That Time I Got Picked Up by Secret Service

I can’t hold it in any longer.

You see, I have been bursting at the seams with a fantastic story.  I told myself I wouldn’t get into too much detail on this site when it came to personal things and stories, dating, and such, and therefore figured I wouldn’t write about this one story I have.  But after Christmas and after repeating my story hundreds of times to relatives, friends, and everyone in between, I simply can’t hold it in.

Why shouldn’t I share my best stories on this blog, personal or not?  All I’m hearing is crickets in my mind so I’m taking that as a go.

I’m guessing the title caught your eye so let me answer your question: YES.  It isn’t some weird metaphor, I did in fact get picked up by secret service agents.  Little me, who has never gotten a detention in her whole life, was indeed interrogated by secret service men.

It happened one morning in the midst of a crazy couple of weeks.  I was just sitting in Arabic class as usual, minding my own business and rattling off words in this fascinating language, when they suddenly appeared at the door.  And then just like that, I was escorted away, feeling a little intimidated to say the least.

No, they were not dressed in black suits with sunglasses, contrary to popular belief.

No, they were not dressed in black suits with sunglasses, contrary to popular belief.

How? Why?  Let’s back up a little.  No, A LOT.  There’s a whole lot more to this story, and I’m going to tell you all about it.

It all began election night.  The first Tuesday in November, when the votes were coming in to decide who was going to be our next president.

And here’s typical, liberal me, always advocating LGBT rights and equality, calling for global peace and understanding, against ethnocentrism, thinking progressively, the whole nine yards.  I found my way onto twitter thanks to the procrastination of my math homework, and as you can only imagine, Twitter was a political blood bath.  People going back and forth, from far left to far right, getting a little TOO heated at times.  And I gave in, retweeting things here and there without thinking, fired up by a few ignorant things I saw.  What I SHOULD have been doing was remaining ambivalent, calling for some sanity amid the chaos.  I guess I learned.

Because as I sat there on the couch, retweeting my life away, procrastinating, and expressing my agreement with the results of that election, I was completely unaware that someone, someone I had considered a good friend, and whose beliefs were opposite to mine, was busy channeling all their anger at the night’s events into vicious words.  Words directed at ME specifically, for no reason except politics.

That is in fact the comfy purple couch I was sitting on when the chaos began.

That is in fact the comfy purple couch I was sitting on when the chaos began.

The chaos of the month that was November ensued as I sat there in my dorm, on this couch.

THE TWEETS

A little past midnight on that night, one of my roommates, who happened to be an Alabama local, came charging into the dorm, returning from wherever she had been, probably home with her parents.  I’m not joking when I say charging.  I mean doors flying, feet stomping, pouty face, bleach hair whipping into a frenzy, all while she ran into the dorm, down the hallway, and into the solitude of her room with an over-dramatic door slam.

Oh but you think she was going to stay in there? Nope.  She comes back out, and it’s like a calm AFTER the storm.  No charging involved, just a glass of water.  And I’m just chilling in the same spot, balancing my laptop on my lap as I stare in bewilderment, still confused by the whole situation.  But seeing the lack of charging, I decide to throw her a casual question:  “Have you finished the math homework yet?”

Now it didn’t take a genius to have figured out that both she and her family were both very religious and very conservative, so I knew that she was going to be unhappy with the results of the election.  I had pieced together by then that her angry tirade was a result of that, but I had never expected her to put on that show.

And once again, nothing could’ve prepared me for her answer to this one, simple question.  Correction: It had actually been the calm BEFORE yet another storm: “Weeelll, I’m not even gonna do the math homework, because I’m just going to drop out of college since now there will be no jobs after I graduate!!” . . . And cue the follow-up room dash and second door slam.

WHOA THERE GIRL. RELAX. CHILL OUT. CHILLAX.  All this was going through my head when she pelted me with this.  No way am I going to discuss politics on here, but as far as I can tell one person doesn’t magically pick up a workplace and place it in front of you, nor can they just take it away.  How well one does in school and what they major in usually determines if they’re going to find a well-paying job.  And plus, this girl and her family were plenty rich enough.  They are and will always be a million times better off than a majority of people in the rest of the world, and it bothered me how she never really seemed to appreciate that.

There was also no way I was gonna start a political argument, that’s just something you don’t do with friends.  So all I managed to do in response to this was an under-the-breath, frustrated Ohhhh my goshhh.

Hey look! It's a pretty Alabama sunset!

Hey look! It’s a pretty Alabama sunset!

I went to sleep that night thinking my roommate’s anger would kind of fizzle out and she’d realize she had been acting stupid.  I mean, we had been pretty good friends the past few months and had spent a lot of time together, right? Like a good friend, she’d forget our differences, get over herself, calm down, and maybe apologize, right?  How very wrong I was.  Apparently, she was not the good friend I had thought she was.  And she also thought the world revolved around herself it seemed, as the events of the next week had proved.

I went about my normal class schedule the next day, not really thinking much about the previous night’s excitement.  That is, until I saw an email on my phone saying that my good old roomie had followed me on Twitter.  Which also meant she had unfollowed me the night before.

It didn’t surprise me much.  She had probably seen that string of my political retweets and gotten angry.  But still, I was curious to see if she had let out some of that pent-up anger from the previous night online, so later on I took a look at her tweets.  And they were far worse than I had imagined.  

The first I saw were a bunch of political things she had written, which I had expected.  I had done the same, no big deal.  But then, I saw this:  “I live with an idiot who contributed to my ruined future. Good to know.”

My eyes got huge and my jaw dropped.  Yes, this was the person who had written angry words about me, the someone who I had considered to be a good friend.  More like no good friend.  I had clearly been a horrible judge of character beforehand with this girl.  We might’ve had two other roommates in our dorm room, but there was no doubt in my mind that she was talking about me.

And just to confirm my suspicion, she tweeted yet another wonderful thing: “I can’t believe I live with this.” And with those words, she had A PICTURE she had snapshot-ed of one of my tweets saying how I was satisfied with the results of the election.  Yeah, she was definitely talking about me.  Oh the ridiculousness of it all.

Then, I saw the biggie.  The words she had put online of her own free will that truly set this whole secret service thing in motion.  And I quote this, word for word people, what she said on Twitter:

Roommate:  I’ve always said I wanted to be an assassin..and honestly I am even more enthusiastic about that career path.

Friend of Roommate:  I think you’ll excel in that career path.  You seem ruthless enough lol. . .So. . .just because I’m curious, who would the first target be?

Roommate:  One of my roommates.  Then Obama.  hahahaha

I can see all of the light bulbs going off in your heads.  Ohhhh, this is where the secret service come in!  But hold up, because it was by no means as simple as that.  Believe it or not, it gets even more complicated and even now I’m not exactly sure I know how secret service agents managed to show up, because I never expected it for a moment.

When I saw these words, I didn’t even know what to think.  My mind was racing around in a million different directions and my heartbeat had picked up some speed.  But one thing was clear:  Someone I had called a friend not even 48 hours beforehand had just blatantly said, online, that if she could be an assassin she would kill me, and the president.

How could someone be so hateful? And stupid? Tears of frustration and sadness were stinging my eyes as I processed this, and I couldn’t believe it.

How could someone possibly be full of so much hatred that she wants someone dead simply because they have different beliefs than her?  And not just anyone, but a friend! A friend who had been there for her during our few months of friendship and living together, full of many nights when I carried her drunk ass home, talked through her guy issues, and cleaned up her puke, like any good friend would.  I now saw the true, selfish, self-centered, close-minded person that this girl really was.  And it had not been a pleasant discovery.

The stupidity of the whole situation also blew my mind.  I thought it was common sense that you don’t post things like this, or bomb threats or assassination threats or anything of the kind, online.  Especially if you might be joking.  I’ve heard stories in the news where a kid jokingly says he wants to blow up his school, and federal agents show up at his house the next day.  It’s simply not a joking matter.  Obviously, my roommate had not received this news nor did she realize this tidbit of common sense.

So I just sat there that night, reading through this, tears streaming down my face, hurt in every way except physically.  In my lame form of retaliation, I sat there subtweeting like crazy about the whole situation, and letting all of my frustration and sadness out until late at night when I finally calmed down and went to sleep.  For those who don’t know, subtweeting is when you talk about a person or situation on Twitter without actually mentioning them.  Quite a ridiculous thing, if you ask me.  But hey, I’d been a little overemotional at the time.

And it's another pretty Alabama sunset!

And it’s another pretty Alabama sunset!

THE ENCOUNTERS

I knew I had to take action; I wasn’t going to let this girl, this ex-friend, walk all over me like that.  And I don’t mean telling on her, if that’s what you’re thinking.  I mean settling it diplomatically like the mature adults that we were.

Too bad she wasn’t mature enough.

Yep, she’s one of the most immature girls you may ever meet.  But I didn’t exactly realize this at the time nor think about it prior to confronting her.  I waited until she had come out of her room, and then I walked up to her with all of the confidence and calmness that I could muster.

“Hey, I just want to let you know that what you said on Twitter about me really hurt me.  I don’t think it’s right for friends or anyone to fight over political beliefs, it’s just stupid.  And I don’t think anyone deserves to be told they should die because of it.”  Halfway through and I had been sputtering out, my eyes beginning to water up.  Man do I hate confrontation.

In response, she gave me one of her trademark death glares and pushed by me with a snappy, “I don’t even want to talk to you!” and then proceeded to grab her bag and march out the door.  Diplomacy had failed, indeed.

The whole thing was just getting more frustrating and ridiculous by the moment.  And the worst part: I lived with her.  There was no escape from her immaturity and hostility towards me.  As soon as she ran out the door and I was sure she had left, I went and knocked at my other roommate’s room.  We’ll call her T.

“Hey, can I talk to you about something?” Yes, the reality was that I needed to be able to talk to somebody else about this.  I had texted a couple of my best friends back home about the situation, but I needed to be able to talk to a person, in the flesh.  T was more than happy to talk and came out of her room to see what was up.

I began to tell her the whole story, the one which I am telling you now and which I found myself telling many more times.  When I got to the part about those infamous tweets, and showed her, I couldn’t keep myself together and just broke down crying.  I was getting WAY too emotional those days, if you couldn’t tell.  T comforted me and assured me, like the good friend and criminal justice major that she was, that she would do something about this and wouldn’t let our other roommate be the jerk to me that she was.  

In the end, T decided she would take the tweets to our incredibly nice and cool RA and ask her how to handle the situation.  I absolutely did not want to cause anymore drama, but I agreed that going to the RA was probably the best way to go.  Having to live with this for the rest of the year seemed like a nightmare at this point, one day was terrible enough.

The next couple days went relatively smoothly, if you call me and my roommate avoiding each other like the plague and my being the recipient of many death glares smooth.  But I think managing to survive and just avoiding being yelled at was good enough.

But the relative calmness, despite the tension, didn’t last.  I was out shopping for some suit jackets for my Model UN conference, when I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket.  I looked down to see I had missed a call from some strange number.  I shrugged, figuring it must have just been a wrong number or something, and made my way back to campus via the bus.

I sat down to dinner to hear that familiar buzz of my phone once again.  I looked down to see that same number weird number, and that I had missed two other calls from them.  If they weren’t going to stop calling, I might as well pick up.  “Hello?”

“Hello is this Anne Lewis? We have some University police officers waiting for you at your residence hall.  They need you to go there as soon as possible.”  I could feel my insides all tensing up as I listened to these words, my mouth agape.

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.  Why were the police there? Did they have my roommate too? How had this escalated so quickly?  My mind was jumping to so many different conclusions and my heart was going a mile a minute.  I looked down at my food, still untouched.  I was hungry, no way I was just going to throw it away.  I scarfed it all down within the span of a minute and dashed out the dining hall with my huge shopping bag in tow.

I was assuming the worst:  that a bunch of police officers would all be gathered around, with my roommate and her death glare sitting there, maybe T too, and that it would be just one big shit-show, and I braced myself for this as I walked at a quick pace across campus.  I probably looked kind of ridiculous with that neon green shopping bag and my face set into the stern stare I don’t realize I have when I’m concentrating really hard on something.

When I got back to my room, I was beyond relieved that there were no police officers there, and that my ex-friend/roommate was there, humming to some song while she was getting ready to go out and get drunk like any other Friday night.  This meant she wasn’t with the police, who I assumed were at the office.  Definitely dodged a bullet with that one.

I threw my shopping bag into my room and dashed back out, headed for the office, expecting to find the police who had been waiting for me there.  And I was right: gathered around were a couple of police officers, T, our RA, and a man who introduced himself as the director of the residential community, aka the RA’s boss.  I sat down not sure what to expect, with T mouthing the words “I’m sorry” to me with a pained look on her face as I did.

Now before we go on I’ve got to give the other side of the story, T and the RA’s side, which I did not find out about until after this encounter.  T had told the RA everything and had shown her the tweets, and the RA then went on to say that she would ask her boss how to handle the situation.  The RA showed the tweets to her boss, who then told her that because this was a threat he had no choice but to call the police.  BAD MOVE.

The RA apologized to T as she brought her to the office, repeating over and over again that she hadn’t known her boss would call the police.  And it was as the three of them plus the police sat in the office that they tried calling me multiple times until I finally picked up and eventually joined the group.

The police then proceeded to explain to me that I was a victim and that this was a threat and therefore a domestic violence case, so they had to investigate and make sure I was in no real danger.  They were laying it on pretty thick, huh?  They even had those crazy tweets she had written printed out on full size paper, and were looking them over.

They asked me all sorts of things.  I had to give them the story of course, and then they inquired into my opinions of this roommate of mine and if she was a violent person and if I felt threatened by her in any real way.  I did my best to explain that I did not in any way feel in danger, she was just a really mean person is all, and that I figured it would all just blow over and things would calm down after a little bit.  The last thing I wanted was for them to confront her; I knew for a fact that would just create even more chaos and that she would go from bitch to full on psycho-bitch in retaliation.

Thankfully, the policemen decided that not confronting her was the best way to go.  Yeah, no kidding.  And if anything changed, they informed me I should call right away.

T and I made a beeline to get out of there, so relieved that this had not turned out as bad as we thought it might.  We swore to never speak of what had happened again before re-entering our room, so that our roommate would never find about it.  Sure, I’d still get those stares of pure hatred and would be slightly inconvenienced by all my attempts to avoid them and her, but things could only get better from there.  And hopefully eventually she would calm down and things would return to relative normalcy, minus the fact that I could never be friends with her again.

Oh, but things did get worse.  Try a thousand times worse.

Let me remind you that they did not actually look like the president's men.  I know, not as cool.

Let me remind you that they did not actually look like the president’s men. I know, not as cool.

AND THEN CAME SECRET SERVICE

Remember when me and T swore that we would never talk of what happened again, outside of the solitude of our room when no one else was there?  Well we kept to that promise and never did.

But that didn’t stop our roommate from finding out and going berserk.  This is without a doubt that strangest part, one I couldn’t figure out.  The only people who knew about the police thing at the time were me, T, the RA, RA’s boss, and a couple friends back home who were a thousand miles away.  No one else, or so I thought.

I got a strange text from T one afternoon four days after the police incidence.  She explained how our fourth roommate, one we’ll call J, who also happened to be buddy-buddy with the crazy one, said that one of her band-mates had overheard me and T talking about the police thing.  She wanted to know if it was true.

That was what truly blew my mind.  Unless one of J’s band friends had gone all ninja and had been spying on us or had been crouching in the corner of the police office when we were there, there was absolutely no way he could have overheard anything.

But T told her the true story and nothing but the truth.  Now J was a friend of mine, and she was an all-around nice and funny person.  Unless, of course, she was around the obnoxious roommate.  And remember, they were buddy-buddy, so she went ahead and showed her T’s story.

And in crazy-roommate’s typical fashion, she turned into a raging beast.

From what T was telling me, the room was not the best place to be at the moment with aforementioned raging beast inside, but I had to go back eventually.  I lived there.

But when I did return, I tentatively pushed the door open, bracing myself for the horror inside.  Especially seeing as I had been able to hear her shouting from all the way down the hallway in the building.  And I was greeted with a not-so-pretty picture.

Seated on the floor, at the far end of the dormitory in the doorway of her bedroom, sat the raging beast herself.  Cell phone up to one ear, arms flailing, and eyes looking rather scary with this half-crazed, frantic, and insane look in them as they bulged out of her reddish-orange face, all while she screamed her head off to whoever was on the other line.  Most likely her mother.

You see, she just loved to do this thing where she never tried to talk directly to us, but instead would talk ABOUT us, while we were in hearing distance of course.  Because it was of course necessary for us to hear all of the insults directed our way.  And it was also definitely our fault that she wrote nasty things online and police were inquiring about it. . . yeah okay. . .

And when I stepped into the room to this scene, I was just in time to hear this:  “Yeah, it disgusts me.  THEY are disgusting.”  Whoa.  And what did we do to deserve those words?

No way was I going to stand out and feel the heat so I made a quick dash to my own room, thankfully the closest one.  I shut the door but that didn’t stop me from being able to hear her loud, obnoxious voice.

“This is just awful.  Immoral.  They’re. . .heinous, it’s heinous! Yeah that’s a good word.” But really, what did we do? This girl was blaming everyone except herself for a crime she committed.  That obviously didn’t seem right.  And not to be rude but it kind of seemed like this girl was the “immoral” one. . .

“T is such an awful Christian.  She’s giving Anne and J an awful idea of Christianity.  GOSH.”  Uhh last time I checked T hadn’t been pushing religion at me.  Since when was this about religion anyways?  And as far as I was concerned T had been nothing but a good friend to me.

“They’re just the scum of the Earth.  And they never even tried to talk to me!”  Who were we to deserve being called that? And I had in fact tried to talk to her – that peace talk which she had completely blown off.  Here she was spewing lies and all this crap to her mother, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Now I was the one charging.  I charged out of my room and down the hall with purpose, with her sitting there looking crazier and crazier the closer I got.  I didn’t even care if I was interrupting the conversation with her mother.

“Actually, I did try to talk to you. And you blew me off,”I blurted out, but did my best to stay calm.  She, on the other hand, definitely had the crazy eyes going on, and answered with a string of shouts that was almost incomprehensible, all while she sat there on the floor swinging her arms for emphasis, or so she thought.  It only made her look more ridiculous in my opinion.

“Yeah well you were tweeting about me until 2 in the morning! Look at this..”  She then proceeded to read all of those subtweets in a mocking voice.  Yeah, well, you know, that’s what happens when a girl you considered a friend suddenly starts saying she could kill me given the chance.

“And I never even said I wanted to kill you!”  Uhhh did you read what you wrote, girl?  It was pretty clear.

“And stop looking so sad! I didn’t even do anything to you! I’m the victim here, not you!” I had given up on reasoning at this point and was slowly backing away.  This girl had tunnel vision it seemed; she could only see things her way and that was that.  I did in fact have a sad, hurt look on my face as I moved away from her.  How could I not? I stood there contemplating this angry, self-absorbed person, wondering where it had all gone wrong.  Or how I had not realized her true self before she revealed it in this madness, and how this was someone I had once called a friend.  It was sad.

And then something happened the next morning, extremely coincidental given the timing, right after my roommate had found out about the police encounter.

8:20 am:  I was sound asleep, given that my first class was not until 10 am.  Arabic class.  I had plenty of time until then.  A loud banging sound made its way into my dream, and I drifted in and out of sleep wondering if someone was really banging on our front door or if it was just part of my dream.  Nahhh it’s a dream.  And just like that I drifted back into my heavy sleep.

8:45 am:  I was still rather half-asleep, but my brain was beginning to register that the loud knocking had been at our front door and it was still happening.  It was very real.  When I heard T’s voice as she opened the front door, and then two deeper voices, my brain went on full alert.  I was awake.  Who was at the door? Were the police back? The voices disappeared and I figured whoever had been at the door had taken T with them, so I nestled back in my blankets and tried to appreciate my last fifteen or so minutes of sleep before I really had to wake up, get ready, and process this.

8:55 am:  A blonde head peeked into my room, waking me up.  So much for sleep.  But what was she doing?? I was afraid she was gonna hiss at me or something or blame me for whoever those men were, but she just asked in an exasperated voice if she knew what was going on or if me and T had called the police.  I told her we never called anyone and that I just woke up, so I was clueless, as I was lying there with some major bedhead and looking rather disheveled.  She disappeared as quickly as she had come.

9:05 am:  No use trying to sleep any longer.  I jumped out of bed and prepared to get in the shower.  And it was just as I turned the hot water on that once again, there was a loud knocking at the front door.  I took advantage of jumping in the shower as soon as I heard it, no way was I getting the door! Especially looking like the hobo that I was now.

9:20 am:  My guess was that my roommate had opened the door, and that whoever the men were had taken her with them, because when I jumped out of the shower there was only me and J in the room getting ready for class.

9:50 am:  After wishing J a happy birthday, I ran off to class, expecting it to be a normal day, yet also contemplating the events of that morning.  I tried not to worry too much about it, just go with whatever happened.

10:15 am:  It had not been a normal day like I had hoped.  By now, we had all settled into Arabic class and were getting into the lesson for the day with my hilarious Egyptian professor when it happened.

This is where I bring you back up to speed, to where I started.  Long, complicated story, no?  Told you so.

Yes, a man poked his head into our classroom and beckoned our professor to come out into the hallway.  Everyone in our 8-person class looked around in confusion, but I suddenly felt a feeling of dread creeping up inside of me.  This was about me.  It had to be.  They were looking for me.  “Anne!”  My Egyptian professor beckoned me out into the hallway and the eyes of everyone in my class followed.  I could feel their curious, questioning stares in my back as I went out into the hallway to join these two men and my Arabic teacher.  Yep, this was definitely about me.

Two tall men, dressed in red polos and khakis stood there, holding a paper with a picture of my face and my name on it, plus a whole lot of other papers.  They could have been just anyone or a couple of school faculty.  The only thing that gave away they were federal men were the guns and badges on their belts. 

“Hi, Anne, we’re secret service,” they both held up their badges while saying this to prove it, “You’re not in any trouble, you’re just a witness, and we’d like you to come with us so that we can ask you a few questions.”  I nodded in understanding.  But on the inside, I was kind of freaking out.  Prior to this, I had thought the men at the door had just been more police.  But now, I had discovered that these guys were on a whole new level of law enforcement.  Oh boy.  How and why did secret service decide to get involved in this!?

My Arabic professor wasn’t having any of this though.  “No! You can’t take her, Anne is an angel.  She is a good girl, would never do anything wrong, I swear to it!”  Man do I love her.  Did I mention she was hilarious and awesome?  Because she is.

The secret service men reassured her once again that I was not in any trouble, and then we were off.  I was being escorted by secret service men down the halls of a school building, to who knows where.  I gotta admit it felt pretty cool.  Kinda freaky, but cool.  This was definitely not your typical college experience.

We arrived at their car.  Just a regular car, not some mysterious black van or anything of the type.  They told me to get in the front seat, and when I politely tried to refuse, that I could go in the back, they went on to say, politely, that I should get in the front seat.  Weird.  Must be protocol or something, I figured.

The two men then asked me if I knew why they needed to ask me questions.  Well that was a no-brainer.  This was all about my roommate, obviously.  If it was about something else then I was in for a shocker, but that was not to be the case.

My phone was vibrating and I looked down to see that friends from my Arabic class had already started texting me with questions.  “Dude, what the hell happened?” My answer was going to have to wait though, now was not the time.  I assured them I wasn’t in trouble, and was actually excited to tell them the story in person and see the looks on their faces.

We even had to go pick up J.  As she climbed into the car with me, I gave her a part nervous, part I-swear-I-didn’t-know-this-was-going-to-happen, part I’m-really-sorry-I-know-it’s-your-birthday look.  Yeah, this was definitely going to be an interesting birthday for her, one she probably wouldn’t forget.  She even went so far as to even tell the men that she thought so.  They both tried to make small chat with us as they drove, as if this was just another normal day, which I found rather awkward but I tried to keep it casual.

We were brought to the University Police Department down the road, not DC headquarters or anything like that.  Each of us was herded into our own interrogation room, and I glimpsed T sitting in her own, and the one who wrote the tweets herself sitting in another, crying her eyes out as a man sat opposite to her, asking her questions.

I sat in mine for what seemed like a good hour.  I think it was only about twenty minutes, though it seemed like an hour due to my boredom.  I just sat and twiddled my thumbs, staring at the blank white walls and contemplating life.  I didn’t have my smartphone to entertain me, since they had me leave all of my things outside the interrogation room.  And this wasn’t high-tech or anything: no two-way mirrors like the ones you see on TV shows, just a round table and a few chairs situated in the center of this 5 x 5 foot, very small room.

I could also hear my roommate’s crying and high-pitched baby voice through the walls as she was being interrogated.  “Well when I told her the first thing my mommy said. . .”  My brain zoned out completely.  I didn’t even hear the rest of her conversation with the interrogator, I didn’t want to hear it nor did I want to hear about the lies she told her parents who probably had believed them.  Man was she a spoiled child.  After all that had happened, I could definitely see the spoiled brat.

Finally, two men came into the room.  Both secret service obviously.  One of them was one who had escorted me here, and the other was the guy I had seen with my roommate in the other room.  He looked rather scary to be honest.  He had a cold look in his eyes and set about asking rapid-fire questions as he stared me down.  I was kind of frightened by this guy as I answered all of his questions, and couldn’t find a shred of happiness or good nature in that expression of his.  No wonder my roommate had been sobbing in the other room.  The two guys who had escorted me were a lot nicer, and I was glad that one of them was in the room too.

I was shaky while trying to explain the story in the simplest way possible.  When I got to the part about the tweets, I told him exactly what she had written.  He just looked at me and answered with a bland “What?”  Dude, it was awkward enough saying it the first time, you’re really going to make me say it again?

He asked me all sorts of other weird questions too, about my roommate.  They were trying to determine if she actually was a real threat to the president or anyone, or if she wasn’t.  “Is she associated with any gangs or cults?”  “Is she a member of the KKK? Is anyone in her family?”  “Does she have a gun or use one, that you know of?”  “Does she like other weapons? Knives? Etc?” “Does she have a strange fascination with leather?”  “Does she like to watch a lot of military/violent shows?” Most of these questions seemed kind of ridiculous, and some even kind of funny.  Especially that one about leather.  But their was no laughing and definitely no humor in my interrogator’s face.

Eventually the rapid-fire session ended and they asked me a few more things about my roommate, like about her humor, and just random details.  And then he ended with a “So why are we here exactly?”  You tell me dude! I was wondering the same thing!  I figured it was just to make sure the president wasn’t in any real danger, since that was probably their job. I was still confused myself though, about how news of those tweets had gone from the police up to the secret service, and if it was just coincidence or not that it had happened the day after she had found out about the police.

So on that day, secret service determined that my roommate was not a real assassin.  They made no charges and let her go, although they did confiscate her laptop to look through it.  I found that pretty funny.

The school told her that she had to move out of our dorm, and go to a different residence hall or to an apartment.  That was a relief to hear; no way would I have liked to live with that nightmare and her hostility for the rest of the year.  That would have been torture.

But the sad part was that for some reason, J packed up and went along with her.  They’re buddy-buddy, remember?  But it was still sad to see her go and proceed to mimic our crazy, no-longer-roommate as she acted as if this was the most ridiculous thing ever.  I never even really got to say goodbye to J, a friend who had told me that same day, before she found out that our roommate had gotten kicked out and went with her, that she was going to work this all out and end the immaturity coming from her.

She never got around to it.  J just packed her bags and left with her dear friend, helping her tear our door sign in half and dump the contents of the vacuum all over our carpet.  Luckily, I wasn’t there to witness this moving-out process since I had taken off to Atlanta, but from what I heard from T, it was not fun.  Especially the fact that the mother of the spoiled daughter somehow believed that everything was all of OUR faults.

“I forgive you for all of the trouble you’ve caused,”she had told T.  Yes, because we definitely coerced your daughter into writing the things she did online.  Because that made sense. . .not.  It didn’t surprise me though, since I knew she’d been fed lies from her daughter.  But really though, maybe her daughter should have taken some lessons from her on how to remain calm and not lose it like a maniac.

Before I left Tuscaloosa for Atlanta,  I had even overheard my roommate on the phone with someone explaining to them how “My parents brought a lawyer in and they agreed that Anne and T were just being catty little bitches, that none of it was my fault.” If her lawyer had really said that, then he was stupid.  I think the sheer fact that her parents even went so far as to bring a lawyer in was amusing.  But what she said amazed me – who knows where she was pulling this information from, or how exactly me and T were “catty little bitches”.  But I didn’t even care at that point.  I was leaving, and by the time I came back she would be gone, along with all of her BS.

So there you have it.  My crazy, complicated story of how I somehow ended up with secret service agents.  This is probably the thousandth time I’ve told this story, although definitely the most detailed account, by far.  I think my most enjoyable recount of the story was explaining it to my Arabic class and see to looks on all their faces, including my amazing professor.  It’s now the inside joke of the class, and my teacher and my friends in the class bring it up every so often.

The nightmare is gone from where I live, and two of my other friends magically ended up getting placed into the two empty rooms, for next semester.  A not-so-true friend was taken out of my life, and although it was a bit of a hairy situation and I learned her true nature the hard way, I’m glad it made me realize.  And not only that, but it has given me a fantastic story which is now being brought to you by yours truly!  Telling friends back home that the most exciting thing that happened to me during my first semester was getting picked up by secret service is absolutely priceless.

Everything happens for a reason, no?  In many ways, as stated above, I’m glad that this ordeal happened.  It happened for a reason.

Now, just as long as I don’t have a run-in with federal agents of any kind again I think we’ll be good.  But then again, it would probably leave me with another good story.

Which you would, without a doubt, be hearing about right here on this blog 🙂

Have you ever had a crazy run-in with Secret Service/FBI/Customs?

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5 thoughts on “That Time I Got Picked Up by Secret Service

  1. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Change & Mind-Blowing Epiphanies | Memoirs of an Adventurer

  2. That is a crazy, crazy story! What a shame when friends let politics get in the way, and even more so when they do a complete 180 and make you realize you never knew them in the first place! But at least you have a fantastic story to tell at parties now 🙂

  3. It really is such a shame! Politics should never define a friendship…but unfortunately that’s exactly what happened in this situation haha. The whole 180 was also crazy, but the more I look back on the time I spent with her, the more I realize that I should’ve seen she was like this before the craziness.
    Yes, I definitely have the best party story now because of this, without a doubt! 🙂

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