The worst part of any grand adventure is that it eventually must come to an end. Sunday morning, I had the luxury of sleeping in a bit. Still, I was up by 9:00, gathering my thoughts as I began to gather up my belongings.
One thing I’d noticed upon my return to the room late Saturday night was that there were still a couple cases of beer stashed in my room. I hesitated before bolting the door and putting out the Do Not Disturb, but ultimately decided the true Late Nighters could darn well knock if they really needed the rest of it. So, my first order of business Sunday morning was to tweet out to Sarah Smith (@Mamaswati) and Matt DeLuca (@MattDeLuca) to find out where my room card was and who wanted to come collect the leftover beer — because I certainly wasn’t going to be taking it with me! DeLuca proved himself the hero when he offered to drive back to the hotel to exchange card for beer — especially when I later learned just exactly how late (early?!) it was when he’d finally left the #KruiserKabana. (Shhh – I won’t tell, Matt.) A bit later he arrived, with the card, tote bags in hand, and deftly loaded them up with the beer. (I did announce on Twitter that there’d be a party at Matt’s house later. Not sure if anyone took me up on that.)
As I finished packing up, was happy to receive a quick visit from @rachelveronica who stopped by my room to say goodbye on her way out. All I have for her is hugs. She knows why. Made my way downstairs to checkout, and, boy, what a difference a few hours makes….there were still a few CPAC folk here and there, but honestly, the place looked (and felt) deserted. I once again checked my belongings with the Bell Hop as I wouldn’t be leaving for the airport until mid-afternoon. I grabbed a Dr. Pepper (way better than Amp) and pulled up a chair in the Lounge. Soon, Thomas LaDuke (@irishduke2) arrived and sat down to chat for a bit. He had some time to kill before hopping the train back to Detroit. It was agreed that Cousin Fingers (@FingersMalloy) would soon join us for lunch, so we once again headed to Harry’s Pub to dine.
Duke shared the story of his encounter with some Ron Paul supporters the night before at Harry’s while the rest of us had been at Karaoke. I must say I was surprised by their noticeable lack of presence at the Conference, but I guess the promise of Rand speaking wasn’t enough to draw them in their usual numbers. (This likely explains Paul’s lackluster showing in the Straw Poll this year, as well.) When Duke initially recounted the story, I happily revealed that I was, in fact, wearing my “Ron Paul’s Burger Hut” T-Shirt under my pullover at that very moment. (For those unaware, check out the website here: http://www.ronpaulsburgerhut.com/ . (@RPaulsBurgerHut)) Later, after Fingers joined us, Duke retold the story and I again mentioned I was wearing the T-Shirt. I now know, without question, that Duke and Fingers are related. Because they both had the identical reaction, recounted here http://www.fingersmalloy.com/2012/02/snark-factor-157-cpac-wrap-up , at about the 23 minute mark. #TeeHee
While we dined, Duke showed off his multi-tasking skills, giving an interview to Matt Clark (@Clarkcast) of WAAM-AM: https://twitter.com/#!/FingersMalloy/status/168767678805327872
Unfortunately, Fingers’ airport shuttle arrived a bit sooner than anticipated so lunch had to be cut short. Quick hugs goodbye for him and then Duke. Not gonna lie – felt like saying goodbye to family. #Sniffle
Then I was off to Dulles. But my trip wasn’t completely over, yet. I’ve had the great good fortune to be friends for over 8 years now, with Ann (@Dublin__5), whom I initially met on that message board I mentioned previously. (www.rightnation.us) Ann lives in Virginia, near DC, and it had been six years since I’d last come to visit her. Unfortunately, the whirlwind that was CPAC didn’t afford me much free time, but we were able to meet up at – kid you not – “Harry’s Tap Room” at the airport. (Harry’s apparently a popular guy in DC.) Enjoyed a nice salad and drink and caught up as best we could in the limited time we had. Again, never can adequately say just how grateful I am to have the amazing friends I do.
But my CPAC fun wasn’t quite over yet. I’d checked in on FourSquare when I arrived at Dulles, and as I was making my way through security, received a message from none other than Rick Hornsby (@rjhornsby). After comparing notes, we discovered that we were, in fact, booked on the same flight to Midway. What a delightful surprise! So, I had a pal to sit next to on the plane and revisit the wondrous insanity that the past five days had been. And also to help steady my flying nerves a bit. We both had an almost 2 hour layover at Midway, too, so we grabbed a snack and a soda at the lovely “Oak Street Cafe” — where ordering your food and drink at the bar gets you carded with a snarl — and watched a bit of the Grammys together, before heading in search of outlets to recharge our phones. Honestly, those last few hours with Rick I think helped save me from slipping into full on post-CPAC depression. At least for Sunday.
And that about sums it up. I’m working on a follow-up post — one reflecting on it all and focusing on the lessons learned. But before I close this out, I do want to add a shout out to several other folks I saw/met and enjoyed chatting with while at CPAC: Jason Whitman (@JasonBWhitman) (though we were spared any crazy bidet incidents this time!), Sam Rosado (@SARosado), Brian Bollman (@bbollmann64), Michelle Moore (@Michelle_Moore), Jon David Kahn (@MrJonDavid) – my favorite Conservative crooner, Corie Whalen (@CorieWhalen), Neal (@NewDealGin), and Sarah Rumpf (@Rumpfshaker). Oh, and I want to re-mention Joe Schoffstall (@JoeSchoffstall) whose name I misspelled in the last entry. (Sorry, Joe!)
Again, there were many others, and you have my sincerest apologies if I’ve neglected to mention you. It’s no intended slight — simply faulty memory and information overload. Also, there were several folks I fully expected to meet and never got a chance to. William Newton (@wbdnewton) and Amy Miller (@amyvrwc) come to mind. If it seems to those who’ve been following along that I’ve done an inordinate amount of name dropping, it’s because I have. But it isn’t so much to say, “Dig me.” It’s to say “Dig THEM!” Truly, I find myself amazed and encouraged to encounter so many bright, energetic, dedicated people who not only hold the conservative cause dear, but who actively work to advance it. And yes, I count myself lucky to call quite a few of them “friend.”
UPDATE: Funny how things pop into your mind. As I was cleaning my house this afternoon, slowly but surely settling back into regular routine, several people whom I enjoyed meeting at CPAC and whom I’m afraid I’ve neglected to mention popped into my mind: @YR_AlyssaNJ and @JKinLosAngeles for certain. There were @JennyErikson and @TxTrendyChick. Also @AnahitaNemat was lovely. Spoke briefly with @LachlanMarkay and also with @EzraDulis. @MattCover and @FirstTeamTommy, too. And how I failed to include @AprilDGregory and @SElise3 whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting now several times, I’ll never know. Again, I know there are more. As they occur to me, I’ll add them in here. (And don’t be shy about reminding me!) I’m just sorry to have been so remiss.