Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Time I (Accidentally) Had Lunch with Presidental Hopeful Rick Perry

In May 2005, Husband and I were newly married, soon headed to stalk Lance Armstrong as he did "last" and 7th Tour de France, and triathletes.  Before I had children, and I had more free time, I did triathlons.  In case you have no idea what's involved, in a triathlon you swim some distance, dry off and get on your bike, then bike a distance, then ditch your bike, and run.  All in a row.  Quickly as you can.

Husband and I decided to do the Rookie triathlon, which was an early in the season event (I generally did the Danskin tri, first week of June, and husband the Capitol of Texas tri, Memorial Day) and a good training ground.  It's slightly shorter than a normal triathlon, and is somewhat small, making it less intimidating.

We've already discussed how I'm a very slow runner.  I'm actually a VERY fast swimmer--in triathlons I'm generally one of the first ones out of the water.  Sadly, swimming is the sport you spend the least amount of time on in a triathlon, so fat lot of good that does me.  I'm a middle of the road biker and hate it as I feel like at any moment I could get hit by a car or fall of the bike.  I mean, if I'm running and I'm worried I'm going to fall over, I just stop.  If I'm biking and think I'm going to fall over, first I'm going to have to detach my shoes WHICH ARE ATTACHED TO THE PEDAL and stop the bike, all while trying not to run into anyone else.  

So, husband and I did the race.  I'm not 100% positive that this is the same year that someone swam over me during the swim and I threw up during the bike portion or not.  But that traumatic experience would explain some of the confusion I had later.  After the race, there is free beer and hamburgers, so that's pretty cool.  So, after the race, we got our burgers and sat down with a friend of Husband's named Bob.

Husband and Bob were sitting next to each other at a picnic table and I was sitting across from them.  We were discussing something when a man asked if he could join us.  I scooted over and kept talking.

It took me a couple of minutes to figure it out.  I was babbling on about whatever, and Husband and Bob were acting really odd.  And they were both sitting up straight.

And it suddenly hit me that the man sitting next to me was Governor Rick Perry.

We haven't really discussed politics, but I have a Bachelor's degree in politics.  I'm a yellow dog Democrat and vote straight party Democrat.  Rick Perry is a Republican.  The year he was elected Governor, I realized that Husband was not registered to vote.  I was mortified, and I took him to a Fiesta on the east side of Austin and got him registered.  And what does my husband do with his new found ability to participate in the democratic process?  Votes for Rick Perry and cancels out my vote. "He's an Aggie!" my husband proclaimed.  I was annoyed I had bothered to get him registered at all if he was going to vote wrong.

I can't remember what exactly was going on in the government at the time, but there was some sort of legislative big deal.  In Texas, our state legislature meets every other year for a handful of months.  Giant state, large budget -- all work for 24 months is done in a few of them.  Needless to say, I was on the opposite side of the big deal than Perry.

I should also mention here that I'm an extremely polite person and can make small talk for hours with anyone.  I work as a manager of a software support department, so my entire day is talking to people:  either someone on my team or a client.  I'm great at conferences and expos--I'll sit down next to a stranger and get their entire life story in about 5 minutes.

So, here I am, sitting next to Texas' King of the Republicans.  Part of me wants to get up.  Part of me wants to tell Governor Perry what I think of him.  Part of me is wondering how does he get his hair to look that good?  I mean, the man just did a triathlon and I'm not sure his hair has moved at all.  And part of me just can't be rude.

The nice part won.  I asked him what he did for fun when he wasn't Governing.  He hunts.  So does my husband, so we chatted about that for a while.  It was his first triathlon.  I recommended he get some EZ laces to cut time off during his transition (which is advice the man frankly didn't need as he placed first in his age group.)

Husband was practically falling off the bench with glee, as pictures are being taken of our Governor talking with the plain folk, his Democratic wife.  Fortunately for me, the pictures never surfaced