(This post was originally written back in March 2016. Seeing as how the Dalai Lama ended up in the news recently and realizing that with Earth Day coming up, I’m doing my part to recycle. Here is a moderately revamped and hardly reedited version for you, dear readers. I know you don’t want me working too hard to refine what came before and don’t worry, I didn’t.)
Just as a warning, this post might appear to be rather selfish on my part. But as I already checked with myself about the content, I am okay with me going ahead with it anyway. So, at the forefront, I would like to thank myself for being there for me whenever I needed me to consult with myself about important topics. And before I go any further, I would just like to say I’m welcome to me for saying such nice things about myself before I got started with this post. It isn’t very often that I disagree with me, but sometimes I do indeed have conflicts with myself. However, I take pride in myself that I have always been able to handle me with great dignity, showing nothing but respect toward myself. Thank you, me.
Due to the vagaries of my employment, sometimes I am required to go to meetings that I would rather avoid altogether. Perhaps there are those that look forward to work conferences in general, but I don’t consider myself to be a member of that slice of humanity. Nevertheless, as I was gently asked to attend via the subtle coercion tactic of being directly ordered to be there, I concurred that my presence was needed and so I departed posthaste.
Crossing traffic in the lovely city of Madison, WI can be a bear at times. (Ironically, for a city that claims to be so progressive, one cannot move forward in it.) Why they decided to build a city through, around, across, under, and over a lake is beyond me. Lake Mendota is just lovely and darling as far as bodies of water go, but one would never come to that conclusion judging by the voluminous colorful metaphors that I hurl at it every three minutes in my car. I shouldn’t have to come to the realization that my best tactic in getting around in Wisconsin’s capitol city involves purchasing a surplus hovercraft.
Despite this, most of the stoplights were with me as I sojourned through intersection after intersection. I couldn’t believe my good fortune as I whizzed past the plethora of eco-friendly Priuses, struggling to maintain good gas mileage as they were burdened by the weight of hundreds of “Save the Planet” bumper stickers that were meticulously and religiously plastered in layers that were 3 inches thick in some places. (Ah, Madison! Don’t you go changin’ your irony level any time soon!)
But soft! Dame Fortune can turn on you in an instant. Apparently, she changed her mind just as I was crossing State Street because the line of cars decided to stop moving. The stoplights kept changing but we were mostly inert. I’d get a couple of car lengths forward, just to have the light change and get stuck again. Then I spotted some members of the local constabulary in the intersection directing traffic. Perhaps there was an accident. Of course, I selfishly wondered if they could just stop bleeding for just a moment because I’ve got a meeting that I must get to despite my not wanting to go in the first place. Give ‘em some gauze and an aspirin and let’s get moving!
Using my Sherlockian deduction abilities, I noted that the police cars were not using their lights, so an accident was ruled out. Yet I did notice that there were motorcycle officers lined up, getting ready to roll out. Perhaps this was all for a funeral procession, which to my calloused soul would also be time-consuming. (After all, if you’re dead, you don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry, so why blow through traffic lights with a police escort? You’re the main event for the funeral, the service can’t start without you, so you don’t need to make good time.) However, failing to notice a hearse or a casket or a general atmosphere of wailing and mourning as I finally passed by, I then wondered what the entire hubbub was about.
When I finally arrived at the meeting, my boss informed me why there was so much commotion on the trip over. It was revealed that the Dalai Lama was in town, and this is why there was the traffic issue. Ah, it all makes sense now! And of course the Lama would need a police escort because he also had meetings to get to in town. I’m sure if the Lama didn’t make it in time, he’d also get his rear end chewed right out by the people waiting for him, right?
Oh, wait. No, that wouldn’t happen to him. That is what would happen to me, because apparently, I don’t have the kind of pull that comes from being the Dalai Lama. Of course, being the Dalai Lama is rigged because it all depends on who you know. (Hey, I had a good interview, asked the right questions, answered the right answers, and yet I never had a call back from the Lama people once. And don’t get me started on those cardinal wankers when they needed a pope a few years back. Just because I wouldn’t wear those obviously stupid hats…)
But I digress slightly. I know next to nothing about the Dalai Lama aside from his being a big hitter and he isn’t a tipper. I have also watched the movie Kundun only because I was running out of Scorsese movies to watch. (Like so many others, I was very disappointed that DeNiro wasn’t tapped to portray the Dalai Lama. Beyond that, I know nothing about him. The Dalai Lama I mean, as I know all about DeNiro’s work.) But I harbor no ill will towards the Lama and his followers can do whatever they want, but hey, can’t you meet over in Stoughton or McFarland? Perhaps go a couple of blocks up and block those major traffic arteries?
Now I realize that I’m just a bug compared to the status of a world dignitary like the Dalai Lama. (Well, not really, but for the sake of trying to appear humble and contrite, despite secretly reveling in the fact that I am insolent and an arrogant American, I’ll maintain the polite illusion.) However, I will contend that each of us have things in our lives that are important regardless of our social standing or position. What is important for you, might not and probably is not important for me. That is the way life works. Getting to my meeting was far more important to me than it was to the Dalai Lama. And I’m sure his coming to Madison to do whatever he was doing here, probably going to the Echo Tap and Grill, was far more important to him than to me. As our interests are not mutual, there is a disconnect, aside from my love of Caddyshack.
All I know is this, as I don’t believe in reincarnation, I just have one ride in this 1985 Ford LTD Station Wagon called life. The Dalai Lama should understand this and not block lanes of traffic with police escorts and entourages because frankly, my time is limited. Granted, the Lama and I don’t talk as much as we used to so I can understand why he didn’t get my itinerary for work commitments. I just bring this up as a matter of courtesy that he will hopefully reciprocate. My hopes are slim since the last time I talked with him, he just said, “Goonga galunga.”
Beyond the Dalai Lama, I have an overall question regarding supposedly incredible men of faith, beacons of belief that are purportedly incredible sources of inspiration to whatever denomination they head up. Why exactly do they need any protection or police escorts? What does this say about their faith in the end? Did all these holy men see what happened to Jesus and went, “No friggin’ way! Get me a bunch of cops and a bulletproof phone booth that I can drive around in!”
Now I don’t wish violence or harm to come to these folks, but ultimately, why would figureheads of faith try to avoid the ultimate goals of their faith? Doesn’t that make their message ultimately hollow and void? But as I’m just a common American, I don’t have a clue as usual, so I’ll stop. Come to think of it, I have no choice but to stop since these people regularly block traffic.
At the end of the day, I was quite flattered that someone of the Dalai Lama’s stature would take the time to impede my journey to work. I didn’t even think he noticed me and yet he took the time to inconvenience me slightly for 10 minutes or so. I suppose I should be honored, and I suppose I am, but believe me, he didn’t have to go and do all that. I just hope that when he’s reincarnated, he comes back as something a bit speedier because there definitely will be other irate bastards like me stuck in traffic behind him.