Monday, August 4, 2008

The Final Push

We had some summertime security bachelors over for dinner last night. “Summertime Security Bachelor” is a brand new expression. I coined it myself; go ahead and google it. It refers to a guy who works in the security field and whose family has gone home for the summer.

My favorite dinner parties involve summertime security bachelors. This is because they are so appreciative of food, any food, that they snarf it all down and make you feel like a 5 star chef. Summertime security bachelors don’t know how to cook – they long ago surrendered that domain to their wives, not suspecting that some day these very wives would get on a plane and spend an entire summer away visiting relatives. Also, in this particular case, summertime security bachelors are very, very busy. Perhaps too busy to even call up the local pizza place and put in an order. Because the Olympics start this Friday, and the President of the United States is on his way here, along with hordes of other Very Important People, and this particular group of summertime security bachelors is supposed to make sure that nothing goes wrong and everyone is safe.

So we had chicken and Mexican lasagna and quesadillas and way too much food in general, because over the years I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t make twice as much food as you need, then your husband is likely to invite a few extra bachelors at the last minute.

Then we all sat down to eat, buffet-style in the living room, and the summertime security bachelors began to talk about work. This is my favorite part of the party, because if I’m lucky, I’ll hear some cool anecdotes about my husband’s work once they forget I’m there and they start talking shop. You never know what you’ll hear: once I heard about an agent who accidentally shot another, keystone cops style. Once I heard about a shouting match my husband got into with some senior military official. It’s always good stuff. Last night, they were a bit more circumspect than usual, possibly because our house is wired for sound, or possibly because they’re all just tired.

They were talking about the likelihood of trouble during the Olympics, and by trouble I mean everything from bombs to the unfurling of “Free Tibet” posters. During dinner, I noticed my eldest child was doing what I do: staying really quiet in the hope that he’d hear something cool about bombs, or at least maybe learn a good new swear word (summertime security bachelors occasionally let those fly). I’m sure today he’ll have some questions for me about what he overheard.

Throughout the evening, phones were ringing. My husband’s poor boss never got off the phone for more than about 5 minutes. His phone just rang and rang and rang.

But this, as they noted, is the final push: a month’s work of work crammed into just one week. When you think of the Olympics, you think of all of those athletes, training for weeks, months, years on end so they’ll be ready for a few minutes of competition. But you don’t really think about the behind-the-scenes people who are doing the same thing. Not just the security folks, but everyone who is involved with the Olympics, all pushing themselves so their little piece of the Olympics goes smoothly. The summertime security bachelors have been working non-stop for this. Personally, I think they should all get medals.

But I gave them lasagna instead. And they seemed cool with that.


Jill said... [Reply]

In Israel we always had a bevy of agents at our house for various mealtimes. What fun it must be there right now!

maggie said... [Reply]

I am really enjoying your blog! My husband and I were in Beijing 4 years ago and even then, all anyone talked about was the Olympics. We're following all the cultural and political stuff- it must have been fun to be a fly on the wall for the security bachelor shop talk!

Please. Write your own stuff.