It was hot on Friday. Like Africa hot. The heat made people crazy. A ticketing snafu didn’t help, nor did the 100+ student school group that sat up in the WAMO plaza for an hour, thinking they had 1:30 tickets when they actually had 12:30 tickets. We were behind for a substantial portion of my first 3 hours and it was difficult, to say the least.
Inside WAMO, waiting to take over the elevator
Woman with British accent: They wouldn’t let us in the lift.
Me: I’m sorry about that, but for safety we can only carry 18-20 people at a time.
Woman: It’s really unreasonable for you to have people sit outside for 30 minutes in this heat. My ticket said 1:00 and they told us to be here 15 minutes early.
Me: Yes, ma’am, but a 1:00 ticket means you get in between 1:00 and 1:30, not right at 1:00.
Woman: Well they didn’t tell us that. It’s very hot out there, and we Europeans are not used to 100 degree temperatures.
Me: (I REALLY wanted to tell her she technically wasn’t European anymore, but thought better of it.) We are not used to 100 degrees either.
Woman: Well, ok, but my daughter almost passed out sitting there waiting for 30 minutes.
Me: I understand, we stand out there for an hour at a time. It is not pleasant. But we make sure we have enough water. There are water fountains and water vendors in the area, were you not able to get to one of them to get your daughter some water?
Woman, clearly annoyed with me: It’s just unreasonable. I’m surprised you don’t have people passing out left and right.
Me: Most people bring water, or if they run out, they buy some or visit a water fountain. I know it’s hot outside, but it is cool and air conditioned in here, and now you have an extra 8 minutes to sit on that bench over there and cool off while you wait for the next elevator.
Walking up the hill after a restroom break
Visitor: Where is the railroad?
Me: The Metro?
Visitor: No, the railroad that takes you underground.
Me: The Metro goes underground.
Visitor: No, not that. The underground railroad that is free and takes you to all the memorials.
Me: Ummmm, there isn’t one.
Visitor: Yes, there is. My friend told me there is.
Me: I’m sorry, but your friend is mistaken.
Visitor: I’m going to go talk to someone who knows about the underground railroad so I can see the Lincoln Memorial.
Me: OK, good luck with that.
Possible future NAMA volunteer
Visitor at 490: This says there are 896 steps.
Me: Yes, that’s correct.
Visitor: You said there are 500.
Me: I did? When?
Visitor: In the elevator.
Daughter: Mom, don’t you listen? She said we were going up 500 FEET, not 500 steps.
Visitor: I don’t think that’s right. This says 490.
Me: Yes, the top is 500, this level is 490.
Visitor: But this says 896 steps.
Daughter: Give up mom. You got it wrong.