Life can be pretty overwhelming sometimes. The daily stresses of family, friends, and being vice-president of the world's most powerful nation can get your head all twisted up. At those moments, you need a special little place that's all yours, a place where you're safe from the rest of the world. Whether it's a treehouse, a backyard tent, or an underground concrete bunker, everybody needs a place to hide away. When I'm feeling blue, I like to run off to my undisclosed location for some quality Cheney time.
When I get to my undisclosed location, nestled somewhere between Oregon and Maine, it's like all my troubles magically disappear. Even before I get inside, as the helicopter flies over the last tree-covered hill, man-made lake, craggy mountain, or expanse of desert, and I can see the razor-wire-covered embankment come over the rise, I take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be okay.
I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my undisclosed location. I think I'd go crazy. When life gets to be too much and you really want to mull things over, it's good to have a place beneath 500 feet of solid rock where you can be alone in Secret Service-protected peace and quiet.
As a father and vice-president, I know that a lot of people depend on me. That can be a lot of pressure, but I'm no good to my family or country if I have a breakdown. That's why my undisclosed location is so important. It helps keep me sane. So when the situation with Iraq gets really bad, or my favorite uncle passes away and I have to come to terms with the cycle of life and death, I just have to go.
When times get tough and I'm feeling low, I just have to be alone in my pressure-sensitive security room with my four most trusted Secret Service agents, far away from everyone and everything, away from all the fighting, stress, and reporters. My heavily guarded subterranean lair is the only place I can truly be me—not Dick Cheney the husband and father, not Dick Cheney the nation's second in command, but plain old Dick Cheney. That's a feeling no one can take away from me.
Besides my guards, only one person knows where I go when I disappear: my chief of staff Lewis Libby. He's the only one with the proper access codes and retinal scans to know how to get to me. And he rarely ever comes to find me when I get sad and hide away, because he knows how important my "bunker time" is to me.
When I disappeared after that U.S. spy plane crashed in China, Lewis came and found me. He told me how it was okay to be afraid, but that you need to stand up to those fears so they don't rule your life forever. He gave me the courage to fly back to Washington on his AH-64A/D Apache helicopter and try my best to find a diplomatic solution.
Lewis even told me about his special place, an old decommissioned Air Force base no one in Washington really goes to anymore. He says he goes there when he needs to think or just be alone. He took me to his spot, and we grew to be better friends. I've thought about going back there, but it's just not right. That's his spot, and I need to respect that. Besides, I wouldn't like it if I found Lewis hanging around my spot. Sometimes, a man needs to be alone in his airtight, self-sustaining shelter.
I really don't know what I'd do without my undisclosed location. It's like a second home for me, a place for me and nobody else. From the first time I was brought there, I knew it was the right nuclear-proof spot for me to clear my head and, if need be, have a good cry. Over time, it's become even more special. From the wood paneling I've had installed over the steel walls to make it more homey, to my relationship with Lieut. Daniel Parizi, who's become more than just a watch commander, I wouldn't trade my undisclosed location for anything in the world.
I've been coming to my undisclosed location less and less lately, probably because I'm getting older. But it's a good feeling to know it's there. In this cold, harsh world, it's nice to have a place you know will be there for you until the end of term.