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:7,, 1/0 the ay Lain Cheap, rth`; Sky Celeb rate ae Tov’T”ria thinking like those people :otirl,,On Health . aployee faits at the sight r. own blood during a choler ,g a coninaotion.During.i!, Hate, which takes place , a wet, gray Sati .n i f it d o ay, the oi t l o e of the d “tol Police walks m . guide Tre;:uar./1:13,,:lv ersao.::tha 11\\iv iislhdh i drips i a p d s against r i e j s s a t cr t io l i a e rt b o o l y il bay tr te e l am tell me again s . outside. a ho\\v is ec ” thing to protect h tfending our ;dernocraey, ing me feel very strange, like a ghost guide forlornly reciting facts:.. :. empty room. s. And my joke, my one good laugh? ear. the end of the tour, in the Open . An Rotunda, I pull this beauty off the my head: -Once they la Rattlesake Round-Up . .poltsc. ,,Ff *::t heir all entu hank you,” he says, and walks back to the p locked inside ””ernight with the ghosts of importantTexans past. Imagine Audie Murphy staring over at you from his gilded frame all night, as you huddle on the Victorian-replica carpeting eating the Hershey’s kisses that you’ve noticed one sweet-toothed Senator keeps underneath his desk at all times. Eek. DAY 4 My head is swimming with Texana..My feet hurt from following so many tour’s; I still don’t have the perfect joke; the one good laugh. I huddle in the break room, watching the Senate pro ceedings on television.Why is mariachi triusia, echoing through the entire. ,building? Why is there a character dressed in a buckskin outfit down on the Senate floor? By now I have realized that I work in a zoo..Scanning the list of Capitol events for the month of March, one finds: the Samtiel Clemens High School .Band, DAY 5 Training is over! I receive my tie, I am now a real, bona-fide, bow-tied, Kentucky-fried guide. Turning the hated neckwear over in my hands, I feel like one of the great Texas martyrs. DAY 6 Time for me to , go it alone for the first time! My palms sweat as I fumble with the little wooden blocks announcing the Next Public Tour. “Welcome to the Capitol! Anybody visiting from out of town?” I shout bravely to an audience of mildly interested tourists and senior citizens. I force a smile, but behind my bow-tie, there’s a big lump in my throat. Will I remember everything I have to tell them? To my relief, information begins spilling effortlessly from my mouth “The Capitol was constructed from 1882 to 1888 with an exterior of Texas Sunset Red Granite quarried from Marble Falls and a interior of Texas limestone quarried from what’s now Oak Hill…” And so the tour progresses. I never stumble badly, though there are moments when the audiences’ eyes seem to glaze over, mak and in Insi alive, Consti tt Senators a come here God, they Laws are being .propasecl, every ‘day \(for 140 days start piaci Tuesday in January every ola tar on the odd-numbered years…. 6h, sorry! . Some people are surprised to` learn , that the public viewing galleries are always open to everyone, that they can always come watch their lawmakers at work. “Really?” they ask. “Free of charge?” One of the big pleasures of the -. job is telling them yes. After all, this is a public building, our building, and an impressive one, at that. If I can make it a little more accessible to people ;-enconrage them to participate iii their government,’ well then, I guess that takes some of the sting out of the bow Ttie. In addition to beim a proud member of the Order of the Bowtic y ShadiN is art AtiStin writer and filmmaker to learn a come Nvith’ -as. \( M ussed icy 3/30/01 THE TEXAS OBSERVER