utilware.com - art, productivity, stories, technology
homegetting sh-t donetoo damn tallabout

That time the President saw my bits.

or "Helicopters, hotels, and a poorly timed shower"

The Setup

So one day after some meetings during a trip to Mexico City, I decided to walk back to the hotel. It was a beautiful afternoon, so I chose to forego the taxi and set out on foot. After a few blocks, I came upon a military checkpoint. A little odd, but they took a look at my suit and tie, poked around in my bag, and waived me on.

But then a couple of blocks later, another checkpoint. They, too, let me pass - only to then come across a line of troop transports rumbling into the neighborhood, brimming with soldiers and their weapons.

So when I came across yet another checkpoint, I had to ask what was going on. Come to find out, I had just passed through three rings of increasingly tight security, because the President Obama was in town - and staying at the (aptly enough) El Presidente hotel, next door to mine.

The Hotel

In contrast to the stately El Presidente, my hotel was one of that brood of ultra-hip hotels that started to spring up in the 1990s, each trying to outdo the next with increasingly esoteric lobby music, oversized Philippe Starck knockoffs, and a front desk staff that could - just barely - find it within themselves to look up when you arrived.

And this modern touch, this esoteric sensibility, extended into the hotel rooms themselves - as the architects flipped the rooms around and put the bathroom at the far end ... with the shower up against a floor-to-ceiling window.

A concrete room, with an external window, and a shower head in the ceiling

At first it seemed a bit odd to shower in plain view of the populace, but since the room was far from the ground and overlooked an open space, I quickly learned to get on with my showers and ignore the view.

A view out the window from the shower, with US military helicopters in the distance

Enter the President

Fast-forward a couple of days, and I'm up early for my next round of meetings. By this time I've completely forgotten about the window and the view.

In my pre-coffee early-morning fog, I amble over to the shower, turn it on, and start soaping up - when all of a sudden I heard this deep, resounding "thup, thup, thup, thup" sound outside. Curious to see what it was, I whirl around – only to see three US attack helicopters, Presidential seal on their sides, at perfect eye level and about 100 yards out, pointing directly at my window.

Thup, thup, thup, thup.

And there I stood, buck naked and wet, face-to-face with the President and his men.

Sensing nobody would believe me, I ran into the bedroom and grabbed my phone, grabbing a photo of the last of the helicopters as they peeled away towards Air Force One, ready to take the President back to the USA:

A view out the window from the shower, with a US military helicopter flying nearby

True story.

April, 2009.


» See what else there is is on útilware.com