If you have never been called "Madame Mayor" by Mayor Gavin Newsom, I highly suggest it. That happened to me today.
I spoke with a producer on Wednesday afternoon about doing a story on Foursquare's popularity in San Francisco, and I suggested going along because so far as I know, I'm the only person in the newsroom who actually plays the game. (I may be completely wrong, but I have never heard any one mention it.) They were down with that, so I teamed up with Mike Sugerman, a charismatic TV and radio reporter who sits right across from me.
This morning I found all the places in SF that offer specials or mayoral freebies, and before I could make a list, Sugerman was rushing me out the door.
"We are gonna go get the mayor, let's go."
"Yeah, we gotta hurry, he's at Mojo."
Mayor Newsom was at the public groundbreaking for a new parklet on Divisadero. (Check me out in the last picture of the post I just linked to, posing for the cameraman to my left [your right] as if I belong there.) Since one of the big features of Foursquare are the mayorships you can earn from checking in, Sugerman thought it would be humorous to introduce me, the Mayor of Hamburger Haven on Foursquare, to Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco.
I thought immediately of Beth Spotswood, wished like hell I could beam her over, then grabbed my makeup bag and phone and hit the van. I Twittered where I was going, and Beth replied, "Give him my sluttiest regards," which gave me all sorts of ideas.
Rick, the photographer drove, I sat in the passenger seat, and Sugerman sat on a not-so-secure chair in the back. To put it lightly. We high-tailed it over to Divisadero to Mojo Cafe, where traffic on one side was down to one lane, and dozens of people gathered around the Man with the Hair.
I snapped a photo of the back of the mayor, because I thought that might be as close as we'd get:
It was very thrilling.
We all parked, got out, and I was given an IFB. I was wearing a dress with no belt to speak of, so Sugerman just clipped the thing to a gathering of the skirt's fabric. Rick the photographer saw the danger in this, and suggested I attach the pack to my boot. I did so, ran the cord up my dress and clipped on the mic. I had done that before, but never in preparation to meet the mayor. Like I said, thrilling.
It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day out--sunny and 70--and so I stood in the street waiting to meet Gavin.
"Hamburger Haven, right?" Sugerman was confirming my mayorship on Foursquare. That is when it sunk in that I would meet Mayor Newsom and be introduced as the head of hamburgers. Momentarily considered backing out.
Everybody and their mama has to talk at these groundbreaking things. Even a four year old got a nod for helping pick the type of trees. While we waited for them to finish, Rick kept pushing me closer and closer to Gavin, whose aura was radiating. He was striking poses for the many, many cameras, and waving at cute girls in tank tops hanging out of bay windows to get a look. He was owning that little parklet with his charisma.
"Stand right behind him and look stoic." Rick was directing me. "Now look this way, and hold it."
Soon he had gotten that footage and I set to taking photos with my phone. I kept clicking away, Gavin always turning his head away at the last second when the photographer said, "Do that again."
So I took another photo of Gavin. He let me finish then looked at me and said, "No, go stand behind him again."
I laughed loudly at thinking he wanted footage of my taking a photo of the mayor, which was laughter that came when the speaker was asking everyone to thank someone for something, and so everyone turned to see who thought that was so funny. Including Newsom. He turned right around and looked at the girl who guffawed.
Soon enough the speeches were through, and right away Sugerman got Newsom's attention.
"Mayor Newsom, I would like to introduce you to Brittney Gilbert, the Mayor of Hamburger Haven."
This was actually happening. I was just introduced to this man as the mayor of Hamburger Haven.
He smiled broadly, probably glad he wasn't getting blindsided by political reporter questions, and said, "Madame Mayor, it's an honor."
He totally played along. He asked me how long it took to become mayor, and how I so quickly won the seat. I told him I had a strong platform of hamburgers and fries, and he said, "Nothing else? No milkshakes?"
It was kind of awesome.
Then he asked me when the next election was, and I told him that by staying on message I had already fought off plenty of contenders. He laughed and shook my hand and was very funny and gracious, with a little smarm thrown in for good measure.
You gotta see the man's hair up close. I bet he has stock in LA Looks.
I parted from him before realizing I had failed to send him Beth's regards, and totally regretted it. I was under the spell of the 'do.
After that we took off to Hamburger Haven where we taped an interview with me over someone's half-full dirty breakfast plates. Mike Sugerman pretended to be my bodyguard and announced me as Mayor to the entire diner.
Beat sitting at the desk all day.
[Cropped photo from Streetsblog