First let me provide a little personal background and hopefully some context to the specific event so as to relate in some way how utterly surreal this coincidental meeting was.
When I was much younger my first mentor in political affairs was my cousin Tom who was a hard-ass Union man who instilled in me the simple concept "Read,read,read!"
One day in March(?) 1992 I was over at cousin Tom's house drinking coffee and he was as usual buried in the paper. Agitated he said, "Make no mistake about it Mike these fuckers want to rule the world" and he threw the paper in front of me and tapped the page at where I was to read.
You can find the article here:
There was this small picture of this guy next to the article. The guy's name was Paul Wolfowitz. The article was the blueprint for what we now know as the neocon master plan for global domination- "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century."
Shortly after this incident I saw for the first time the movie "Being There" and I couldn't help but be taken in by some similarity between Wolfowitz and Chauncy Gardener and the thought of the black suits behind the scene. It really began to inspire deeper investigations when I saw a picture of Wolfowitz as the sole white guy sitting on the floor with some Indonesian bigwigs during a meal. For some reason this image and some deeper political curiosity led me on a path that continues to this day.
That short version may provide some personal background and if possible, and it isn't, the next few lines will provide some context.
Megan, IP, Tin, Keith and myself came together for Saturday's rally. We walked over towards the starting point and were immediately channeled into a very well-organized and quite hostile group of ex-vets many of whom were clearly already toasted and many who were quite batshit damaged and frothing. These people were sent there. There is no question about this.
Once we passed through this line we entered into the open area where folks were gathering to head to the Pentagon. We passed some moments there in various conversations and prepared to march. The march began and as we moved across the first bridge we encountered more pro-war wing nuts who were shouting towards us rather impossible to hear words of support (heh). When we made it to where the talks were to be given we stayed up on top of the bridge and moved with the students who were to make an effort to cross to the grounds of the Pentagon while the bulk of the marchers went down to the parking lot. The situation was tense and the rest of this story can be read at some of the other posts in the forum. Ultimately the situation did not turn into the very ugly scene it seemed was upon us.
Fast forward to Sunday early afternoon sunny and brilliant. We decided to head towards the White House to lend support to the encampment there but found no encampment except for the one that has been there since 1981 by a woman who's name eludes me at the moment. She has been there everyday for 26 straight years now.
Megan and Tin decided that they wanted to get a shot of the PI banner in front of the White House and stretched out the banner for the shoot. The photos turned out brilliant. I decided I wanted to get a shot of this banner in front of the White House to send to my mother and brother.
So Keith and I donned our "V" masks and each held an end. At this point I just began an unrehearsed rant upon the US Military Empire and some guy came up with an earhorn and a notebook pretending to be deaf but wanting to document what I was saying. This was outre political theatre with players who never could've known the time or place of their next showing. A small crowd gathered and people began to take some photos. What happened next only added to the impromptu surrealism as a woman came in ranting about how we were the problem and that we were causing the US to lose the War. There is more to this but I will only add that she was sobbing and extremely vociferous bringing the policeman over who said to me "I thought you were only going to get a picture" and I said that "We would roll up the banner now." Others would give a better description of the woman and how this played out my mind was involved elsewhere.
Afterwards we all split up with Keith and Tin getting some pics, Megan and Rusty (IP) walking mega miles around The Mall/Smithsonian and I biking around and heading back to the hotel. We met up in the early evening at the hotel and contemplated our dinner options. Not knowing that a meeting with Paul Wolfowitz was just a kiss away.
After Tinoire's radio interview we headed down the stairs and awaited the cab. Disclaimer- I hate taking cabs and have ever ordered one (purity alert) but Tinoire's foot was injured and so we hailed one and the 5 of us got in. Guess what folks, yours truly got to ride on Miss Monkey's lap. I encouraged the cabbie to hit bumps all along the way.
We, meaning Tinoire (LOL!!!), decided to go get crab cakes at an old Baltimore seafood hotspot named Phillips Seafood which now has an operation on the DC waterfront. So we enter the restaurant and get on the wait list for the table. The atmosphere in the place is very loose and the breakdown here is 70% black and a mixed bag of whatever else. I think that's accurate correct me I'm wrong someone. We decide to, quite naturally, head up to the bar while we wait.
When we get to the stools in front of the bar I unload my backpack take off scarf etc. and look into what they have on draft. As I turn back out towards the eating room/area I see this guy walking towards me and immediately!!! Now here it is I think IP replied "That's Paul Wolfowitz" or some such comment. I didn't hear this and simply zoned in on this figure who's career I had noticed and observed for years. My pulse must have been flying. Who knew?
So in a second he's passing right next to my right shoulder and I directly and with animation say "Paul. Paul Wolfowitz from Ithaca. Hi I'm Michael. I'm from Ithaca too. You know you're quite a luminary." And at this point I am shaking his right hand even if he doesn't know it. He is smiling in a sort of off-guard way but there is no tension. I continue: "Paul you were born and raised in Ithaca and you're father still lives there." He adds, "My father's dead now." I quickly, instantaneously check my guard 'he is a war criminal he will get nothing' and move on. I then go into some small banter and request for some pics which Tin takes and then she gets a little photo=op with Wolfie as well. After this dissipates he is moving to the seafood buffet area but is really not irked or disconcerted in some ways almost seemed naively okay with everything at the moment. So I shake his hand again and he asks my name again as well as last name and I say to him "Paul, Free Palestine... Free Palestine RIGHT Paul?!
Paul sat amongst War Vets part of the contigent that organized the counter-protests. No security or secret service. Just a night out.
He smiles and I release his hand. He goes to get his food.
It's a small world you don't have to pay attention
It's the reservation
The news don't give it a mention
I had another discussion with he and a few others at their table but for now that is all.