Sunday, August 19, 2012

sunday with the obamas

So, two exciting things happened today. First, the Obamas showed up at the church I just recently started attending (read more here). Second, I cooked! Since I suspect you find the former far more interesting than the latter, let's start there? 

A coworker of mine started bringing me to church with her about a month ago, and as of this past Friday, I finally (much to her relief I'm sure) started doing things with other church folk than just her. The church has a really active young adult group, and I went to a Nats game with them, even though I basically knew no one going in. Turned out to be a great night, and I knew that I best show up to church today even though my coworker is currently on vacation, because all my newfound buddies were expecting to see me there. I almost decided not to go at the last minute (all the usual excuses), but bucked up and headed out the door in time to catch the bus. 

As the bus was driving down the street towards the church and the White House, I realized the street was closed at pretty much exactly the spot where the bus would normally drop me off for the service. There were cop cars blocking off about a two block stretch of road, and I saw a car kind of facing the wrong way at a weird angle, so I assumed it was an accident or something. I got off the bus and walked towards the church. When I got to the blocked off stretch of street, there were big crowds of tourists standing around, but some people were walking towards the cop cars, so I followed suit. One of the policemen stopped me and said "wait, where are you going?" and I pointed to the church and said (duh) "to church," and he let me go on. 

When I got closer to church, I realized it wasn't your average blocked street situation. Or your average Sunday. Unless you consider Secret Service agents wanding parishioners to check for weapons in advance of the President's arrival average. My life isn't super exciting, so...I don't. Of course today I planned to go to the pool after church, so I had not only my usual giant purse, but also a tote bag full of sunscreen, a towel, bathing suit, etc, which the agent really appreciated. The guy checked both bags then waved the metal detector thing all over, and let me go in. Naturally the entire congregation was abuzz when I got inside, and even more agents were standing around the inside of the church. 

Once the majority of parishioners got settled in, agents escorted the President and his family in from a side entrance and sat them down in pre-reserved rows. Although a row of regular folk were allowed to sit in front of the family, agents sat in the row behind them. Apparently the Obamas show up to this particular church every so often, so I think a lot of the regulars, and certainly the pastors, were prepared, but some people spent the entire time craning their necks to get a good look at the family. I was a mere five rows behind them, almost directly, so while I tried not to stare, if I wanted to take a peek, it was at least a subtle peek. The family was good sports about shaking hands during the exchanging of the peace and, a few times, if a little kid was passing by the President and stuck his or her hand out. Then, right before the pastors and choir left at the end, the agents escorted the family out. 

I realize this is perhaps a common occurrence in this city, but I honestly never expected to end up in the same place as a President, current or past, and certainly not five church pew rows away from one, and I was pretty excited. I mean just to set foot in the East Wing of the White House, where you will likely never set eyes on the President, you have to submit all your personal info so they can run a background check on you. And here I found myself practically within touching distance (not that I'd ever try), and all I had to do was let someone look in my purse and wave a metal detector around. I really tried to focus on the service, but every few minutes or so, I'd look up, see them a few rows up, and think "THE OBAMAS ARE HERE, THIS IS SO COOL," compose myself, listen for a little longer, and repeat.  

Side note: I can't imagine how tough it must be to have such an ordeal made over attending church. I get up and jump on a bus 20 minute before a service. Their extremely short trip across the White House lawn and one city street requires more coordination than I can even fathom. I go to church and maybe five people recognize me and say hello. They go to church and everyone is whispering and staring the entire time. I don't envy that at all! 

Anyways, after that exciting morning, I went and hung out with friends for a while, then forced myself to head towards the grocery and then the kitchen. I picked up a bunch of corn, cilantro, and a jalepeno at the store, and threw together something akin to this manchego lime corn that I make all the time. I'm going to use the extra cilantro to make some sort of pesto, I think. All this culinary energy! I think we have the Obama excitement to thank. (Kidding, sort of...)

No comments:

Post a Comment