Friday, September 27, 2013

The Transcendental Nomads of O'Hare International

All these people hitting the gate out of breath. To think I used to plan to arrive twenty minutes before takeoff. There's a kind of crazy hubris in that, but so too is there hubris in expecting any of our plans are going to work out.

These days I get to the airport way early, and look at me now. My noon flight got cancelled, and I've been bumped to a four o'clock. At least United gave me a seven-dollar voucher. That almost paid for my salad. There are definite perks to flying the friendly skies.

But complaining is dumb. 

Earlier today I was reading on gratitude, and this is what Bro. David Steindl-Rast had to say:

If we really had to choose between dependence and independence, we would be in trouble. The choice is actually between alienation and interdependence.

And I have to say, my fellow passengers seem to get it. Sure, we all tried to out hustle one another to get to customer service after they cancelled our flight, but there was no cutting as the line formed, and no one pitched a fit at the counter, and now hours later, we greet each other again and again as we travel from gate to gate, our hopes for standby passage low, our shoulders rolling forward as the day wears on and our bags become a burden. We exchange frustrated looks and pessimistic remarks, but it's obvious we're in this together, like some nomadic tribe following the migratory patterns of the great metallic bird on which our way of life depends. If we had to do this for the rest of our lives, we'd be a family before long, dividing up tasks, selecting leaders, falling in and out of love.

The Dalai Lama once tweeted, "The many factors which divide us are actually much more superficial than those we share."  The truth of this would be so obvious if only we could see what's really going on around us, but most of the time we don't. What we see instead are the projections of the mind, that great purveyor of the atomistic illusion. 

Of course I would have rather made my flight, but it's been a good day. There have been babies to wave at, and the light coming through the glass ceiling has been gorgeous, and I've not once felt alone, even though my itenerary says I'm a party of one. 

And maybe best of all, that feeling of presence, solidarity, and kinship has allowed me to build from the rubble of my expectations something I can turn around to share with you. 

Plus my salad was fucking delicious. 

G, who never met a stranger.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

How to Build Shit

I've been thinking a lot lately about making things. I picture an open garage, maybe in Southern California, and I'd have all kinds of tools in there and scraps of stuff I'd salvaged from the ocean or maybe just the regular trash, and I don't know exactly what I'd build but probably it would be robots. Mostly I'd like to build robots that don't do anything except love you in an unconditional way, and I'd put them around our house so when people came over to hang out and drink wine, they'd be super impressed. I once wrote a poem about making robots, and this is how it goes:

How to Build a Robot

First, you need to get a big heart.
I recommend an elephant or a whale.
The bigger the heart the better.

Next come the arms.
Travel the world to find the arms.
If you see many things,
They'll become a part of you,
And that will go into your robot.

Next come the the legs.
You want very sturdy legs
So your robot can walk without you
And do all the things it is supposed to do.

You can give your robot a tail
If you want to.
Personally I always do.
I find it adds a touch of whimsy
And helps to keep expectations in check.

Now you know everything
You need to know about building a robot.
I hope you'll enjoy
The process of making yours. 

The way I see it, the biggest problem would be trying to get the veins and arteries to link up with the circuits and the pistons and also the gears. I like my robots to be more man than machine--if you know what I'm saying.   

Another thing I'd probably do in my garage would be pictures of Jesus. I'd like to do one where he looks like I see him when I put my hat over my face and try to take a nap. I see a close up of his face so you can only see one eye, half his nose, and part of his beard. A series of these could be pretty freaking sweet. 

Now that I'm thinking about it, there are probably all kinds of things I could make in my workshop, but before I can get this plan in motion, I have to wait for G to wake up from her nap. She's in the back of the car, and she's out cold. 

This is us at Venice Beach. Peace y'all.


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