There’s a lot of security in DC. I think at least 10% of the jobs in this town are security-related, if not more, and I guess it makes sense. They’ve got all these cool security accoutrements in buildings that we don’t see in Boston at all.
I’ve been having a good time with the view from my office because I get to see some serious security in action. My office is on the second floor and there is an alleyway between my building and the nondescript one next door. So I’ve been watching because we artist-types don’t really do any work, we just sit around and stare off into space (or alleyways). In any case, there is a loading dock in the alleyway and every time any vehicle wants to get in, there is an intricate process.
First, there’s always a guy in a suit pacing around the entrance to the alleyway. He’s got the requisite ear-piece with the curly wire going down the back of his neck and looks pretty focussed and efficient (and a bit intimidating). So he stops the vehicle in the road. Then another guy in SWAT-looking gear gets out of a white minivan (yeah, that part isn’t so threatening, though the plates do clearly state DHS) followed by a very professional looking german shepherd. They walk around the vehicle together and nothing happens. I assume that if there were any whiffs of explosives, the dog would go wild and things would get very exciting very quickly. But as it has been happening, it just looks like the guy is taking his dog on a very short walk. They get back into the van in their reserved parking spot and then the weird noises start happening.
The steel gate retracts first and then a series of five of these hydraulically controlled 12-inch diameter bollards space across the entrance sink into the concrete. Those things are super-cool, and they are all over the place in DC. I guess they will stand up to being rammed, but can be really quickly moved up and down. It seems as though the guy in the suit controls them with a remote control. I have this nearly irresistible urge to stand on top of one and ask to be lifted up and down, but somehow I think that might not fall into protocol.
In any case, the alleyway is now open for the truck or whatever to back into the loading dock and unload cargo that I can only imagine. Of course, all delivery trucks are totally un-marked.
My very nice friends – who clearly care a lot about me – have repeatedly suggested that I take lots of pictures and even video to send to them from my official government-controlled internet connection. As much as I want to, I think it might not end up well for me…
So I feel safe here, mainly due to the dog. I think I’m in a good spot as long as I don’t write anything on my blog about the inner-workings of the security of a building that I suspect may belong to an uber-stealthy division of the US Government in charge of some pretty important things (and people).