Dodging past the dogs and tourists and Americano drinkers on a crowded Saturday sidewalk I am looking like the rest. It’s a sunny kind of day with high clouds and breezes blowing the dresses around on their outdoor racks. I’m on the street with a sanguine smile pretending not be annoyed. Pretending I could buy a dress or some other flowered thing the girls are hocking. But really I’m craving everything–but won’t buy anything.
It’s been a hungry kind of week.
I am silencing the voice that wants cheese and chocolate and wine, money and dancing, him and the house and the car with its rag top in the driveway. I am telling myself regularly that hunger is good, that walking away from what we thought we needed teaches us true value. What is the cost of nothing? Everything.
I am thinking of how much water it takes to grow entire parts of the country in corn and the effects on bees and trees and people of all that mad corn. I am imagining the kids in the factories with the locks on the outside of the doors as I breeze past the ten dollar racks knowing everything there costs so much more–more than I’ll ever really see. I am pondering the effects of a violent society and how it silences the voices of those we really need to hear. I am feeling like a martyr to my mind.
The five year old girl walks by with her light blue tutu. The breeze blows its ruffles. She smiles up at her dad.
Two old guys flying a cardboard sign take the Chai I ordered which doesn’t begin to cover my thirst or hunger, “The system sucks. It’s their way or the highway. There’s no place for an old bastard like me. Yea, I’ll take the Chai. You didn’t spit in it did you? It don’t matter. You’re cute anyway.”
Drinking red wine, “$2.99 a glass-it’s a blend” says Cisco as he seats me at the diner. How many guys trimmed the vines, picked the grapes? It’s a riddle. The girl with the brown bus tub full to bending with dirty, heavy plates carrying remnants of fish and burgers and mustard, glasses and nasty napkins waits as person after person walks slowly past trapping her between tables. Her shoulders shake, her arms are pressed into her ribcage. She is holding on hard. No one looks at her face.
Every place is crowded. This one too. I know they wish I’d leave rather than take a table typing. But I’m not. I don’t know why. I think I’m afraid of being alone with my head full of old cheese and ghosts of cars I don’t drive anymore.
The girl next to me is wearing Tom’s shoes. Is that because she thinks she’s doing a good thing, putting feet on a kid a continent away or because they were trendy some year or other. Does it matter? Maybe to her, or Tom or some kid wearing shoes. I don’t know if it’s real or marketing.
I don’t know if I’m real or self promotion.
It’s said that one night Mara sat with The Buddha all night showing the horrors of the world, the worst of Buddhas mind and imagination and still he only had kindness. This is one of the many ways I know I am not him–I see these post modern pests of thoughtlessness and annoyances with a loathing eye. Of course it is me I see. We are all just Narcissus.
I am packing up my laptop with a sanguine smile hiding my cravings, loathing and angers.
It has been a hungry week.