I saw the Oval Office once. I went to the White House, walked around the West Wing after hours with a staffer in one of the outlying buildings, and spent a half hour or so completely geeking out. I saw the Sculpture Garden, the door to the Situation Room and the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River. And most importantly, I got to peek inside the office where the President works. That was fantastic. But today, it’s hard for me to remember exactly what I saw. I remember the massive desk that was presented to the President by a Queen of England for I can’t remember what reason; I saw the sofas and the chairs and the rug and the shape of the famous room. I saw all these things, but since that time, my memory has been corrupted by the hundreds of times I’ve seen the Oval Office in popular media. The West Wing, X2, a dozen dozen films, every one where the President is portrayed. And those memories corrupt my memories of the real thing. I remember being there, I remember seeing the Office and the desk and the Secret Service guard outside, but how can I be sure what I remember and what was only fiction?
The one thing I do remember is that, incongruously, there was a little nightstand outside the Office itself, with a couple of laminated photographs on it of Presidents and their children at play. There was one of Kennedy’s son running around in the Oval Office, and I think another one of them outside on the White House lawn. That’s the only thing I can really say was uniquely mine.
Weird. I don’t know.