23 February 2007

Cheney At The Beach

Not really, but maybe. Who knows; his convoy was heading in the direction of Bondi. I know people have a variety of issues with VP Dick Cheney, to which you can add the one that is burning me up today: Deadeye Dick interfered with my God-given Australian right to go to the beach.

I saw my bus coming when I turned into Oxford Street, but I let it pass because I had to run across the street and buy a stamp for a letter to Aaron Cometbus (so I suppose he's just as much to blame as Cheney). No prob, I figured; this time of day buses to my favourite beach go every 15 minutes (give or take 20 minutes, as is the wont of Sydney's delightful transport system).

So I posted the letter and strolled on to the next stop, just off Oxford Street, where I started reading today's paper. When I'd read the entire paper (the Sydney Morning Herald is no New York Times, but it's got at least a bit more heft than the SF Chronicle), it seemed about time to start wondering why no buses - not even to other destinations - had shown up for almost half an hour, I strolled back over to Oxford Street to have a look.

Just as I got there, about 7 million police officers on motorcycles, in cars, and even in some trucks that looked more like tanks came rolling by. Dozens more cars, an ambulance, and in the midst of it, not one but two Presidential-style limos with American flags on them, separated by a couple Secret Service cars. I figured one of them must have a dummy Cheney in it and the other the real dummy, but I don't know how these things work; anyway, the limos were followed by 7 million more police and assorted vehicles. The motorcade as a whole was so wretchedly excessive: I mean to have to go through all that to take one guy to the beach or a hotel where he was giving a speech or sightseeing makes you think somebody ought to be asking himself either, "Why am I so unpopular?" or "Who the hell do I think I am?" if not both. It reminded me of a scene in the film Being There, in which an even longer and more preposterous Presidential motorcade seemed to make a point (in my mind, possibly pot-addled at the time) of how far American democracy had strayed, nay, mutated from its humble and maybe even heartfelt origins.

Enough of that sentimental whingeing, however; the main point is that I was more than a half hour late getting to the beach! And even after the Bald Buzzard has long since passed by, and the police had started letting cars drive through again, the buses were still being held back? Why? I can only assume that Australian intelligence services have determined that any terrorists longing to lob bombs at visiting dignitaries would of course hop on a Sydney bus for the quickest and most reliable of getaways.

Well, the hell with him, I say; I still got to spend most of my day at the beach, and he had to go around all day being Dick Cheney. I reckon I got by far the better end of the deal.

P.S. In the interest of adding some balance to this account, let it be noted that both Mrs Cheney and his daughter Mary have spoken very highly of the Vice-President, and a local journalist who has met him several times swears the man is witty, charming and personable in real life. All of which may be true, of course, but I fear we might be straying into "Even Hitler had a girlfriend" territory here. Bring back Spiro Agnew, I say! At least the man could make a speech.


Anonymous said...

I'm really starting to hate you for talking about going to the beach so often. The weather here has been much too cold now for longer than I care to remember.

Larry Livermore said...

It has been raining the last couple days and the temperature has dipped as low as 68 (20C). Happy now?

Anonymous said...