After seating at now the third table, way in the back (where it's 'quiet') away from all customers but a no-nonsense diplomat three top finishing a one course meal, as the busboy makes 'an extra hot small cappuccino' the slender woman is insistent upon down to the temperature, as she talks to her friend, an easy-going Mapplethorpe-era gay man who has visited us before pleasantly, having found the quiet she wished away from other customers, she tells him, 'just go with the flow.' She won't even look at me when I come by, as if I too were a great cause of anxiety and disturbance. With her cappuccino, no she doesn't want water, but a Diet Coke. Okay. When I come back she is talking about her relationship with her daughters.
The contradictions one sees waiting on people, observing them up close...
Ahh, Sancho, but some days, and after a long week, I feel like I have failed at everything. What got into me?
Is it the bad habits of my co-workers?
What causes this stagnation?
Sancho, had I known then what I know now, I would have been doing yoga, breathing in through each chakra in every pose attempt, letting the breath of life come hissing in like sea water, filling me through each, filled, like a sea cave, and then the wave allowed back out. Had I known that, I would have been calm before all things, and I would have seen the difference between the false attempt at finding the inner life and the real ones. I would not have been illusioned, I would have been calm, known what to react to, and how. Would I have known.
The inner life, yes, at least one like me deserves some credit in the world, as the people of the world can focus on the outer things. But I have that within.
The great knight errant took a drink of wine after his shift. Then to continue his conversation.
"Sancho, I know, I can look like quite a fool sometimes. This I know. I know reality myself, believe it or not. When I tilt my lance at windmills, thinking they are monstrous giants, I know they are not that, not exactly, nor, I suppose, approximately. Nor in fact, perhaps. But, I know, there is an inner space, and in the inner space, is it not true, true for everyone, that something like a windmill cannot really be a frightening foe?
"I, for instance, have stepped upon an airplane heading, via Charlotte, to New Orleans. The door closed, and I had only slept an hour getting ready... Was I not trapped, the door closing, and I in the rear stomach of the flying snake, held by the hands of some evil magician who took me upon the air as if it were water? And everyone with me seemed to think it was absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, pulling out their laptops or their happy attitudes, playing along, as if to make my frightened misery even worse for the lonely quality to it... How do they see it, as if it were nothing but a bus in the sky, though for me a bus can be a scary enough trip, but at least down to earth....
"I know, Don Sancho, that these things are strange, but they are part of reality, because they are so by speakings from the inside. And to address such thoughts, I believe, is to embrace the old method of Socrates and Aristotle, that by questioning, including, taking in the vast circumferant possibilities, we might find a path, an arrow, a strike, at truth. Is that not the point of literature anyway, to back up, and to broaden the lens, then, having taken in the large landscape with its bogs, its mountains, its fields and forests, its rivers, its sky, its depths, that then we might come in, focussing...
"A school teacher, a good old friend of my retired aunt, speaks of what it's like today. The dreadful literal quality, a completely corporate model... teach to the test, the test, the test... Good God... Who wants to learn like that, under those conditions, the teacher already strained, in a vice, while the administrators who come up with the prison attitude drive away in fancy cars... And he, good man, described it, something like sticking Aristotle's head in the dumpster... Or did he say, the toilet... 'Socratic method? God, what is that?!'
"And Sancho, take the world of the literary, of the agents here in this town, how the inner life of my own windmills and foolish adventures can never even appear on the radar of their selling plan, because, of course, 'books must sell.' Well, 'tis true, they must, but, we must give a chance to the most pointless of heroic books without earthly meaning and only questions and unsatisfying ends, victories of another world. To protect the inner values the creature was once known to have, yes, that is a worthy end, but nowadays it always has to be sold as something, packaged...
"Inner values, they get laughed at more and more. 'Can you make money off of that? Because, obviously, we need money...'
"Alas, Sancho, the great inner art of hospitality, she is lost quite often enough... And the Son of Man hath nowhere to lay his head, security an ever-departing demon, running off to some distant horizon I know not of. Whereas the people who travel around in airports, at the beckon of the Great Sorcerer's laptop biddings seem quite fine with the world they create, to which they retire safely to at night.
"Well, I guess the book I sort of wrote, or is it a sort of book, the principle quality of it, the scaffolding behind its picture, is Quixotic.
"Yes, Sancho, people can lie dormant for years, until finally the thoughts within take shape as if suddenly becoming obvious. Then they sprout. Perhaps kind of like our Savior. What was he doing all those years--yoga I would imagine--and then suddenly he was coming up with all these deep thoughts, and of course people were wondering, where, how, did he come up with this stuff...
"And maybe he would say something like, 'oh, well, I was just writing, you know, whatever came to me... No particular shape, just the obvious truth, though yes, I suppose they are deeper truths than normally considered in daily language usage, the how-are-you-doing and what-can-I-get-you-to-drink sort of thing. You just wake up to the insight that the world is a forum, or that it can be, so try to squeeze a few thoughts in to its large picture wherever you can.