Sunday, August 1, 2010

In good hands ...

I am sitting on a plane on my way back to Bermuda. I’ve been missing in action for two weeks now. When I say missing, I didn’t check voice mail messages, I breezed through email and didn’t answer any calls of distress.
I was on vacation.
I want to share the highlights of my trip with you.
My mom’s 65th birthday surprise.
Visiting the birthplace of my maternal grandfather, meeting and getting to know long, lost relatives.
Seeing my husband after a two week absence.
All in good time. I have to share the most pressing of experiences with you. I met the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, quite innocently.
Mark, who is a serious theatre buff wanted to see two or three plays during our rendezvous in the Big Apple (is it still called that?). I protested (the plebeian that I am) and agreed to see one, any one but one.
Mark, in his wisdom, patience and calmness selected the show, I mean, play that would change our view on plays for the foreseeable future. We would go to see David Mamet’s Race, starring Dennis Haysbert and a few others. I know Mark selected this particular play because I think Dennis (yes, we are on a first name basis) is lovely (“are you in good hands?”).
Once Mark arrived in New York, our first stop was to collect the tickets for the Saturday matinee. We studied the seating chart and I asked a question about a box (the tickets were the same price as for the Orchestra.) The seats aren’t as good and you are at an angle.
We fatefully picked 106 C and D. The seats were six row from the front without being right under the actors’ feet, we could see the stage comfortably and it all looked perfect. Tickets purchased we went about our business.
Come Saturday morning we had a number of chores to accomplish before making our way to the stage, as it were. In fact, we walked 700 blocks, or so it felt, to get to the theatre on time. During our errands Mark had collected a bag (reusable, no less) full of stuff. I didn’t get too curious about what was in there, lest he ask me to carry my share of the burden.
After a brief discussion with the ticket checker, I said I was going in search of the comfort facilities so as not to have to disturb my row mates, the cast and crew should the urge suddenly to go to the potty come over me.
Mark insisted I take the bag and check it. I took it downstairs asked about the checking process, learned the cost was exorbitant ($2.00 – surely it is cheaper to hold it on your lap during the play) and took it back upstairs with me.
I made my way to our seats, climbed over the early birds who were in the aisle seats, handed the bag back to Mark and sat down. He looked at me incredulously and ask why I didn’t check the bag. I told him it was too expensive.
- How much?
- Two dollars.
- You are telling me we spent in the region of $250.00 to see this play and you can’t come up with $2.00 so we can be comfortable and unencumbered? Is that what you are saying?
As I tried to think of an appropriate response, a man came to the aisle and said, you have to stand.
Mark, ever the wit, said, “who’s coming, the Queen of England?”
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a woman and man squeezed by us. They were well dressed and polite. Due to the location of the bag between my legs and the base of the chair, the man stood on my toe, but I won’t blame him, after all, I really should have pinked up the two bucks!
Shortly after we resettled and I found a suitable location for our luggage, I turned and noticed the row behind us was almost empty save a few tough looking fellas. As I looked closer I realized they had ear pieces in their ears and were talking into the lapels of their jackets. I roughly jabbed Mark with my elbow and whispered my discovery.
Stunned, I took a closer look at the couple who were ensconced beside Mark. Who were they and why were secret service agents breathing down our neck?
The play started and we didn’t have time to speculate further.
The couple, Mark and I noticed, spoke a foreign language. So the play progressed and the man, leaned over and asked what sequins were. I told him and we kept watching the show.
During intermission, Mark asked the guy where he was from. He said, Israel. Fair enough. I leaned over Mark and said, “we are from Bermuda.” Mark said quite loudly in my ear, “he didn’t ask you where you are from.” I said, but he wanted to know!
So we were chatting, them saying that Dennis Haysbert looked very presidential on stage, apparently, '24' is aired in Israel. We told them about the Allstate commercials he is also famous for and me asking casually when they were leaving, you know being neighborly trying to gather as much information as possible while keeping one eye on the secret service folks, making sure I didn’t destroy any international agreements or eradicate years of peace-keeping between Bermuda and Israel.
Just before the intermission ended, the couple to my immediate left returned and were talking about the Mossad officers behind us. I asked them if they knew who the folks to our right were. They said, yes, the Prime Minister of Israel – she had seen him on the news. I turned to Mark and told him, and just like a bad sitcom, the curtains rose and Mark looked totally shocked and I couldn’t stop laughing!
Mark then turns to the guy, (Mr. Prime Minister) and says, am I safe sitting here? More suppressed laughter from me, tears running down my cheeks at this point because if some Palestinian fundamentalists were to gate crash the party, yours truly and her life partner would become “collateral damage”.
Remember I told the head of state that we were from Bermuda? Don’t know you Bermuda featured briefly in the play. When our tiny island nation was mentioned, our fellow play goer from Israel nudged Mark and said, that’s where you are from.
As the play ended there was a lot of activity around us as the secret service moved into position to allow their charges to move carefully and safely to the exit. Everything went like clockwork as Mark and I made our way outside.
When we reached the front door the true magnitude of who we were sitting beside, hit us. There were about three NYC police cars and almost twice that number of black bullet proof limousines waiting at the curb. I was like, “WOW!!! OH MY GOD!” Mark kept saying, “this is surreal!!!”
We stayed outside for a few minutes, as did half the theatre, to see exactly who warranted the type of security evident inside and outside the playhouse. A few people came up to us, because we were recognized as the couple who sat next to the head of state. We told our side of the story to all and sundry.
Later that evening, the phone in the hotel rang, and guess who it was … no just joking!
We didn’t get any calls but I did tell Mark that he had had a thorough back ground check done by Mossad. They had to know he didn’t have any terrorist leanings in order for be considered safe for the Deputy Prime Minister of Israel to sit beside.
We learned through our research on line (thank God for Google) that the man is in fact Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party and the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak. He was the head of the Israel Defense Force, so in fact, didn’t need the secret agents, he could have taken all comers alone.
I have neglected to mention the drama on stage – the play was excellent and very well done. I loved the back story and would recommend it … as for Dennis Haysbert, this was his first play, on Broadway no less, and he did an outstanding job.
... and yes, with Mossad around, we were in good hands!

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