Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mr. Anderson.

Amber and I took a stroll to the Starbucks a few blocks away from our apartment and afterwards, like clockwork, we dropped by the Barnes and Noble. After twenty or so minutes of quiet book perusing , Amber walked up to me and said, "Seth, I think there are secret service people all around us." I looked up from my biography of Clint Eastwood to see several men wearing suits and all of them had one of those little swirly ear-deals hanging off one of their earlobes.

Now, Amber and I are pretty curious people, and sometimes, when you are surrounded by secret service guys, curiosity is not the best attribute to have. After we had identified each secret service dude like we were bird watchers, we decided to wander upstairs to see if there were any signs about a visiting author or some big political stud, since the Lincoln Center Barnes and Noble is a popular spot to promote new books. But as we rose on the escalator above the bookline of the second floor... nothing going on.

As we turned around to go back downstairs, Amber turned around and said, "Oh crap, there's another one." And of course, like a doofus, I turned around and looked and then tried not to act like I had identified him. In less than 5 minutes, we were public enemy number one.

By this time most folks would cut their losses and leave the store, being trailed by dangerous men and all, but of course, we had to know who the heck all the hubbub was about. So we plunged back into the book section where there was the greatest density of the Agents. It only took a few minutes to figure out who all the security guys were protecting. It was obviously the Arabic dude casually handing books to a servant standing next to him holding a stack of books. Yaaaaawn.

So whoopidie doo. After the disappointment, we decided to stay but because hey, that was a good book I put down for nothing and I wanted to get back into it. But by that time, we had been acting so suspicious that every move we made seemed to elicit a chain reaction of finger-to-the-ear-bud movements from the Agent Smith and his cronies. At one point I almost stopped reading and said, "Listen people. I don't know who this character over here is and I don't care. But me and the wife here would like to read and browse in peace without feeling like we are going to be physically damaged every time we take a sip of our latte. So just chill out with the ear buds and the trailing. Thank you, and welcome to America."

But I didn't, and after a few more minutes we decided to leave. Because if that guy who we didn't recognize had soooooo many bodyguards, that must mean he's got a bunch of people who want him dead. And we didn't really want to be in on that party.

12 comments:

FancyPants said...

I couldn't even reach into my purse for the M&M cookie I had just gotten at Starbucks! I was afraid they would think I was reaching for a weapon and tackle me to the ground!

Chaotic Hammer said...

Sheik Yerbouti?

Kelly said...

Woah! Glad you two got out safe.

The Stan said...

That's a great story!

MamasBoy said...

FP,

I would have reached for the cookie and waited for them to pounce. After you filed a nice police report for being assaulted while reaching for a cooking, I imagine whoever was rich enough to afford a dozen bodyguards would have been willing to settle for a measly $15k or so. Honestly, though, I doubt they would have done anything to you. Their job is to intimidate people like you so you leave the very rich and (self-?)important employer of said bodyguards alone. I doubt the bodyguards were sworn officers with actual authority to arrest anybody.

MB

Adaora A. said...

So true Seth.

It makes me afraid to dig in my bag (lest they think I have some sort of lethal weapon I'm trying to pull out). They're ridiculous.

Jeff McQ said...

Dude, all I can say is I love the way you tell a story.

Bill Hensley said...

Reminds me of a time years ago when I was in Abu Dhabi on business. One afternoon I got back to my hotel and there were armed guards everywhere. We're talking guys in military fatigues carrying M-16s. (That's how the "police" typically dress in the Middle East.) It turns out a couple of high-ranking ministers were meeting in the lobby of the hotel. You could see them sitting together, resplendent in the traditional robes and headdress of a sheik. That much security made me nervous so I just kept right on walking to the elevator with barely a sidelong glance at the spectacle. The hotel had an atrium lobby, so when I got to my floor I stopped to lean over the balcony and get a better view of the scene. I was astonished to see that there were absolutely no guards visible above the lobby level on any of the balconies surrounding the atrium. It made me so nervous to think that they might see me and suddenly realize their vulnerability that I went straight into my room and stayed until evening. It's just hard to be sure of the level of professionalism of the security forces in these countries. I generally tried to give those guys a wide berth.

The Aimful Wanderer said...

Hahaha. The best stuff happens in that B&N. Like the time I say a gypsy and her little white dog sitting the floor near the relationship section sobbing over some letters that were written on crumbling, yellow parchment paper. My theory is that there's actually a mystical portal in the store that literally makes books come to life. If you step through it with the wrong book, watch out. You get dangerous dignitaries and their trained assassins on your tail.

nancy said...

I, too, would have been trying to figure out who was being guarded.

Rob said...

Y'all need to head back to the South where folks keep their guns in the truck.

This Southern Belle said...

Once I overheard a sales associate at Bath & Both Works call me an "LP Risk" (LP=Loss Prevention=Shoplifting), because I was carrying a rather large purse. She stalked me around the store until I paid. She gave me such a complex that, for weeks afterwards, I was sure that sales associates at any store I visited were tailing my every move and couldn't enjoy my shopping experiences.

Sorry that you guys felt so uncomfortable that you had to leave. Aren't you the least bit curious about WHICH high-powered "arabic dude" he was?