But it's still a little weird seeing them running around kind of casually. Lama Gape was wearing an undershirt around the center yesterday, and I couldn't help but think that all you had to do was put him in front of ball game with a beer in his hand, and he could pass for any average Joe around here. Except the skirt, of course.
The best thing seems to be taking the lamas out to do errands or shopping, from what I understand. Someone took Rinpoche out Tuesday to get his cell phone charged at the mall. As you can imagine, this caused quite a stir. Chagme Rinpoche most definitely has one-pointedness and focus down pat -- despite all the distractions in the mall, he was just focused on cell phone, cell phone, cell phone, cell phone...pause to look at a baby... cell phone, cell phone, cell phone... Anyway, a group of young girls went by and kind of catcalled at him, winking, but Rinpoche didn't even notice. Cell phone, cell phone, cell phone... He has the kind of business-like focus even The Donald would envy.
Today I'll get to experience the culture shock of Americans running into lamas in public firsthand -- I'm taking Lama Gape to Kinkos to make copies of a sacred text. This should be quite interesting.
Lama Gape is a lovely man, but very serious, and a tough cookie to crack. He is, after all, the disciplinarian for Garchen Rinpoche's students. It's hilarious when Chagme Rinpoche is speaking in Tibetan during a talk, and he makes a joke -- he always looks over at Lama Gape for reaction, the only other person besides the translator who can understand him and appreciate his humor as he says it. But he gets NO response -- Lama Gape's body is there, but his mind has left the building for some meditative plain. Yet Rinpoche keeps looking over at him, and keeps getting absolutely nothing in response.
It's probably one of those things you have to be there to appreciate the humor.