Well, if you're reading this, I guess either the world didn't end or you weren't lucky enough to get raptured. I'm actually a bit disappointed, because I have a big project at work that I'm pretty far behind on and I was hoping for a bit of a reprieve from that. Also: I was looking to loot a few sets of car keys and pick up a nice vehicle or two.

My cousin from the Midwest was in town this week and I picked him up for dinner the other night. The Caterpillar and I took him to one of my favorite empanada shops in the Dupont Circle area. You'd think the excitement of 14 different empanada flavors and grass on the wall alone would be well more than an out of town guest could simply stand, but because I wanted to provide the complete "D.C. Experience," I arranged for the President to have dinner a few doors down from us. I'm cool like dat.

First we noticed unusual activity on the block.

Then a score of black SUVs, motorcycles and people in black suits appeared on the scene.

I had an idea what was up because there isn't much in D.C. that requires this level of security, but eventually we started to overhear people say President Obama was coming for dinner and they had cleared out the entire pizza restaurant up the street.

We didn't see the President arrive - too engrossed in our empanadas - but when we came out the entire block had been closed down to traffic so we were pretty sure he was there by now. People were still allowed to enter the restaurant (still trying to figure out how they were given permission to do that because we weren't even allowed to walk past the corner) but they were each swiped with a magnetic wand before entering. I've lived in the area for awhile now and have developed a certain blasé attitude about the celebrity of politics that goes on here, like most Washingtonians. I saw Bill Clinton a couple of times back in the 90s, never managed to catch a glimpse of George Bush, bumped into a few Senators on the street (probably more than I know because I wouldn't recognize most of them on the street).  But despite all that, I'm still not jaded enough to not choose to stand on a sidewalk way past The Caterpillar's bedtime to catch a glimpse of Barack Obama's head as he gets into a limo after stuffing his face with pizza.

And so we did.

Over the years here, I've heard a lot of criticism about how the President, whoever the President was at the time, doesn't support local businesses or that when he does go out, he tends to go to high end, high dollar restaurants and spend a lot of tax dollars on expensive meals. I can tell you after watching the logistics of him try to go out to a pizza joint, that the cost of food doesn't even begin to match the cost of getting him out of the white house and back safely. The amount of people, cars, weapons, and Secret Service agents that have to accompany him and ensure that he and his family are safe is astronomical. High end restaurants are probably cheaper in the long run because they are easier to secure.  There were agents up and down the block, police officers trying to control the crowd, snipers on adjacent rooftops and across the street, a team of motorcycle cops doing scout work, two ambulances and (I would imagine) a team of plain clothes people in the crowd we didn't even notice.

I have to say the best part of the event was standing and talking to people who were also waiting on the corner. People were friendly, funny and ridiculous all at the same time. At one point, someone living in an apartment above a restaurant across the street opened up his window and stuck his head out to get a better view. The Secret Service went CRAZY. They started yelling and gesturing at him to get back in his home and when he didn't seem to understand, a team of them made moves toward the building like they had every intention of going up there and taking him down. It was like someone had disturbed an ant hill. He finally got the point, pulled his head back inside and closed the window. One of the people standing near me said, "Geez! It's his house. He can't even open the window and look out?"

About six of us muttered something to the effect of, "Um.... maybe they're a little touchy about open windows across the street from where the President will be."


"Kennedy, anyone?"

"Oh! Yeah. I guess you're right."

We hung around until he finished his meal and left the restaurant. Some folks said the entire family was there, but we never really got confirmation of that. We could tell when it was getting close because the ant hill mob of Secret Service Agents started bustling again. A local police woman who was doing crowd control near us came over to tell me that I should watch out for The Caterpillar in case the people standing around us started to crowd us to try to get a photo as he left. She didn't want her to get trampled.  That didn't happen because he left so quickly, but I thought she was sweet and really nice to look out for us like that.

I did manage to catch a photo of his limo as they drove away. See in between the two Secret Service Agents and the cop with the nuclear fallout glowing vest?  Those two barely visible tail lights are my brush with greatness.

The Dormouse, lover of all things Obama, by the way, wasn't with us. She chose to go to another event with The KingofHearts, so it was just my cousin, The Caterpillar and me. When I told her that we'd seen The President and she didn't, she LOST. HER. MIND. I'm pretty sure she's never going to pass up dinner downtown again in her life.

And I hear that random people on the street were seen stealing the "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS TAPE" from the trash cans after the Secret Service took it down and threw it away.

Those crazies.