Yesterday was a bit surreal:
--We have a U.S. president who seems more willing to trust Russia than to trust our allies of 50 + years. Hearing the news of the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki was just bizarre. I found myself thinking of a classic episode of The Simpsons that has Homer in Cuba saying, "I think we can trust the president of Cuba" as all of their valuables are taken by the government.
--As I went to pick up one of our college friends who was in town, I heard news of an exchange student who was a secret agent. It's enough to make me wonder what year it is. But it's clearly a year that has never existed, if we have double agents making connection with the NRA as our U.S. president has a meeting with the Russian president without anyone else present.
--I'm glad that I'm not a writer of thrillers. How does one compete?
--My college friend had said he wanted to go to an Armenian restaurant, so I had researched a possibility. In the car, he said, "Are there any restaurants from Hungary? I could be wanting some Hungarian goulash." I suggested Old Heidelberg, a German restaurant that has several kinds of goulash. I didn't think we'd actually end up there, but we did.
--My friend loves to order appetizers for the table, but the Germans don't really have the kinds of appetizers he likes to order: no jalapeno poppers, no crab-filled puffy things.
--I had envisioned a lovely night of half price appetizers in downtown Hollywood--but I was also expecting to end up someplace totally different--that's what happens often when we're with this particular friend. But to end up at a German restaurant? I wouldn't have thought that would happen.
--We had a very leisurely meal, and so, it was strange to drive home through the dark streets. At a stop sign, there were several groups of unruly people. At a stop light, a dark-skinned man staggered into the stopped traffic and said, "I want all of these cars." I'm not sure how we caught his eye, but he lurched to us, pounded (lightly) his fist on our car hood, and said, "God bless you." My spouse rolled down his window and said, "Brother, God bless you too." The light changed, and we all drove away.
--It's the kind of scene that could have ended very differently. I'm glad that it ended with blessing. My spouse heard the man say, "Some folks don't see it (or Him?)" as if to say, "You and me, we see it." I heard him say, "Some days, I just don't see it"--as in, some days I feel God's presence, and some days I don't. Regardless, I felt an odd moment of connection with a man who most of us would have perceived as threatening.
--I wanted to go home, cook a meal or cookies, and bring it back--but I know how many ways that could have gone wrong. Instead I said a prayer for us all, out there on strange streets, looking for connections where they may or may not be wise, including our president.