I learned Friday evening that one of the perils of making fun of people in public is that sometimes you encounter those individuals in real life. And sometimes they confess their epic photobomb was an "accident."
A month or so ago, I saw a hilariously awkward photo of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in my Facebook feed. I had a bit of fun with it in this column space.
Pelosi gamely responded on Twitter within an hour: "Oops ." It impressed me that whomever handles her account played along with the nonsense, and that I did not catch any hell from her office.
But I wasn't prepared for actually meeting Pelosi not long after the post. But there she was at the Google/Netflix party, having a good time with a remarkably small entourage.
I turned to my cool Capitol Hill veteran reporter friend and joked about the Pelosi photobomb. My friend decided to introduce us. I cover politics for Roll Call, so I frequently spend more time on the campaign trail than under the dome.
The awe of officeholders has mostly worn off in the years I've covered congressional politics. But Pelosi is so consequential to everything I report in House race politics, so I was a little nervous.
My friend and I elbowed our way to her. My friend didn't stop at, "Abby Livingston, she works at Roll Call."
"Abby writes about you a lot," she continued. "Remember the photobomb?"
There was a moment of her processing exactly who was standing in front of her. I felt complete and total terror.
Then she laughed. It wasn't one of those "well-aren't-you-just-so-cute-you-jerk" ha-has.
No, the most powerful woman in American history blurted out one of those amazing laughs where the person is so consumed with amusement they have to gasp for air.
"It was an accident!" she exclaimed.
Then she introduced me to her granddaughter. And she kept laughing.
The House Democratic leader might be the Republican Boogey woman , and she might strike fear in the hearts of Democrats in her own caucus. But love her or hate her, Nancy Pelosi gets the joke.