When the president arrived, 40 minutes later—stepping out of his SUV, smiling, with a little wave—the nerves subsided. The cafe is split into two long halves, and he first turned to visit its opposite half, smiling, shaking hands, shaking more hands.
And then—for the first time in nearly an hour—I could work. I found that I was so accustomed to his voice, how he holds his body, his aura, that ignoring him in person is as easy as ignoring a TV. Easier, in fact. He stops being the president and starts being That Guy Who You See In Tweets, That Guy Who Gives Speeches, That Guy.
That Guy shook exactly half the hands on the other side of the restaurant. He came back to our side. He addressed the five people sitting adjacent to me—who were, indeed, apparently there to talk to him.
That Guy said he would save our whole side of the restaurant for after the meal. But then, next to me, on my other side, he spotted a baby.