It is perhaps unprofessional to get weepy on the way to a meeting. I could blame it on the surroundings and my gratitude that they are covered in beach grass and white cedars and not condos and tennis courts. I could blame it on nostalgia. I could also blame it on being a little nervous whenever I meet a new client - especially when I am extremely anxious to work for her due to the first two reasons.
But really, it's the nostalgia that's a problem.
My father spent his whole career working for the federal government. Now while there is much that can be said about the federal government that is unflattering, that is not the point of this entry - and not only because there is apparently some new law which allows it to take my lovely Towers if I am perceived as a threat to said government. The point of this entry is that the National Park Service makes our country a nice place to live. My perception may be a bit skewed and self-centered, since right now it affects me so greatly. The National Seashore has preserved much of the land near my home.
My dad started working for the Park Service when he was in college. His first project was the lettering on some sign in Battery Park. He showed it to me once. He also showed us many many other parks during our childhood. All our vacations were taken via station wagon and plotted from park to park. Today I realized that we probably spent less time in the visitor's centers and more time in headquarters, giving us a sense of the humanity involved in each park. I vividly remember wearing a hard hat at one of the sites that wasn't open yet. I dug my dad and so have a fondness for these places.
They are a little like McDonald's, these headquarters, in that if you are put in one blindfolded, you know that you are in a National Park Service building. I don't know why or how this is. Today I looked around trying to pinpoint it exactly. It's just like time has stopped. Not that they are outdated (they were probably outdated when dad was still alive, so that's part of the mystique), they're just timeless. I happen to know that they are very up to date in many ways, so the 70's facade is - I think - part of the act.
I had mentioned to the woman I am meeting that my dad worked for the Park Service. I told her this in an email after my initial response, in an effort to explain the unreasonable number of exclamation points in my extremely enthusiastic "yes I would love to meet with you!" email. I do not tell her that I will jump through flaming hoops and charge her a quarter of my hourly rate just to see my name and National Park Service appear on the same check.
So I walk in the door and am greeted by a group of employees who are all very nice and helpful. I obviously need help because I am in their building and they do not recognize me. As it turns out, they are also wondering who my dad is - it is a small office and word has gotten around. I hold small hope that someone there knew him or knew of him. Let him please be alive and well in someone's memory.
After the meeting, my mom calls. I tell her all about where I was and she says "Oh! Dad would be SO PLEASED!"
And so I cry.