Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Near Sightings"

Prologue: (as they’d say on The Fugitive, only they used the American version: Prolog.)

Years ago, my buddy Cliff and I were aerobically high-footing it along the beach Walking Path near our house (Cliff, at the time, was my neighbor), with me walking on the ocean side, and Cliff beside me, taking the beach side. (That will turn out to be important.)

So I’m yammering away as usual, elaborating on what I’m sure is some earth-shattering insight, when Cliff looks past me at what I imagine, given Cliff’s proclivities, is some hot-looking joggerette. This time, however, I am mistaken.

“Did you see him?” he chirps, all kid-like with excitement.

“Who?” I reply, since the only person I was seeing at that moment was Cliff.

“Reagan!” he exclaims. “He just went by with four Secret Service agents.”

I immediately turn around, and see a mass of people. One of them is apparently the former President of the United States.

My unfortunate positioning had cause me to miss seeing the ex-fortieth-president, ambling along. And the weird thing is: Cliff spotted Reagan on a subsequent beach walk together about a year or so later.

And I missed him that time too!

Moving on…(which I don’t think they said on The Fugitive)

We’re driving back from the spa last weekend, and we stop at the beach town of La Jolla for a spa-cuisine “break fast”, meaning:

We are going to eat meat!

We’re at a restaurant named George’s, which came highly recommended by a guest at the spa. We are seated at a table. Dr. M departs for the Ladies’ Room.

To my delight, facing directly at me is a big screen TV (there are no TV’s in the rooms at the spa), and to my even greater delight, there’s a ballgame playing on it. San Diego versus St. Louis, neither of whom I care about, but the new season had just started, and, having been deprived of baseball all winter, I was ravenous for the game.

Oh, joy of joys! My primary needs are simultaneously being met:

Meat and baseball!

Then, almost as quickly as my excitement has ascended, it immediately crashes down.

It turns out, there’s this high counter-like table located directly between me and the television. And a waitress has just seated a family of three at it. Suddenly and sadly, they are

Blocking the screen!

Returning, Dr. M immediately senses my chagrin. A forlorn head gesture accurately summarizes its source. As is almost always the case, Dr. M instantly offers a solution.

She directs me to another big screen TV facing her (that I hadn’t previously noticed.) If we change places, I will once again be able to enjoy the game.

So that’s what we do. I abandon my seat facing the blocked TV, and exchange it for a seat with an unimpeded view of baseball.

The joy is back!

As we wait to be served, Dr. M notices two men, wearing earpieces attached to coiled wires that disappears beneath their casual beachwear. Past experience informs us that these are Secret Service agents. Meaning that some high, security-needing government official is also lunching at George’s.

A waitress passes, with a funny look on her face. Dr. M intercepts her.

“Who’s here?’ she inquires.

The answer comes back:


Can you believe it? Former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was dining at the same restaurant as we were. And I had a straight-line perfect view of her.

From the seat I had just given up.

A fortunate person may have one fortuitous brush with history. I have been lucky enough to have had three.

But for every one of them, I was facing the other way.


In response to Dave Stieb: There is also a band that play for me at the ocean. I am not sure it's the same musicians, as they are not dressed like mariachis and they not have a Mexican accent. But who knows? They could be a versatile group.

Dave Stieb used to be a great pitcher for the Blue Jays. I wonder if it's the same guy.


disciplev1 said...

I, too, am glad to have baseball back, and wondered the exact same thing about Mr. Stieb.

Mac said...

That's (almost) cool. I once almost saw George W Bush when his entourage sped past me as they left Buckingham Palace. There were two stretched limos with blacked-out windows in the convoy, presumably to confuse anyone with homicidal intent.
My guess is that he was in neither, but was in fact in the ice-cream truck that rolled past ten minutes later. The ultimate anti-terrorist lateral-thinking tactic.
Or maybe he was in one of the limos. I dunno.

joe said...

This Dave Stieb is Mexican.

Max Clarke said...

I saw Jimmy Carter once. He was in his limo, waved in my direction. It was Sunday morning, and he was leaving the White House for church.
I just happened to be in D.C. for work, was jogging by the White House.

Saw Ed Muskie once in Memphis. He gave a passionate speech to union members before the 1972 elections.

Saw the Queen of England once, also. Lived in Newfoundland as a child. We all stood by a road and watched Queen Elizabeth ride by in her Rolls Royce. She wore a white glove and waved.

But I never got to see the Buddha. He's number one on my list. Born at the wrong time, I guess.