Ed. Note: This particular entry is referring to last Wednesday night. Yes, this is approximately how long it takes me to blog about life events.
I had driven into the city on this particular day with the expectation that I would need my car afterwards.
Having been invited to a newly formed women’s Bible study group in Maryland, my plan was to leave directly from the medical school—despite what I knew would be crazy, rush hour traffic—to meet the ladies for dinner and study.
Most days, I take the train into and out of the city and can only listen empathetically when my friends complain about the transport of a dignitary, diplomat, or Obama himself preventing them from getting home. Or crossing a street. Or having a quiet evening to study.
Because of the security involved in such transport, it’s not entirely unusual to see a flash mob of police cars and armored vehicles appear out of nowhere, disrupting traffic and closing streets without warning. Usually, I’m at the medical school when I see it happening and watch from a library window with slight disinterest. Another day, another Obama sighting.
When I noticed a lone police officer suddenly pull into the intersection in front of me, it seemed strange. His lights went on very quickly and I figured there was an accident ahead. He got out of his car to direct traffic, and after motioning me through the intersection, I was pretty sure that he was clearing that particular intersection. Before I could advance 300 feet or process that thought, though, 20 racing police officers on motorbikes, with lights and sirens blaring, appeared out of nowhere. The cars had no choice but to stop—wherever we were at that instant.
I sighed deeply, knowing exactly what the commotion was about. When the motorcycles passed, several armored vehicles whizzed past me, and finally, more police cars. The overwhelming display of sirens and lights, shattering the quiet evening, disappeared as quickly as it appeared. In 45 seconds, it was over. The delays caused by the moving procession, however, would persist for hours.
When I got home that evening and checked CNN, I realized that it was the night of Obama’s third state dinner. I, of course, happened to be on the road at the exact time that someone important—maybe Obama himself—was being transported.
If I was not a medical student, I probably would have known this. But, I didn’t. On the upside, who else can look back on their medical school years and tell at least a dozen stories starting with, "Remember how I was so late that one time because Obama was passing by?"