Earlier this month, Tattered Cover Bookstore announced that those purchasing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices had the option to receive a ticket to her signing on June 23. When I saw announcement, I was devastated because I was in Florida the day it was released and wasn’t able to stand in line for mine. I took my plea to Twitter and, being the amazing bookstore they are, Tattered Cover informed me that I could still purchase the book by phone and snag my ticket (I’m sure this option was available to everyone, but it made me feel special).
When I landed in Colorado a few days later, I went directly to the bookstore from the airport and picked up my copy. I should note that I now have two copies of the book because I couldn’t wait to start reading it and bought one in Florida, as well, but I consider it money well spent because I made it to the signing.
On June 23, I was Ready for Hillary. I woke up early and dressed in the clothes I laid out the night before, heading to the store an hour before my scheduled time in order to secure a decent parking space. I killed time reading in my car and then booked it across the street to the bookstore, where I was met with Hillary supporters taking information for their email list. I managed to secure two Ready for Hillary buttons and a bumper sticker and headed inside.
Inside was a bit of a zoo, but Tattered Cover employees were out in force (as well as Secret Service), and I checked my wallet because I was told that we couldn’t hold anything in our hands (presumably to ensure no one threw anything at the event). My wallet would have fit in my waistband, but I didn’t think it was wise to walk around the event with something big and bulky tucked into the back of my pants when Secret Service and local police were crawling all over the place.
A few minutes after I arrived, my number was called for lineup. There were a total of 1000 tickets and I was number 324, so I lined up and went through the security checkpoint. Downstairs was a crowded line buzzing with excitement, but I couldn’t have been in a more perfect spot. I was right by the curtain that she came through and was able to get a good look at her before getting shuffled to the back of the store as the line started moving.
After an hour in line and another half hour of shuffling through the kids section, I made it to the front. We handed our books to the employees and, one by one, shook hands with Secretary Hillary Clinton herself. Most people were saying hello and/or stuttering, but I had been practicing my moment for a week. My plan was to say, “You’re an inspiration for women in public policy, like myself, so thank you,” but instead, I blurted out, “Hi, I will work for you one day.” I know. I can’t believe I said it, either, and apparently neither could Secretary Clinton. She pulled back a little bit with a startled look on her face, then broke into a big smile and said, with a little chuckle, “that is very good to know.” Emphasis on the very.
“Hi, I’ll work for you one day.”
Then, I was shuffled along to the side to pick up my signed book, grabbed my wallet, and headed outside. Outside was the Ready for Hillary bus, as well as a lot of news cameras, canvassers, and some free posters for those of us who had a signed copy. There were protesters, but they were pretty few in number and I was too excited about “my moment” to pay them much attention. After I chitchatted with a woman I knew, I got back into my car and headed straight to my husband’s work to tell his Republican friends about my morning. Being the nice guys that they are, they indulged me, even if they whispered about me behind my back.
So, that’s how I finally met Secretary Hillary Clinton. Who know? Maybe 5 years from now Hillz and I will be laughing about my introduction over martinis and political strategy sessions. Either way, I’m glad I used my two seconds to say something productive and to, presumably, surprise her. After all, my last name is Hiltz, which is pretty darned close to Hillz.