two doors – an In and an Out. They were clearly marked. The Out had that familiar red circle with a white line. I couldn’t miss it. Big official building on Capitol Hill, central Washington DC. Very Roman – all big walls and columns. Police cars and blocked-off roads. A city in fear of terrorist attack. Two doors and I was there for a TV interview about war in Afghanistan, poverty & education in Afghanistan, a young boy’s life in Afghanistan. Someone came out of the Out door and while it slowly closed I nipped in. ‘Other door, sir!’ A large man in a crisp blue shirt with official letters across the chest as well as keys and phones and maybe even a gun. ‘Other door’. ‘So sorry’, I said and started to walk to the desk. ‘Out of the Out door, and come back in the In door’. ‘You’re joking’, I said, knowing he wasn’t. ‘You want me to go out that door and come back in the one next to it?!’ ‘That, sir, is what you will do’. Another crisp blue shirt took up position behind me. And another gazed my way, aware of a slight disturbance and eager to somehow participate. Now some things wash over me; I don’t care. But this kind of petty nonsense always winds me up. ‘That, sir, is the height of stupid-ness!’ I decided in a split second not to say ‘stupidity’ as ‘stupid-ness’ sounded more appropriate. ‘That door sir is the way in’. I saw the producer of my interview plead with her eyes for me to swallow my indignation and retrace my clearly all-too-vital steps. I did, laughing out loud to show I had the moral high ground. The man who was there to provide security had, in his incredibly small way, done quite the opposite. Crisp blue shirts no longer suggest order and calm; they now say to me needlessly aggressive, short-sighted and stupid. Then I talked on TV about the war in Afghanistan.