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"A strange thing happened a week or so ago, when I headed off the Island in the early afternoon to go into Seattle. I haven't told many people about it. Quite by chance I met our Vice President outside the port-o-potties down by the ferry. I came hurrying out just as he was walking past and bumped right into him. I apologized, thinking it was a Boeing worker, and then noticed the heavy TV makeup. This had to be somebody! I looked again to discover I'd bumped into Al Gore himself. I didn't recognize him at first because he wasn't dressed in his TV clothes--the brown suit, blue shirt, and yellow tie. No, he was wearing the Boeing outfit--bulky black parka with orange stripes, faded, bad-fitting khaki pants, heavy work boots, and a Sonics cap.Looking around for the secret service guys. I saw they were dressed the same way, and looking very unofficial and cool. I immediately thought: What is Al Gore doing on South Whidbey? But decided to put first things first.I grabbed him by the arm as he walked toward the ferry. Mr. Gore, I said, handing him a clean tissue, You should wipe off some of that makeup if you don't want to be recognized. He said thanks and started dabbing at his face. Then I added, Mr. Gore, you're for the working class, aren't you?Yes, that's right I am, he replied between dabs at his face.I hope you always remember that, I said.I will always remember, he answered, throwing back his shoulders.On the ferry, I had to let go of his arm on the stairs, but grabbed it again at the top and marched right along with him over to a table and slid into the seat next to him. The secret service made a move to extract me, but good old Al waved them away.I seized the opportunity to tell him I thought campaign spending was obscene and I hoped he would do something about it. I cited Mr. Forbes in particular and what great things he could have done for our children with the 45 million dollars he spent massaging his ego. I brought up the subjects of protecting Social Security and Medicare, as well as providing better health care, improving education, and saving our Northwest salmon.At that point, Al signaled to one of the security guys sitting in the booth across the aisle. I thought for sure I would be removed, but Al turned to me and said, Take the card that Mike here is going to give you and keep it completely secret because it has my e-mail address on it. Write to me outlining how you think I can best defeat Bush, Bradley. and McCain.Geez, I felt like a jerk. I didn't know if he was really serious--after all he's got experts all over the place working on his campaign. My opinion couldn't be that important.Maybe this was the time for me to say something nice. I fired off, I've really been struck by how much you and Tipper seem to like each other and how affectionate you are towards each other, I oozed. That's so nice to see, not like some Republicans such as Bob Barr, Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston. I didn't think it wise to mention the Clintons at this point. I wanted to give him some personal advice, but thought better of it. I do think Tipper should play down extolling her husband's sexiness, as she sees it. That isn't what occurs to most women when they look at Al Gore. Tipper may want to jazz up his image, but I think women like seeing Al as the diaper changer, dishwasher, and chef in the white hat at the backyard barbecue. Somehow, Al and Tipper having a big, long, juicy kiss on TV would be really yucky. The ferry docked at Mukilteo, and as I rose to leave, shaking Al's hand, I said, Thank you Mr. Vice President. It has been an honor to be with you. Tipper is really lucky.One of my kids picked me up at the ferry and once in the car I said, You probably wouldn't believe it if I told you I rode over on the ferry with Al Gore and talked to him. He gave me a quizzical look. How was that? Al Gore on South Whidbey?Yeah, that's pretty weird.Around the Senior CenterMONDAY, FEB. 21, CENTER CLOSED FOR PRESIDENT'S DAY!Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 11:45 a.m, join the fun during lunch playing Presidential Trivia. Impress your friends with how much you know.Win prizes.Saturday, March 4, Hurry, for the trip to Fraser Downs Harness Racing at Cloverdale, B.C. with a 3-hour delicious buffet. Only $39. Must make reservation ASAP. Call 321-1600.Spring practice has started and the first baseball trip has been arranged for Sunday afternoon, May 7, against the Orioles. Cost $26 for bus and 200 level seats. These trips fill fast. Bring a sack lunch or eat at the concessions. Call 321-1600.Income Tax assistance continues on Friday mornings at the center, between 9 a.m. and noon. No appointments. Bring paperwork and last year's return. AARP Defensive Driving Classes for Seniors 55 and over will be given Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7 and 8, from noon to 4 p.m. at the center. Attendance both days required. Cost $10, paid at time of sign up at the center.Senior Center Activity ScheduleMonday, Feb. 21, CENTER CLOSED.Tuesday, Feb. 22: 8:45 and 9:45 a.m. tai chi, 10 a.m. Time Together, 11:45 LUNCH AND PRESIDENTIAL TRIVIA, 1 p.m. writing group, 3:30 p.m. hula.Wednesday, Feb. 23: 10 a.m. quilters, 12:30 p.m. computer class, 11:45 a.m. lunch, 3:30 p.m. computer class, 6:30 p.m. BINGO.Thursday, Feb. 24: 9 a.m. Bellevue trip, 9 a.m. yoga, 10 a.m. stretch & strengthen, 10 a.m. arts & crafts, 2 p.m. computer class.Friday, Feb. 25: 9 a.m. tax assistance, 9 a.m. SHIBA by app't., 9 a.m. bridge, 10 a.m. Time Together, 10:45 a.m. Fun Band, 11:45 a.m. lunch."