An Answer to Our Prayers: A Visit to Arnold’s Church!
TAFs Takes You to Arnold's Church in Santa Monica!
Reported By: Brian Pearson
Monday, March 1, 2010
Some people have called me unorthodox. Others have referred to me as a down-right privacy invader. I, however, view myself as a determined individual, willing to do whatever it takes in order to meet my hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger. So sit back, light a stogie, and join me as I recount my attempt to meet Arnold at one the strangest places possible: his church!
Prior to my flight out West, I knew I had some planning to do. The Hollywood Show in Burbank was enough of a reason to justify the trip to my fiancé but in the back of my own mind I was really hoping for only one thing: an Arnold encounter! Having been down this road before, I knew that one place Arnold visits on a regular basis is his church. In fact, I had gone to the church once before hoping to meet him, although he didn’t show up that particular day. So, in an effort to plan ahead, I contacted the church, informed them I would be attending again, and asked if it was OK to wait outside and see if Arnold showed up. A staff member got back to me quickly and, like before, said they had no problem with me coming. I was pretty stoked!
While at the Hollywood Show the day before I was scheduled to make my divine journey, I met Randy, the head of TAFs. I told him what my plan was for the next day and he asked if he could join me. I immediately obliged, as I was traveling alone and was glad to have some company. Plus, it would give me an opportunity to get to know him better and learn more about TAFs.
That evening, all I could think about was the church. The ‘what if’s’ filled my head and I wondered aloud whether Arnold would attend Mass the next day. “What if he doesn’t come because it’s Valentine’s Day?” “What if he doesn’t come because he’s in Dallas at the All-Star game?” What if he does come and I get so nervous that I can’t say anything?” My mind was racing and, ultimately, I gave up on sleeping that night.
The next morning, Randy and I met up early and started out on our 30 minute drive. We discussed all-things-Arnold on the way there and I got to learn a lot more about TAFs. Randy was impressed by my passion for Arnold and my random knowledge of his films. He insisted that I join the staff immediately.
We arrived at the church around 9am, a half-hour before the service was set to start. We secured a parking spot in front of the building and quickly went inside, as I knew Randy would want to look around before the churchgoers began to arrive. I took this time to talk with the volunteers at the front doors who were handing out church newsletters. I told them what we were there for and we chatted for a bit about Arnold. One girl in her mid 20’s commented that he would definitely be there that day, as it was a holiday weekend and he almost always attends church on 3-day weekends. My pulse quickened, I informed Randy of the news, and we went back outside. Then came the hard part: the waiting.
Waiting to meet somewhere you admire is a strange thing. On one hand, it’s no fun because you have to prepare yourself for the possibility of being let down. On the other hand, it’s the best part because the prospect of meeting your hero generates a lot of adrenaline and excitement. Randy and I pondered this quandary as we stood outside.
9:30am rolled around, the service started, and there was no sign of Arnold. I wasn’t surprised. I had been told by church members and church staff that, if he came, Arnold would be about 30 minutes late. Apparently the Governor likes to make a stealthy entrance and not be approached by people until after the service has ended. That meant more waiting for us.
A few minutes after 10am, I began getting a little nervous. There was no sign of the Terminator, but we remained optimistic. Then, about 10:10am, Randy looked at me and said, “Brian, if he’s going to come, it’s going to be in the next minute. I can feel it in the air. And if he doesn’t show up in the next minute, he won’t show up at all’. I glanced at the clock on my iPhone and started the 60 second countdown.
No Arnold. After some brief discussion, we decided to wait around until the Mass ended; just to be sure he wasn’t coming. As the people began pouring out of the Church about 15 minutes later, we both knew we were out of luck. I packed up my camera, my Sharpie marker, and my Terminator 2 poster, all-the-while feeling slightly defeated. Arnold had eluded me again, and I could feel the disappointment coursing through my body. That’s when Randy said, “Well, at least you have a good reason to come back out here and try again another time”. And he was right. I will try again. As I watched the church get smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror, I muttered under my breath the words that Arnold himself has said so many times before: ‘I’ll be back!’
NOTE: To anyone who attempts to re-create my journey, I offer these friendly pointers: Arnold’s church is private property. The staff members and volunteers there are very kind but please remember, this is a church. Be respectful. Should you see Arnold there, wait until after the Mass has ended to approach him. And if a member of the staff asks you to do/not do something, follow their instructions immediately because they canhave you removed from the property. Good luck!
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