By Memet Walker
It’s my first week in Washington, and here is my first impression:
(Bill Cosby voice) “You got to eat da’ puddin’ poppps!”
All right, I’m not very good at impressions.
So what have I learned?
I’ve learned that D.C. is hot. Often wet. Sometimes even both at the same time.
I have to say, when you hear the words “internship provides housing,” you’re probably like me and think of a closet-sized room, in the worst neighborhood in town, with bullet holes where a door should be.
But in all seriousness, the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire takes ridiculously good care of us. Not only do they pay us – who DOES that? – we’re given a really nice, two-bedroom apartment in Woodley Park, right next to the National Zoo. The gorillas even brought us cookies when we moved in.
So far, rooming with Matt, Rob and Percy is like fraternity experience I never had in college. I just wish Matt would stop hitting me with a giant paddle.
Oh, and my roommate, Percy, likes to wake up each morning at 6 a.m. sharp, which means I wake up each morning at 6 a.m. sharp. Sociopath.
On just our second day here, Jody Beck, our program director, took us to the Capitol. It’s so cool having an official press pass. Seeing Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul was surreal – I mean, for a political science nerd like me, that’s like my John, Paul, George and Ringo! (Oh God, I’m going to be alone forever, aren’t I?)
And how’s this for a first assignment? My first story was covering “Wikileaker” Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial in Fort Meade, Md. I’ve barely gotten my feet wet in town, and I’m already witnessing history unfold in person. I just have to keep reminding myself, most of these famous people and politicians are probably just as star struck to see me as I am to see them. (Not to brag, but I write a pretty good column for my school paper.)
The hardest thing was getting used to not having a recorder so I wouldn’t miss anything being said. (There weren’t any electronics allowed inside, as a lot of classified stuff was being talked about. In fact, if I blogged about it, I’d have to kill you.)
The second hardest thing was taking pictures. Here’s the building the trial was in:
But honestly, would you believe that, inside this plain old building, one of the biggest trials of the decade is happening? If you didn’t know it, you probably wouldn’t look twice at this place. You try making it look cool – impossible. Then again, taking photos isn’t my strong suit. Hopefully, that’s something I can work on this summer.
In my defense, it doesn’t help when people start screaming at you to put your camera away the second you take it out. But it’s a military base, and people are extra uptight (understandably).
That’s all for now. I’ll call soon, Grandma.