On Wednesday we drove to Meridian, Mississippi, and checked into a hotel. I made the reservation over a month ago when we decided to spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s mom. As we arrive, I notice that the parking lot is cordoned off on the East side of the building. An assortment of black SUVs and unmarked law enforcement vehicles occupy various positions. I found this interesting, but the hotel was open and there were other civilian guests so we pulled up to the entrance.
We enter the lobby and there are individuals scattered around to whom the vehicles obviously belong. We unload our luggage onto a cart. My wife and son go up to the room while I park the car. I have to park on the side of the road leading up to the hotel because the parking lot is full. There are empty spaces behind the yellow cones on the East side, but I don’t see that as an option.
I reenter the hotel and head for the elevator. After I get on, a man and a woman enter. The woman is dressed in law enforcement style casuals and pulling a cart with military style bags. The man is in a full “Men in Black” suit, a little bulky in the torso from the bullet proof vest. He has a clear earpiece with a curly wire that disappears under his jacket. The 2nd floor button is covered by a piece of black duct tape, but they exit on this floor anyway. There were both very friendly.
I wonder who could possibly be staying on the 2nd floor. A dignitary perhaps? If it were someone exceedingly important, why would they be staying at an economy hotel in Meridian, Mississippi?
When I get to the room, my wife shows me a news story about Mike Pence, the Vice President-elect, flying into Meridian to spend Thanksgiving with his son who is stationed at NAS Meridian for Marine pilot training. The story says he will be staying at “an undisclosed location.”
Several thoughts go through my mind. Everyone in this hotel has been subjected to an extensive, Federal-grade background check. They are probably monitoring all communications. I advise my wife not to post anything to Facebook or text about our fellow guests on the second floor. We settle down for the night with the knowledge that we are in one of the most secure locations on planet Earth. Security through obscurity indeed.
Thursday morning we head over to grandma’s for Thanksgiving. The hotel is still populated by Secret Service and assorted law enforcement. We spend the day with family at a log cabin in the woods of rural Alabama feasting, playing dominoes, napping, and fishing. We get back to the hotel that evening and notice that half of the security detail is absent. The Pence family must still be away.
On Friday morning, I wake up around 7:00 AM and head down to the fitness room for a run. The facility is down on the East end of the hotel and I pass a few plain clothes Secret Service. I give them a friendly nod as I enter the room.
I set up my iPad on one of the treadmills, pull up an anime app and start up Mobile Suit Gundam, the original series from 1979. I’ve never really watched Gundam and always wanted to check it out. I looked up some recommendations of where to start (there are hundreds of hours of Gundam) and decided to start with the original series. Gundam is revolutionary, I had no idea how influential this series was. Anyway…
I start my warm up run.
I notice three to four plain clothes Secret Service watching me through the windows. After a few minutes, a short, brunette woman enters the room and gets on the elliptical.
I continue my run.
After about 30 minutes, I’m near the end of my workout. The woman is joined by a younger blonde girl and after they chat for a while she starts a run on the treadmill next to mine.
I don’t pay either of them much attention. One of the most significant things my dad said to me a long time ago was that people are just people. Never be intimidated or overly enamored by anyone because we are all human. We all wake up in the morning, get dressed and eat breakfast. This realization has served me well.
I finish my run and exit the room exhausted and drenched in sweat. As I leave I say to the Secret Service in the hallway, “Man, that’s tough the day after Thanksgiving,” referring to my post-holiday workout. One of them responds, “I bet it is.”
I get back to the room and tell my wife about the workout experience. She said that was Karen and Audrey Pence, his wife and daughter. I was like, “Oh, heh.”
We never saw Mike.
Dear Secret Service, I have one request: please refer to me as codename “cyb3rllama.”
Happy Thanksgiving USA from the South-lands of North America
Yo, I’m speaking at connect.tech on Saturday at 2:30…
Wow… Aristotle really did a number on us (i.e. the collective Judaeo-Christian-Islamic history of thought). I wonder what the past 2,300 years would’ve been like if he had gotten on Alexander’s ish list.
Reading: Eugene Thacker’s “Starry Speculative Corpse: The Horror of Philosophy Vol. 2”
Well this is exciting! I have been accepted as a speaker at @connect_js in October! I will be presenting an original topic:
ExD: Designing for Exponential Change – An exploration of basic Design Principles and the forcing functions of Exponential Growth, Miniaturization and Dematerialization. Application of these concepts will be demonstrated using a custom set of “Method Cards” that can be sorted and discussed to inform and inspire research and design.