Is the Dalai Lama optimistic, she asked,
or just woefully naive
We are sipping green tea at her favourite
teahouse and all I can think
Is how much I want a Grande Macchiato
And how disappointed in me she would be
if she knew...
Well, I counter, wondering if she thinks of me
as being naive or even optimistic
Amused, or maybe bemused, to hear her say
rapidly, no way, not either.
What then? You're a realist, she scoffs...
Do you even believe in the Dalai Lama?
Stung, I am surprised at how I must present,
especially to this one, who I thought knew me
And the me she knows, is quite different from
the me I think of myself as...
The ever-hopeful, even-somewhat-naive-when-
I-should-know-better after all these years
That one—I must be giving off quite a different vibe
I try for lightness, ask her how could anyone not
believe in the Dalai Lama?
Wouldn't that be a little like not believing in Buicks?
She looks at me, clearly perplexed.
Ah, a reference too dated for one as young as this
neophyte...I change it up
Ask her, wouldn't it be a little like not believing in
your iPhone, or American Idol
Now she is looking at me pityingly...oh God...
She tells me patiently she gets it...of course iPhones
exist , so the Dalai Lama must also
But American Idol -- does that still come on?
We both have a good laugh over that...my bad.
Just how cynical do you think I am, I cannot resist
asking her, it seems.
She frowns as if giving my question careful consideration
Then asks me if I really do not intend to ever march
for peace again
Her face is so open, her hope so vivid.
I had forgotten the last time we marched,
how discouraged I was at the low turnout,
and how the bombing in Afghanistan continued unabated,
sending four young men home in flag-draped boxes, that very same day.
I had probably said some pretty harsh things...
And I probably meant them...after all, I'd been marching
for peace and nuclear disarmament for decades
Lots of the time it did feel futile
However, being faced with her hopeful face, and the
prospect of dashing her future
I found myself angry. Angry at myself. How dare I take away
her youthful exuberance and hope?
I do remember, I told her.
A tired old lady's words that shouldn't count
for everything...or anything.
I do think peace is within our grasp but I also believe we
need people like you
Young energetic people who won't give up on the idea,
who keep marching, and agitating, and saying no to war,
voting in better governments, insisting on better everything.
Suddenly she was grinning and caught me mid-sentence
What? I asked her.
There, she said. That's the you I remember. I want her back.
Do you think she's available? And right then, I knew...
She'd just be on hiatus...she's back and she's going nowhere