Khamo - The Fear of Being Found Out
(Author's Note: Khamo = Khaki + Camouflage)
I've spent the last three days trying desperately to fit in here in St. Paul. Since Monday morning, I've been saddled up at a work station right in the belly of the goddamn beast. Off the convention floor for most of the work day, I'm holed up in the communications command center for the Republican National Convention Committee; their war room. There are 75, incredibly well-dressed, very beautiful, fiscally conservative, young Republicans working the phones, screaming at the top of their lungs, and working all day long.... And then there's me. Even dressed as preppy as I've ever been, I still stick out like a sore thumb in this room, in this town. There's no use in even trying to hide it. Sure, I'm wearing khaki pants, and tucked-in button-down shirts. But these kids have bowties, pearls, and collars that are just begging to be popped.
Day 1 was ok. Hurricane Gustav and the Immaculate Conception of Bristol Palin kept these young beautifuls busy enough not to notice me. But Day 2 was something completely different. I waited outside the war room to discuss something with my contact, when a young woman from Politico began handing out illustrated posters of the 2008 Republican Convention. I had seen one the previous day, and said, "Hey those are great! Mind if I grab one?" She obliged. "These really are great," I continued. "I wish I had one from Denver. Then I could have the whole set." When suddenly from my flank, a very tall, very black, very gay young man approached me, nearly shouting, "The whole set?! The whole set?! You are in the WRONG place if you want the whole set!"
Fear washed over me. I felt like the cock in the henhouse. I'd been screwing the farmer's daughter. It was time to pay the piper. And so on. He fluttered away, no doubt to be closeted and self-important elsewhere.
And the day marched on. At around 5 p.m., incredibly tan Senator John Ensign came into the war room to rile up the workers.
And about an hour after that, it was Lynn Swann rallying the troops of the war room. Lynn Swann, who along with Mike Steele, and my attempted outer, made up the three Black Republicans I could confirm at this twisted party. Lynn Swann was also the intended receiver on the fabled Immaculate Reception play in December of 72 against the Raiders. Not at all to be confused with the Immaculate Conception cited above.
Later on in the night, during the video tribute to old TR, the young beautifuls in the war room got chatty.
"Could you believe what Al Gore said? Comparing Obama to Lincoln?"
"Ooh! Look at me! I'm such a celebrity!"
"The whole thing just feels very anti-christ."
Anti-christ? It's one thing to call him a secret Muslim, elitist, (which let's be honest, he probably is). But the Anti-Christ?! Sweet mother of god! That couldn't have been said. It's been hard enough keeping my mouth shut in this room, but how could I possibly wipe the 'are you shitting me' look off my visage now? I needed to get out of there. I needed to stretch my legs, and breathe some fresh air. Credentials in hand, I made my way down to the Convention floor just in time to hear old Smoking Joe Lieberman take to the stage. The only thing worse then hearing him speak was coming to grips with my surroundings and the full magnitude of this collection of people. They were everywhere. If I thought I was outnumbered before in the war room, then what was this? The entire convention was now bearing down on me; an entire city full of the well-connected enemy. I may have been the Wolf in sheep's clothing. But these little lambs were drunk on their own self-congratulations, and more than likely belonged to the N.R.A.
I somehow managed to slide through the crowds unharmed, and made my way back to the war room to finish up the night's work. At around 11 p.m., the day was done... for me anyhow. I caught a cab back to the Embassy Suites, and bellied up to the lobby bar for a cheeseburger and 3 Budweisers. I wanted to get my mind off of things. I wanted to get to the sanctuary of my room, where I could draw the curtains, be myself, and, at least tepidly, let my freak flag fly. I signed the bill, and headed to the elevator, where three older female delegates from the State of Maryland were boarding. I'd guess they were all at least 60 years old. They were going to floor 5, and I kindly requested 6. At 5, the first two exited, followed by the third, who spun around before the door closed, and in her sequent hot pants, funny red, white and blue hat, and McCain/Palin regalia, said:
"You know there are drinks being poured in 525?"
Thanks for the kind offer, mom. But I'm afraid my fraternizing is through. I didn't get this far in the day just to fall prey to the old Chivas Statue of Liberty play.
Thanks. But no thanks.