Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Checked Out; Playing Now

 Boys of Summer - by Ronzo Weideman
I dipped my feet in the blue pool at my hostel. Next to me, a lady in her mid 60's is doing the same thing. On the recliner is my book. I've read half of it. It's hot here. 80F / 27C. The local dog, a small pug, stays with me - asking to be petted. I left home, again. I had to.

For 8 months now, I've been wanting to leave East Los Angeles, where I was born and raised (unlike Bel Air). 8 months ago, I was in Stockholm, meeting new friends - and partying it up. People were lovely there.

After 8 months though, I just needed a break, especially after working through and solving my last case. In the words of Louis Brandeis - it was time to unstring and restring the bow of the mind again.

Even though I was leaving only for a short while - it was a hard-good bye. People in my boxing gym seemed sad I was leaving. My clients seemed sad too.

And even my cat, Jeh Pan, knew I was going. He refused breakfast and his treats the morning I left. I don't ever remember him doing that. I wondered: How does he know I'm going away? Is it the luggage? Is it that it was early in the morning? Is there an emotional signal of me checking out mentally? He knew, when I was leaving last time. That was in July of 2018.

The night before, I took my mother out to eat. I said my goodbye to her then too. But I'm just going away for awhile, no? Perhaps, I guess one never knows with me. Do I even know with myself?

I packed just one small suitcase. I brought only three books with me. I only bought a one way ticket. I don't know when I'm coming back. It was kind of scary for me to just buy a one way ticket, but I had a strong spiritual sense that was what I was meant to do.

My plane was late by 30 minutes. I wish they let us know earlier. I could've slept more. Sleep is good, and people who know me know I hate mornings - especially really early ones.

The plane was full. A family sat next to me. A little kid sat in the middle. I watched Mary Queen of Scots on the plane.

It was ok. I liked the scenes showing the Scottish Highlands. The movie definitely had a pro-Scottish agenda and portrayed Mary as a martyr - instead of the traditional English view of her as a traitor. Into thy hands, I commend my spirit. I kept wondering why they didn't show her dog, which she hid in her dress, bark in agony, after the axeman chopped off her head. Bloody Mary - they say - for a reason.

And she also wasn't as beautiful as the movie makes her out to be. Historical records say that when the executioner picked up her head, he only picked up her red wig. And the head rolled away from him. Perhaps - the Scots are disputing this account too.

Who knows what really happened? I wasn't there then.

When I stepped out of the plane, the air was warm and humid - not like the cold and bizarre May-weather we were having in Los Angeles.

Oh - there were so many tourists at immigration. That took awhile. But because I didn't have any checked in luggage, I made it out of there airport quick.

I hopped on the local bus. The locals stared at me. I could feel them scanning my skin. I was the only Asian person there. Some Argentinians buskers came in and played music, but it was too loud for me to tip them anything. I didn't enjoy their music.

The police pulled over the bus. We had to change buses. It cost 20 minutes.

Manta Rays (c) Wikipedia
At the hostel, I met an old friend - same one who joined me at the pool later. She's currently processing and analyzing scientific data on Manta Rays.

We talked for hours. It's been years since we saw each other last.

She's a vegan. The local restaurants that served vegan food was closed. So, she made me lentils for dinner.

Then, I told her all about my sabbatical. She told me all about her journeys through Ireland and Holland. She told me all about her role of becoming an elder in society.

She said, "People don't celebrate eldership or peace."

I told her, "Our society worships violence. Not wisdom or peace."

Lentils and broccoli
I think the most important thing she told me so far, was about conversations. She said - "Remember; in a conversation, you're either trying to one-up somebody, or you're trying to share with them. Next time you're in conflict with someone, remember that."

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