Washington Monument, Friday, August 12, 2016

As hot and humid as it’s been lately, it was REALLY oppressive on Friday.  I was only at WAMO for 4 1/2 hours, but they were tough hours.  Fortunately, we did have some clouds and a breeze, but when you were standing in the sun, the breeze was just hot, humid air blowing at you.  Not exactly refreshing.

The people were super crazy.  Cranky, nasty, rude, not wanting to listen to instructions, flat out saying no when given instructions by Rangers, and thinking they know better than us how things should run up on the hill.  Oh, and several were smelly.

That said, they were also very entertaining.  Well, most of them, anyway.

Man Bun Count: I didn’t really look today, and I didn’t notice any.  Sorry.

While working the door

Visitor:  When did they put the Martin Luther King statue in here?
Me:  In the Washington Monument?
Visitor:  Yes, I know they put a statue of him in here a few years ago.
Me:  No, he has his own memorial.
Visitor:  And the statue is there?
Me:  Yes, along with a lot of his quotes.
Visitor:  OK, how do I get there?
Me:  (gives directions)
Visitor:  But there’s no statue here?
Me:  No, this is the Washington Monument.  MLK has his own memorial.
Visitor:  With a statue?
Me:  Yes, it’s over there.

Visitor:  I have 2:30 tickets.
Me:  OK, there is the 2:30 line.  We’ll be starting it as soon as the 2:00 line is finished, so you should go get in line now.
Visitor:  But it’s in the sun.  It’s hot.  I’m going to stand over here (nowhere near her line) in the shade.
Me:  I know it’s hot, I am standing in the sun too.  But if you don’t get in line, the Ranger won’t know you’re here, and you may miss your turn to go inside.
Visitor:  What do you mean the Ranger won’t know I’m here?
Me:  We have a process.  You have to stand in line on that bench, and then the Ranger checks your tickets, and then you come up here and go through security and then up in the elevator.  If you’re not in line on that bench, the Ranger won’t know you’re waiting somewhere else.
Visitor:  I don’t like that system.
Me:  I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s what works best for us.
Visitor:  Well I don’t like it.

At 490 feet

Visitor:  So, there’s no support structure to this building?
Me:  Nope, it’s stone on stone held together by friction and gravity.
Visitor:  Hasn’t a structural engineer ever had a problem with that?
Me:  No, it’s how they built buildings back then.  It’s also how the pyramids were built.
Visitor:  But I mean, haven’t they ever thought about doing something about it?
Me:  Like what?  It stood through a pretty strong earthquake nearly 5 years ago.
Visitor:  Yes, but just one.
Me:  One is a lot for this part of the country.
Visitor:  I can’t believe they haven’t ever done something about that.
Me:  What would you like them to do?
Visitor:  Take it apart and rebuild it with a support structure.
Me:  Take apart the Washington Monument?
Visitor:  Yes, and rebuild it.
Me:  Rebuild the Washington Monument?
Visitor.  Yes, what’s the big deal?

I had to walk away at that point.

While working the line

Me:  OK, if you have 4:30 tickets, please come over here so I can check them and get you inside.
Visitor:  There are 5 of us, and we’re waiting in the shade.
Me:  Well, I need everyone to come here so I can give you some instructions and get you inside.
Visitor:  But we have a baby.
Me:  OK, well you have to leave the stroller down here anyway, so you have to come over here and leave it by the fence.
Visitor:  But the baby is overheating.
Me:  Well, if you get everyone over here, I can get you over there in the shade by the door within a minute.
Visitor:  But we need to wait in the shade.
Me:  You’re going to be in the sun for less than 60 seconds.  Then you’ll be right back in the shade by the door, ready to go into air conditioning.
Visitor:  Let me go ask the rest of my group.

Almost forgot this one!

I watched a Naval Academy Plebe walking around with his parents, who were of course decked out in USNA gear.  His mom was constantly brushing lint off his whites.  They asked if I would take a picture of them.  I asked if it was Plebe parents weekend already, and they said yes.  I asked how it was going, and the Mid said it was a tough 40 days, but he was still there.  I took the picture and went back to taking tickets.  I turned around and the father was standing next to me.  He said his son looked at the pictures and his cover was crooked, so could I please take a few more.  I said of course, and said, “I know you don’t want to end up doing laps of Bancroft Hall because you posted a photo with your cover crooked.”  He said, “You aren’t kidding!”  He had that glazed look Plebes get when they’re out in the real world.  I wished him well and they were off on an adventure.

Me:  If I tore your tickets, please head over to the Rangers by the door.  Enjoy your visit!
*I notice a woman and man walking behind the group I just sent up.  I know I didn’t tear their tickets.*
Me:  Excuse me, I didn’t tear your tickets, can you please come over here so I can check them?
Visitor:  Well, that was rude.
Me:  I just need to check your tickets.
Visitor:  You’re not nice.  We were sitting on the bench (in the shade, a good 15 feet away from the group that just went inside) and you never took our tickets.
Me:  I can only send a maximum of 8 people inside to security at one time.  I already had 7, so I couldn’t take both of you.
Visitor:  Well you didn’t tell us that.  You’re not nice.  You said to go up to the door, and that’s what we were doing.
Me:  I said if I tore your ticket to go up to the door.
Visitor:  We didn’t hear that.  You’re not nice.
*At this point, she starts getting in my face and making exaggerated attempts to see my name on my nametag.  So I took their tickets.  The guy with her never said a word, and although I never made eye contact with him, I could tell he was not enjoying her little tantrum.*
Me:  Please wait here for a minute.
Visitor:  Why?  You’re not being very nice.
*She was still making her exaggerated motions to see my nametag.  I took a deep breath and stepped away for a few seconds to avoid doing something I would regret.  I asked if anyone else had 4:30 tickets just to give me a reason to walk away for a few seconds.  Then I turned and headed back to them.*
Me:  OK, please head up by the Rangers at the door.
Visitor:  Thank you, Sandy.
Me:  You’re welcome.

Can I just say… when the real feel temp is nearly 110 degrees, if you think someone is not being nice, getting in their face, repeatedly being confrontational, and acting like a spoiled brat is not going to make them want to be nicer to you.  So, you didn’t hear what I said, and you started to walk up before your time.  It happens all the time.  It’s not a huge deal.  But we have procedures for a reason.  If I say please may I see your ticket, there is a reason for it.  It’s not personal.


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