No matter how much I, you, we disagree with certain legislators, we — activists, lobbyists, policy people — still must work together with them. Where we work with them is in the General Assembly Building, where relationships are built that every now and then trump philosophy. We share the GAB — delegates, senators, staff, security, lobbyists, media, activists, visitors, you name it. Everyone is cordial and we all get along (see GAB elevator post here). Delegate so-and-so may have trashed one of our priority bills last week, yet you see him in the hallway and you can still share a friendly conversation about last night's State U basketball game. Except for Thursday. There are six primary elevators in the GAB and most minutes of that day that's not enough. You're trying to get to the 8th floor to catch Delegate so-and-so again and they are all full. You finally get one and people are stopping on each floor. At the witching hour when the four caucuses begin, forget about it. Still, everyone keeps their anxieties in check and is friendly. But Thursday, a senator who is hostile to our agenda was rushing to make an elevator I was on. I quickly hit the open door button and saved this senator a wait this senator obviously didn't want. The senator thanked me and I said, "You're welcome." Then, trying to really break the ice and establish something more than an across-the-committe-room-dais-rapport with his person, and with a smile as big as the Chesapeake, I made a joke as old as Jamestown.
"I hope you'll remember this the next time one of our bills is in front of your committee."
The senator's reply was a crass, "My, you're all gracious." Wow! That's what I get for trying to be nice, charming and witty. Oh, well. Turn the other cheek and remember, they're not all that way. Next time, I'll still hold the elevator for this senator. But I've learned to hold the jokes with this senator as well.