Sunday, November 04, 2012

I want to lie shipwrecked and comatose...

Today was a good day. I volunteered with New York Cares again, working in a kitchen and serving food to needy seniors in midtown. I'm always in awe at how, even though most of them are homeless, some of them dress up in the best clothes they have when coming to a kitchen on a Sunday; patched dresses and suits with tattered lapels that are threadbare but as neat as possible. They're holding on to their pride and dignity even though life has treated them like a baby treats its diaper. What right do I have to complain about anything?

Many of them are very proud of their age. They want to talk with you and tell you how they're eighty-six or ninety. It's a badge of honor. Some are easy-going, some demand more applesauce, some will tell you their life story in Spanish even if you don't understand it. Like most of us, they just want someone to listen.

The woman I was partnered with in the kitchen wanted to talk about the upcoming election all morning. I don't know, I just don't care right now. It all seems to me to be such a good-cop / bad-cop game. So much is going on I just feel numb to it. It's funny, because I used to argue politics all the time. Priorities change, I guess.

Here comes the rye twist: After I left, a man in a yellow kasaya approached me on my way back to the F train. He handed out a token with an image of Buddha on it and offered me "The gift of peace." He then handed me a little book and asked would I put my name in the book of peace? I said sure. I wrote "Tony" and "NY" for my address. Then he pointed to the last column and said "Donation?" I handed him back the token and apologized for not having any cash (that was a lie, black karmic mark.) "Anything?" he said "Five, ten dollars?" I just shook my head and smiled and he took his token back. Did I wipe out this weekend's good deeds of choice by not doing one for the sake of guilt? Possibly, but as the saying goes, at least when I go to hell, I'll know most of the people there.

I'm going to bed soon. I spent the evening the usual way, playing Civ with the kids and watching Red Dwarf. I'm very proud of Mandy, she has the song almost down pat. Next we'll have to work on the Black Adder theme.


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