Saturday evening, off for a few errands: tea, sunscreen for a trip, groceries for the work week, yeah, better get a bottle of wine just in case on the way back from the ATM. So I take my own pace, in it, but not so much of the Saturday night, more like my Sunday night, no interest in the bars, not going out to dinner. And somehow the vision of Buddhist psychology is very strong. It doesn't need to be detailed, and I don't have the time for it anyway, but I comprehend the suffering beneath the surface, at least on many people, perhaps even most people. Oh, I would know it too, so maybe my sense is keen tonight, looking at my own condition from a better perspective. I see a young couple, a Lincoln Town Car Uber pulling up in front of Ruth's Chris. She's dressed up, in high heels, a short blue dress with a sort of prom frock sloping off the back, and he's neat and in control, and they strike me as largely unconscious, wearing a uniform. He opens the door for her and they slide in. Further up by the newspaper store that once back in the day sat at the corner with newspapers and magazines from around the world where there now is a bank, a woman of advanced middle age, Moroccan perhaps, stands in front of the gimmick neon tube and signage looking wearily down the street which too seems to admit it's past its prime, by the looks of the old Royal Palace next door and the impersonal corporate logos paying the necessary rent along the strip.
I cross Florida and through the double doors of the Rite Aid to grab a shopping basket, the security guard standing, not unfriendly. Sunscreen. I may need a lot of it. Coppertone Spray gets a good review.... 30, 50, 100? How much? Supplement with another kind, just in case? Ahh, here's another one, with a sticker from the Skin Cancer institute. Mom got sunburned last trip, her ankles and the tops of her feet... I'm doing a pretty good job minding my own business, not being part of the rigamarole, no desire for Russia House, nor Veritas, nor Du Coin, and basically will be happy to get home once my shopping is done. No, I'm not going to be goaded out of the house tonight, not be tempted by Facebook invites, but just go at my own pace, I got enough to worry about already...
In the supplement aisle, as I ponder finding Zinc tablets, there is a mighty pretty girl wearing very short white shorts light in fabric, and it appears she looks very healthy in them. She's young, sort of nerdy narrow glasses, a neat sweatshirt top, and like me, she is reading labels, and studying whatever she is looking for. And this is not fire and brimstone lust, just that, well, you want to say some form of hi to her. As stupid and as foolish as that sounds. "Well, just be confident. You know how to talk to people, just be friendly..." I grab the chelated Zinc, pick up a bottle of contact lens solution, let me see what else, than admit my business in this aisle is done, with grocery shopping left. And I walk up past her, "taking your vitamins?" "Yes," she says, in a friendly nonplussed way, and I say, with my momentum, "Good." I run into her at the check out, where Chinese tourists are confusing matters for one cashier, and I have to admit seeing her from the backside in her pretty tight light shorts might indeed make you wish to grab a choice passage from the Marquis de Sade's Philosophy of the Bedroom, but I shrug, this is not a pickup place so much, what can you do... As I leave, she's at the corner, to cross Connecticut, and I'm sort of walking that way anyway, if I were to skip groceries. "Do you live around here," I ask. "Yes," she responds, and the light changes and she kind of hurries on ahead, and in a minute I'm thinking to myself, "Jesus, that may have sounded like a really creepy thing to say." And I end up crossing back over the avenue anyway, as little voices pick at me. Groceries to get anyway. Where would you start anyway, explaining it all, dukkha, deliverance from suffering. One seems too stuck in a world full of stories in the news of nice young ladies being followed home, raped and murdered by troubled outsiders to bridge the gap of being passing strangers, that's just the way it is, anywhere you go, suspicion.
So apparently I haven't been so perfectly Buddhist lately, and admittedly I have slipped with the wine, telling myself, 'ah, it's okay, medicinal, who can blame you--it tastes good, doesn't it?' And so I let my real sense of the misery of Saturday night tucked away carefully after many years of thought and pondering and walking around like Shane MacGowan might, identifying with the bums, the old drunks, the junkies, the homeless on the Old Main Drag, seeing too clearly the deep poetry of the human condition to be caught up in the vain aspects of it, to let fall to the wayside over nice legs and a well-presented shapely bum, a cool pretty 'girl' who seemed like a nice sensitive person. (God, anyway you say it, it comes out objectifying a person, when that hopefully wasn't the intent, the real intent being to cut across the loneliness of life.) I should have gone on to her about my insights into the heart of Saturday night, but too shy.
And I end up having a nice chat with the checkout person of Glen's Market with my vegetables, instant gluten free oatmeal, my meat supplies. She observes the weight of my bags. Yeah, back to work tomorrow. She's worked in craft beer, and when she'll go out, when she gets close to home across the big river will stop somewhere and have a beer and a shot, craving anonymity as she does.
I went home and wrote. And as I did, I had a thought. Maybe my job isn't so bad, not if it lets me see I don't need to be a part of the delusions of going out on the town. Maybe somehow this bartender has found a protective shell necessary for his health.
I go out for a jog after pulling out the old Martin guitar for a therapeutic strum. There's a party or two on the street, the sounds of high social life. When I come back, I twist open the cap of the 2009 Burgundy, 12.5%, and pour a healthy glass in a tumbler and pull the D-28 out again. And after a while I'll fart around doing a bit of yoga as I watch Michael Palin traveling in Brazil from North to South. And I do not read from the old classic from the London Buddhist Lodge, What is Buddhism, as I should. I do not set out clothes for my trip. Oh well, could be worse.
I gather that if people care to, along the lines of work, I am a trustworthy figure. I mean, if you had to be served wine by someone, have it be someone who knows that quality of life the Buddha saw within human psychology. And hopefully toward the end of work, when it's all done, I will have passed on that crucial first glass of wine and just get home safe and not feel the depression, the sense of let down tomorrow.
Time to go in and face the monsters people can be.