ROME, Ga.--The most bizarre part of the day I spent with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene this week was how almost-normal it was.

When I got the invitation to ride along on a bus tour of North Georgia with the controversial congresswoman, I felt like I’d been invited to board the Starship Enterprise —to boldly go to MTG territory, with MTG no less.

I headed up to Rome with a single question to answer for myself — is Greene as unhinged in real life as she appears to be on Twitter, TV, YouTube, and every other platform where she has become the hottest lightning rod anywhere in American politics?

The simple answer is no. During a 15-hour day when she’d invited members of the national and local media to tour her Northwest Georgia district with her, Greene was warm, professional and pleasant, especially as she greeted constituents. Her interactions with the press were another story, but that came later.

I started with the group at Evans Construction, a heavy construction business about five miles outside of Rome. I pulled up to find a gaggle of cameras and reporters surrounding the owner of the business, Kevin Evans, and a smiling Greene, wearing a sleeveless red sheath dress, nude heels, and a hot pink pedicure.

Construction firms in Georgia have almost more work than they can handle in this white hot economy. But Evans said the rising cost of supplies, especially gas, was tough on the business.

“That is so sad,” Greene said with concern, adding with shrugged shoulders and a smile, “But that’s what we get with America Last!”

From Evans Construction, Greene and her entourage headed to Garden Lake Elementary School in Rome for her to cast her vote.

About a dozen supporters greeted her as she drove in. One woman had bedazzled a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap the night before and added a Greene campaign sticker to the front. Another wore a “1776″ t-shirt and told Greene, “I wore this for you.”

Just after Greene voted, she took questions from the media as her supporters fanned out behind her. It was a garden variety press conference until a reporter from an Atlanta TV station asked Greene about a 2017 video in which she spoke about QAnon, saying, “Q is a patriot.”

“Read me the post, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she snapped. “Why don’t you ask me a real question?”

After going back and forth with the reporter, Greene turned to her supporters to get them involved, too.

“Are you guys wanting him to ask me a real question?”

“Yes!” shouted several. “Where’s the integrity?” asked another. “This is America!” another one yelled.

Greene went on. “Bring yourself up to a professional level and ask me a real question.”

Told to move on, the reporter asked about Jewish space lasers, specifically about Greene’s 2018 Facebook post, no longer available online, that “lasers or blue beams of light” from a company owned by the Rothschild family had caused California wildfires.

“Nope! Nope! You don’t even know what my real words are. You’re going off of some fake news article. Ask another real question,” she said. “You are such a liar.”

The two tangled for several more minutes, but Greene seemed like she could have gone on for hours as she used the press conference itself to slam the media, with cameras and recorders capturing it all in real time.

“That’s the problem we have in America, is when Democrat activists use their jobs and their media platform to twist lies about people like me. And you know what? It happens on both sides,” she said. “What do you guys think?”

“We love Marjorie!” they yelled.

With QAnon and space lasers dispensed with, the rest of the day stretched out like any other for a more typical member of Congress.

She visited a denim factory in Trion, “What is more American than blue jeans?!” she asked the manager; greeted sign-waving supporters in LaFayette; dropped in on an RV dealership in Ringgold, and spoke to a four-county GOP meeting down the road.

Greene asked each business owner during the day what they needed from her. “Is there anything I can do once we take control back?” she said.

During a stop at the Harvest Moon Cafe, she asked where the Atlanta TV reporter had gone. She was hoping he would have joined her lunch.

The organic displays of affection for the congresswoman during the day were impossible to miss.

Anita Merciers practically wept when she met Greene at the Parkway RV sales center.

“You are my hero, I swear,” Merciers said as they embraced. Others gave a, “You go girl!” as she walked past.

But anger toward Greene was evident, too.

Alex Boyle, a Navy veteran approached Greene in Lafayette to say she was an embarrassment to their district.

“She’s detached from reality and I seriously question her mental stability,” Boyle, a Republican, said of Greene. Because of her, he said, he had just voted a Democrat for the first time.

Greene ended the day at the GOP county meeting, the sort of place activists and candidates make their pitches to win support ahead of the primaries.

But Greene got standing ovations when she took the stage and when she left. They were all already on her side.

Denise Burns, the GOP chair for the 14th District, said Greene is known as being responsive and respectful, especially to lower-level activists and volunteers.

“What you see on TV is crafted,” Burns said. “What you get when you interact with her is the real person.”

Along the way, Greene also had lunch with the press, held spontaneous press conferences, and rode for an hour in the media van, with cameras rolling and fielded whatever questions came up.

Why did she invite the press, which she’s derided for so long as fake news, to join her for the day? I asked. What was she trying to achieve?

My own theory is that, unlike her last election, Greene has some serious, or at least seriously funded, competition. Five Republicans and three Democrats, some of whom have raised millions of dollars, are running to unseat her in 2022.

Rumblings among some Republicans and plenty of Democrats in the conservative district suggest her tumultuous tenure has not been not universally appreciated.

Greene may also have come to the realization that, after exploding onto the national scene like a fireball of crazy, the only way to have real influence in Washington is to be taken seriously.

It’s okay to be disliked in politics. But it’s not okay to be dangerous. At the moment, she’s viewed on the Hill as the latter.

“I think it’s time for people to get to know me for who I am as a person,” she said. “And everyone seems to look down on my district, which is wrong.”

“So we were excited to bring people along and, hopefully, give you a real story to write. If you’re willing to write it.”