It was about 4:45 p.m., and I was wearing heels. This is important, since it made my entry into Angela and Artemio De La Vega's home on Beverly Drive significantly noisier than it would have been if I had worn, say, a more incognito pair of ballet flats.
The reason for all the clacking is simple. Yesterday afternoon, I received a last-minute invitation to a private reception for Representative/almost-Vice President Paul Ryan. "Should be a great event for you to cover," my friend wrote via email. "Hopefully you can make it." And make it I did, albeit a bit late thanks to the short notice. So imagine my surprise when, post-clomp down the De La Vega entryway, a crowd of wine-sipping suits began to shoot increasingly concerned looks my way.
It took all of 10 seconds, I'd say, for one of Ryan's handlers to grasp my hand and politely guide me toward the outer circles of the gathering. "This is a closed event — no media allowed," he said. Next up, a question: "Did you make a contribution?" he asked, smiling.
I assumed he was referencing the $1,000 suggested donation printed near the bottom of my emailed invitation, and tried not to laugh when I told him that, unfortunately, my journalist's salary had kept me contribution-free. Potentially forever.
He nodded. "Since you have friends here, we can't exactly ask you to leave," he said. Never mind the fact that his eyes were saying, "I'm asking you to leave — now."
But suddenly, the atmosphere shifted. Right beneath my feet, I felt my shoes turn from foe to friend. "I don't want to make a noisy exit," I said, motioning toward my heels, "so I'll just hang around until he's finished talking, if that's all right."
It wasn't all right, but I hung around anyway, just long enough to hear the words "comprehensive energy" and "game-changing health-care policies," and see lots and lots of hand-shaking and introducing.
The moral of the story: If you're thinking about crashing the next under-the-radar Paul Ryan reception, do yourself a favor. Wear heels.