Jordan has been in the news a lot lately, what with King Abdullah II and his air force pounding ISIS like a veal cutlet in revenge for the murder of one of their pilots. As that story developed last week, I remembered that I had a member of the Jordanian royal family in my cellphone's contacts, and while I quickly ruled out using it, it brought back memories of a night that I will share with you, dear Banter members.
It was during my first trip to Washington, DC, to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama. I was just a part-time freelancer for AOL's PoliticsDaily, and was doing everything on my own steam, but my buddy Jeff was the EIC for AOL's Black Voices blog, and he had scored the Rain Man suite at the Marriott Wardman, and agreed to share it with me in exchange for a ride down. As I was going through my hot mess of an archive today, I discovered that I did a little cellphone video tour of the suite, which is kind of hard to make out, but has never been seen before:
It wasn't that blurry or dark in real life, but take my word for it, it was effing nice.
For reasons I'll maybe explain in future columns, I was super well-connected back then, so although I was traveling on the cheap, I also had scored some mid-level inauguration tickets, and pretty much had the run of the various inaugural balls. That was all me, not AOL. So, I left one of the balls to go have a cigarette, and these two super-hot, uber-glamorous girls came up to me and struck up a conversation. One of them was a medical sales rep named Tiffani, and the other was Julia, a journalist from Russia who bounced out of the story shortly after this picture was taken:
Tiffani explained that they were trying to scam their way into an inaugural ball, and I was like, "I'll see what I can do."
Then, she told me we needed to wait for her friend, who is a Jordanian princess. I didn't really believe her about that part, but I also didn't care. She was more fun than she was beautiful, if you can believe that, so I was good with it. Her friend finally came along and introduced herself as "Abir, like the drink."
She, also, was beautiful and glamorous, and much more chill than Tiffani. As it turned out, I had sufficient juice to get us all into several balls, which even surprised me. I felt like a cross between Chuck Norris and the Dos Equis guy.
After all that trouble getting into the balls (there were a ton of them), the girls decided they wanted to hit the town after a couple of hours. Along the way, I let slip how swanky our suite was, and so the girls demanded to see it before we went out. I always had to leave that part of the story out because my girlfriend at the time was convinced I was irresistible to all women, and would naturally have assumed we had a massive pre-game orgy, but trust me, everyone's honor was kept.
Then, shit got real, as they say. Abir's driver pulled up outside the hotel in a Suburban with diplomatic plates, and we headed into town, parking wherever we wanted to because "Diplomatic Immunity," before we settled on a trendy little place on M street called Bodega, or at least it seemed trendy to me. She was just really cool, and it seemed like Tiffani was sort of her Sherpa through the DC night life. In a quiet moment, Abir explained that she was the adopted daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, but that she was loved and honored as the chosen daughter of the king. There was something about the way she said it, a certainty and joy, that really stuck with me.
Tiffani was being fun and loud, and some guy at the back bar tried to start a fight with her, but I managed to save her by making him want to fight me, at which point I saved myself by interviewing him like I was going to do a story on him.
I speak only for myself when I say I drank a decent amount that night, especially after we were joined by a pair of political operatives from Obama's home state. All I remember after that was Abir's driver dropping Tiffani off at her building, then me at the hotel, where I proceeded to regale Jeff with tales of princesses and balls and diplomatic immunity.
I was basically juggling three lives at the time, so after that trip, I spoke with Tiffani and Abir a few times, but lost touch after that. It would have been super-weird to call her up last week and be like "So, what up with those executions?"
As I was going through y archives for this week's column, I also ran across a great clip of my mom kind of owning Jay Carney on Japanese TV. She was being interviewed by a reporter for Fuji TV who showed her a clip of Carney trying to reassure people about their Social Security checks during the government shutdown, and my mom gave a great, zingy critique of spokesman garble:
"Is that a yes?"
Well, it made me lol.