Happy Birthday to the Dalai Lama!

Today is the day. The day the tickets for the Dalai Lama’s teaching on The Nature and Practice of Compassion go on sale to the general public at 11:00 am by phone, fax, and in person. I called Drepung Loseling Monastery last week to verify the details: they have 2 phone lines, 1400 sheets of fax paper, accept Visa Debit cards from my bank and don’t expect to sell out on the first day. How could that be? It’s the Dalai effing Lama, fer chrissakes!

Last night, I checked that the phone number is programmed into my cell and house phones and on speed dial. The alarms are set for 10:45 am, to remind me that the phone lines open in 15 minutes, and for 10:55 am to remind me that the phone lines open in 5 minutes. My charge card is on my desk with all the appropriate numbers reprinted in large block printing so that I can see them with my glasses on.

At 10:45 am I have a glass of water on my desk and both the cell and house phones are at standby.

At 10:55 am the alarm on the cell phone goes off and I jump out of my skin and spill my water.

At 11:01 am, water mopped, I press the speed dial for the monastery office on my cell and put it to my left ear. I speed dial the monastery from my home phone and put it on my right ear. Both busy. Hang up cell phone, hang up house phone, speed dial cell phone, redial house phone. Both busy. Hang up cell phone, hang up house phone, speed dial cell phone, redial house phone. Both busy. This continues for 10 minutes. Check the number to make sure its programmed in correctly. It is. Speed dial, redial, busy, hang up, hang up, repeat.

I begin to get anxious. There were only 125 floor seats left. What if someone buys them all? What if I can only get bleacher seating? What if there’s only one ticket left when I call? Speed dial, redial, busy, hang up, hang up, repeat. It began to be manic.

Somewhere in there I realized that I was getting very stressed about all this and I imagined hundreds of people sitting feverishly dialing their phones for the chance to be in the calming, tranquil presence of His Holiness. I imagined the people standing in line at the monastery ticket window being told, “Sorry. Sold out!” and erupting into fisticuffs in the parking lot, tossing infertile, free-range eggs at the window.

Then the phone rang and someone delightfully harried and breathless picked up. “I’m so sorry. The line is bad so please bear with me. It sounds as if someone is eating potato chips over it.”

The universe slowed for me, I took a breath and smiled and hung up the other phone line. “No problem,” I said. “Take your time. Its all cool.”

1 Comment

  1. Angus said,

    July 7, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Wow!! you really, really wanted those tickets dintcha??? I’m glad cuz maybe I could sorta go there with you, y’know, and sit next to you. You DID get 2 tickets didn’t ya? that would be SO much fun. Will they have popcorn and beer? and maybe enlightenment.
    My sister saw his holiness once. He gave a speech at my nephew’s graduation from med school at Emory. She says he is a rivetting speaker.

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: