Tuesday, June 14, 2011

breakfast with mrs obama

this classy health club that i have been guest in has a strong classroom. so i've been going to classes like, in the words of hwubby, suk wah's squeezing every drop out of the lemon. so there i am, this morning, walking into the room, all ready for my third class in the morning. nobody. i ask the front desk, what's going on. they say, she's leaving, people are waiting. who? mrs obama.

let's back up a little. there have been a beehive of activity around the back entrance of the hotel for several days. paving the driveway and then roping it so mrs obama will be the first one to step on it, or her motorcade, to be exact. veggie beds are put in. tomatoes, radishes, carrots are planted. nobody's asking my two cents. but, really, if i were to do it, i would transplant some robust tomato vines. now it's obvious that these teenie, weenie plant-lings have been where they are for what? well, butter up the first lady is a good enough reason, i guess.

by this time of the day i have no intention to go have mrs-obama-sighting. not that i didn't have the thought. i did. this morning hwubby and i arrive to see these cutie cutie secret service guys and gals parking themselves at strategic spots. in place of regular vehicles we see bomb squads, canine trucks, alameda sheriff's car. quite a sight. should i check the scene out? or shouldn't i? i decide, upon consideration, i want to stick to why i am here. to exercise. by the way here's a special shout out to one of the secret service cutie pies. he stops the paratrasit vehicle which we are on at the bottom of the hill when we come in early in the morning. the health club is at the top of the slope. he says politely to the driver, you have to stop here. then he sees hwubby and his cane. he says, are you able to walk up? before hwubby can say anything the secret service guy says, let me check. he goes away, returns after a few moments and says, you can go up. now we can actually say we have special permission from secret service to pass beyond checkpoint.

i digress. where am i? right, there's no class. so i wander outside to the slope leading down to the back entrance. i see some people in work out attire standing behind a yellow rope. most of them have their digital cameras in position. i spot a chef too. i think to myself, gee, doesn't he have to cook. somehow i find myself right at the yellow rope. so i park myself there. just when i begin to get impatient i hear this guy near me saying out loud what mrs obama is wearing, when she arrives, and she's about to leave for san francisco. someone shouts out to the secret service lady nearest to us, when is she coming out? she says, any minute now. sure enough. a few moments later several dark suit guys emerge from the hotel entrance. then a lady figure in white blouse and beige skirt walk briskly out. i don't have my distance glasses on. so i can't say i clearly see her face. i get excited with everybody around me anyway. i wave and call out, hi, mrs obama, good morning. the motorcade moves. i see someone wave in our direction behind the car window when the vehicle swerves around the driveway and we can see the side of it.

i turn around to the guy who is now calling his wife to tell her mrs obama is on her way to san francisco and burst out my burning question, do you know what mrs obama has for breakfast? the guy says, why don't you ask the chef, he's here. boom. so that is why that chef can stand out here to take pics. he's earned it. my eyes search around. i see him not too far to my right. i run up to him and say, what did you make? matt - i spot his name on his chef jacket - proudly says, poached egg with morel, grilled sourdough with asparagus and vinaigrette. so there you have it. i wave and hi mrs obama. and we have breakfast.

all this wonderful adventure happens not because i run after where mrs obama might be. on the contrary i stay focused on what i am doing. how do i learn this? i recall precisely when and how. early in the days when i am living the ashram i am this excitable little child. when word of where my guru is drift into my ear i can't help myself but drop whatever i am doing and run to it. so it is one day she is passing through the big dining room. i squeeze and dig my way through the crowds until i park myself behind a pillar. she is about one round table from me. suddenly i feel a tug from within, from deep in the belly. suddenly i feel my cheeks tingling. suddenly my heart races. i know what these signs point to. i feel like a child caught in something she ought not do. uc-oh, i should have stayed right where i am, i should not have left what i was doing. yeah, i was in the kitchen. that was where i was supposed to do service. so should i leave? should i stay? just about then my guru turns to the swami who is accompanying her. she says something to him. i wonder, what is she saying? i don't have to wonder for another moment longer because the swami looks around the dining room and says in his booming voice, people should go back to what they are doing. without a doubt i am sure i see my guru directly gazing into me as the swami makes clear her instruction. on the dot i turn around, return to the kitchen. i wish i can say i have learned the lesson once and for all. but as i can see for myself i have definitely not forgotten it. it is with me. it arises into my attention when i need it. i just have to listen.

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