How I Happened To Meet Karl Rove
You're not going to believe this next one...
As you know, I was in Washington DC this week.
So Thursday, late afternoon, I get to the airport and I make it to the gate with plenty of time to spare. I'm feeling pretty good about that, all told. And how about that -- the flight is on time. So I'm kicking back, sitting there reading the Wall Street Journal, with one eye cocked on the gate listening for any changes in the schedule. You know, you have to be careful -- sometimes they'll change the departure gate on you with no warning.
Anyway, a few minutes before they start to board I get up and move toward the doorway when I see this guy standing there with his carry-on luggage. He's wearing a blue sport coat over a plaid button-down shirt and tan slacks. He's a middle-aged guy, balding, with frizzy gray hair on top of his dome-like skull. He's wearing wire-rim glasses.
Holy crap! It's Karl Rove.
Moving carefully, I take a few steps forward. I take his picture.
Then he walks up to one of the gate agents and, smiling, says something while motioning with his hands. The two of them look at each other for a moment and then the gate agent lets him board first, before everyone else. After he disappears down the jetway, I turn to the guy next to me and say, "Is it me, or did that guy look just like Karl Rove?" The guy answers, "That was Rove, all right."
Hunh. Karl Rove. On my flight! What are the odds?
So I'm thinking, "OK, he'll be seated in first class, so get your cellphone ready. When you walk onto the plane, pretend like you're checking your email and snap his photo."
I wait while they board the other zones. Then as they call my zone, I get my camera ready. I walk down the jetway and onto the plane. I'm in first class. No Rove. Dang!
Then I pass into coach and there he is, in 19B (a middle seat), five rows in front of where I'll be sitting. Karl Rove in coach? By himself? Hunh. I stop in the aisle in front of him.
The guy behind him is leaning over the seat talking to him. I don't hear what he's saying exactly, but he's really chatting him up in a fawning way. I've got about five seconds to decide what I'm going to do.
Now, another man might have called him a douchebag, another one might simply have gotten angry and yet another one might have walked right on by, saying nothing. And of course there's always the possibility that "Rove" is some sort of pathetic celebrity impersonator. Although -- my G-d! -- who would want a career impersonating Karl freaking Rove? I'm also thinking I don't want to miss the moment and/but I definitely don't want to be detained by security and taken off the plane.
Rove looks at me. I look back. "Holy crap!" I say. "It's MC Rove." He tilts his head back and laughs. "Oh, gosh, no," he says, all modest.
"Can I have your autograph?" I hand him my boarding pass but instead of taking it, he reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out his billfold. "Here's a pen," says The Goofball behind him. Without glancing back, Rove takes out a business card (and his own pen). He signs the card. He hands it to me.
(Click image to see a larger version. Note: the card wasn't one of those crappy ones printed with thermographic ink -- it was embossed.)
The Goofball rattles on. "Would you sign an autograph for me, Mr. Rove? It would mean so much to my wife..." He's a douchebag.
Now, like I said, another man might have unpacked a short rant. Me? I took out my cellphone and snapped his picture because, after all, you never know: maybe a photograph really does steal a man's soul.