"Excuse me, are you with the delegation from Samoa?" NSO board member Gerson Nordlinger, in tuxedo, asked of two young men clad in corduroy during intermission at last night's National Symphony Orchestra concert.
"No, we just sat here," one of the men responded awkwardly. Nordlinger assured them he was not trying to boot them out of their seats, it was just that the Samoans were supposed to be sitting there, and he was supposed to escort them to the post-concert party. He wandered back to his seat, still scanning the aisles.
But if the Samoans were not to be found, a gaggle of other congressmen and senators did show up at the Watergate for the NSO party. They reveled in a sumptuous buffet, a guest list that included pianist Maurizio Pollini, and an almost tangible feeling of importance as they mingled with members of important committees and federal arts administrators.
"Why wasn't David Stockman invited?" quipped one guest.
Pollini was applauded as he arrived. "I wonder how fast he can type," joked Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.) of the pianist's fingerwork. "We could use him to open some mail in our office."
"John Napier, Good to see you, sir," said the freshfaced new Republican congressman from South Carolina as he was introduced to Henry Strong.
"Hank is on the Kennedy Center board and the NSO board," said board member Nordlinger.
"Oh!" said Napier. "Double barrel."
Mike Dorf, aide to representative Sidney Yates (D-Ill.) was there dressed sharply in tuxedo. "If I get invited to one more of these," he noted happily, "this tuxedo will be paid off."