Boys On The Bus

A few weeks back, my friend James proposed that I should start, talking to guys on the bus.  According to him, it’s the place to meet eligible bachelors.  As much as I valued the unsolicited dating advice, I wasn’t about to go searching for my future soulmate on the D-Line.

I remembered this and chuckled to myself during tonight’s commute, as I allowed my eyes to drift up and down the rows, studying the cast of characters.

If there is one thing that I’ve gathered, surrounding the collective group of “folks who ride the bus”, it is that they come in all shapes, sizes, ages, outfits (or lack thereof), scents, sounds, and of course, varying levels of sanity.  This statement was certainly alive and well among the Monday evening crew of passengers.

I stopped my gaze at the group of twenty-somethings seated directly across from me.  Although the six were fully clothed, unaccompanied by any noticeable odor, and kept to themselves; they caught my eye.

Why?

Because every single damn one of them was knee-deep in their cell phone, so much so, had I stripped down naked and started screaming racial slurs, they likely would have failed to notice.  (To be fair – this could very well occur on any given day aboard the D-Line).  

I grew sad as I realized the present moment was being lost right before my eyes, to a virtual reality contained within six inches of plastic.

Undeniably, we all seem to spend more time worrying about what’s happened, or what’s to come, that we fail to stop and actually live, anymore.

If this wasn’t Exhibit A — I can’t be certain what is.

The only logical solution, I concluded: to hold myself accountable; to be present.

In doing so, I’ve opted to reserve those thirty minutes each day spent aboard the shitshow that is the Metro Bus, where I’ll refrain from responding to text messages, placing phone calls, reviewing emails,  or logging into Facebook to discover that yet another college friend is pregnant, or engaged, or buying a house (no offense guys).

Instead, I’ll simply sit and stare, absorbing the crazy that is unfolding around me, enjoying it for every ounce that it’s worth, in believing that “real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present” (Camus).

 

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Road to Nowhere

12208642_10153756062496532_6528307965804642353_nThis weekend, after finishing what felt like a marathon of a month at work, I was determined to (make an attempt) at clearing my head of the stresses that accompany my daily hustle and bustle.  I’d been hearing all sorts of buzz about “meditation”, namely from my sister, who just began her new job at the Chopra Center.

Last night, I crawled into my bed and laid flat underneath the comforter, arms at my side, determined to give it a try.

With no professional instruction whatsoever, I closed my eyes and inhaled.  I attempted to think of nothing other than the rise and fall of my chest.  A second later, I was bombarded with the fear that I had forgotten to lock the front door of my apartment.  I silenced the worry.  Before long, I was creating a mental reminder to send an email to my client in the morning.  I brought it to a hault, but only for moment, as I caught myself generating a grocery list for the week.

Why was it so difficult to rid myself of every thought?

I retired to the fact that I wasn’t about to accomplish anything and drifted off to sleep.

About 11:00am this morning I walked to my car with the intention of visiting my favorite gluten free bakery for a bite.  For whatever reason, I opted to forgo the breakfast pastry and merge onto the five instead.

I wasn’t quite sure where I was headed.  Impulsively, I chose a route unfamiliar, and forged East.

I took a few sips of my coffee, as I pressed through the stop and go.  Slowly, traffic began to ease up.

As I entered into the Snoqualmie Pass, I found myself eyeballing the abundance of Evergreens lining the highway.  I enjoyed the occasional speck of yellow, and pockets of red.  I gazed loosely as the gusts of wind sent Fall leaves into a flurry.  In the distance, thick clouds were rolling through the mountains.

Before long, I wasn’t thinking about anything, other than that was directly in front of my face.

A downpour surfaced out of thin air.  All that could be seen through the wipers racing feverishly across my windshield were the drops of water bouncing off the asphalt, three feet in front of the hood of my car.  The sky was dark.  I gripped the steering wheel, focusing intently on the painted white lines along the road to guide me.

After some time, the pavement had dried, and the surroundings were once again visible. The sun began to peek through dark grey clouds.  A streak of blue sky, long forgotten, was resting on the horizon.  The sea of green had been replaced by stretches of brown and a scattering of windmills.

As the time passed, the canvas of sky became adorned with splashes of purple and puffs of milky white.

There was something so incredibly soothing about being alone on the road with no destination in mind.

I trekked on like this for a few good hours.

I was about 100 miles West of Spokane when the sun began to disappear.  I decided I’d had enough.

It suddenly occurred to me that my stomach was growling.  I took the nearest exit to who the hell knows where, and pulled into the parking lot of Dairy Queen. Although it was thirty-nine degrees outside, I selected a chocolate milkshake.  I hopped back into my little white Civic, cranked up the heat, and proceeded to follow the signs leading back to Seattle.

Tomorrow, I will return to a voicemailbox full of, “I need this yesterdays”.  I’ll spend the day making unhappy people happy again, and prevent the ones who are not angry from becoming it.

But, I’ll be ready for it.

I may suck at meditation; but I suppose, sometimes all you need is a little ride on the road to nowhere, and absolutely nothing, to get your mind right.