When I moved to Ottawa, one of my goals was to meet Jack Layton (leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada) and have my picture taken with him. Why? You know, I'm still not 100% sure. Maybe because I'm from Alberta and the NDP is pretty much the farthest thing from the stereotypical "Alberta" as you can get. Maybe because growing up in Calgary and NOT voting conservative makes me feel a little like an outcast? Regardless, I'm a bit of a socialist, and he kind of embraces some of those values.
My quest for the picture has been pretty well documented on this blog. From the first week here in Ottawa, I was already disappointed that there had been no Layton sightings. Then I went to a day of training and found out that he was likely down the hall the entire time. My boss's husband even works for him, but wasn't able to send me the heads up that he was going to be at a reception that I left 30 minutes too early!
I've seen Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Tony Clement and even the evil Rob Anders (no Stephen Harper...but I'm pretty sure he just lives in a cryogenic chamber attached to his office). Then there was the time I completely missed him when he walked right by because I was too busy looking at his wife and thinking "gee she looks familiar". And the NDP bus that was at Tim Hortons on our way back from the race in Toronto, but there was no way I could do anything but make a run for the bathroom because I had had to pee for about an hour.
So, I was starting to think it would just never happen. And then...
We were headed to the Ottawa vs Calgary game on Tuesday, when who gets on the bus* but Mr. Layton himself. I'm pretty sure I said something like "no way" as he got on and walked on by me to take a seat not far behind me. At that point I really had no idea what to do. Do I go up to him on the bus and talk to him? Do I try to get my picture taken with him right there? (and boy am i glad i decided to bring my camera to the game) I went back and forth in my head between "just let it go...how embarrassing will it be to go up to him and ask for a picture" and "there is NO way you can just let this go". Finally, I said to Jordan "I'm going to have to do it" and handed him my purse and made a move to stand up. To which Jordan replied "what are you going to do? sit in his lap? maybe you should just wait until we get off the bus". And so I waited. And prepared myself for the embarrassment of approaching someone just to get a picture taken with them.
When the bus stopped I kind of figured "well, who cares, I'll just go for it". So I got off the bus, walked up to him and said "Hi, my name is Kristen and I'm pretty sure that for awhile I was the only NDP voter in all of Calgary South West. I'm wondering if I can get my picture taken with you." And, it worked. He was very kind, he took the picture, he gave me his card, and we even chatted it up on the way to the arena.
And so, I can leave Ottawa satisfied:
(and you should have heard how quickly i said "no just me" when one of the guys with him asked if instead of taking the picture, Jordan might like to be in it....sorry about that Jordan)
*and like the proper socialist and environmentally friendly person he is, he actually took the bus. we kept looking for Harper to join in, but figured he was probably taking the hum-vee limo