Tag Archives: buddha minneapolis

The Wednesday Outlook: June 22, 2011

The Buddha is serene even in the most difficult of circumstances:

Like, for example, being trapped in a crate. OK, so this truck has been in my neighborhood for months now with a beautiful Buddha statue crated up in it.

I’ve been walking past it since at least February. Originally I thought they must be waiting for spring so they can place it somewhere outside. Nope. Still a crated Buddha. At some point I would feel horrible about  leaving it in there so long but the Buddha doesn’t seem to mind. He sits calmly, patiently waiting. I’m sure he’s living in the moment, not all caught up in what the future may hold for him.

This morning I saw that there was a note stuck in the door handle of the truck (you can see it in the truck photo). It said, “Wanna sell your statue?” and then there was a phone number.

So I’m not the only one who has become impatient. Now the drama deepens as I wonder if the owner will, indeed, sell the statue. For how much? It’s very large. I would imagine it’s worth quite a bit. Where did they get it? When I took the pictures I stared up at the house. Nothing stirring at 9:30 in the morning, all the windows are covered with colorful sheets. Huh.

For some reason the truck makes me think of a Buddhist Sanford from the TV show Sanford & Son, driving around the neighborhood collecting junk in a very zen way. This makes me happy. Would he say, “Ooh, Lamont, this is the big one. It’s the big one but it’s OK. Pain is unavoidable but suffering is optional!”

If you don’t know anything about Sanford & Son, that joke is totally lost on you.

I think more people need the Buddha in their lives, caged or otherwise. I’ve had some weird run-ins with strangers this past week that have reminded me how lonely people are and how desperate they are to assert their worldview onto others so as to make everything OK.

The first encounter involved a man at a resale/antique shop. I was browsing around, as I’ve been known to do, and he was looking at the Coach bags the store sells. Now, whether these bags are really Coach is anyone’s guess – I have no interest in expensive purses, real or fake. But he was obsessed with them. He kept asking all the women in the store if women in general are still “into Coach.”

I wandered off to the back of the store but it wasn’t long before he caught up with me and asked me my opinion of Coach bags. I said I had no opinion. Then he started this litany:

“Look at all this crap in here. It’s sad. It’s really sad. Why even have a store like this? All this stuff should just be on eBay. You know what kind of people sell stuff at a store like this? Hoarders. You know what that is? I had a hoarder across the street from me, filled up his entire house and bought another one and filled that up. I called the city on him. I did. It’s just sad.”

In the middle of this oration, he let out a big fart and then continued talking, as if nothing unusual had happened. If that had been me, I would have at least had the presence of mind to flee in embarrassment but not this guy. He kept talking, telling me how everything in there was overpriced crap.

Now, I do wonder why I didn’t say to him, “And yet you’re here, aren’t you?”

Later, I wondered about why it was so important to this person to leave his home, seek out this store and then berate it to another customer who was just browsing around on a summer morning, for Christ’s sake. And I think it’s because people often want to spread their unhappiness around. They are also looking for some kind of recognition that, yes, the world does suck and it’s not just them. Except, yeah, it’s them. It’s each one of us who sets out to spread unhappiness to other people, like a plant trying to scatter it’s spores.

Encounter Number Two: Keith and I were walking home from a neighborhood cafe having a discussion about whether or not it is useful, in 2011, to learn Latin. As we were preparing to cross the street, a bus pulled up and a woman got off. She cross the street with us and then proceeded to walk, very slowly, ahead of us down the sidewalk. At some point I realized that she was eavesdropping on our conversation but I didn’t really mind. I would do that, too.

Then, when we had to turn off onto our street she stopped and said, “Excuse me but I’ve been listening to your conversation and I just wanted to say that Latin in very useful. It’s the root for most Western languages. My mother and I went to Europe and even though neither of us spoke another language, she was able to read and puzzle out a lot of things because she studied Latin.”

We were kind of unsure about whether we should stop walking and take up this debate. She was standing there looking at us so I said, “But it’s not conversational. That’s my point. Who can you talk to if you speak Latin?”

“Other people who speak Latin,” she said.

Does that not make my point? No one speaks Latin anymore! So if you go to Mexico or France, hooray that you can speak Latin but try asking for the bathroom. Would you stand there saying, in Latin, “Does anyone around here speak Latin?” I said as much to her and then turned around to keep walking and she stood on the street corner and shouted something at us.

Shouted at us! Over our conversation that she listened to without being invited in! And she was wearing Birkenstock sandals and carrying a bag from Michael’s craft store that probably contained yarn for some knitting project she would complete while listening to MPR. Only in South Minneapolis.

But she had to be right. Even if nothing was at stake, she had to shout some opinion at us. Did she think that we would come back and say, “You’re right. We were soooo wrong about Latin.”


Reading: Finished Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill, a book about Sara and Gerald Murphy and their time in France in the 1920s and 30s; currently reading Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss, which is an amazing graphic novel. I highly recommend reading it – it’s interesting but also beautiful and tragic, particularly the artwork that goes along with the story. The coolest thing: last night after reading it in bed I put it down, turned out the light and realized that the cover art glows in the dark!

Watching: While suffering through a recent bout of stomach flu, I watched many strange things. A show on PBS about a guy who hunts spiders and, when he finds them, breaks into a cold sweat. I watched a crew build a stone patio for a building show and realized how many steps there are to building a stone patio. I watched a documentary about screenwriters that reminded me of how shitty it can be to be a working screenwriter but at the same time its better than an office job. Or so they say.

Anticipating: Despite a lay-off do to aforementioned stomach flu, I’m going to run my first 5K this Sunday as part of the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The Rainbow Run starts at the Stone Arch Bridge and runs along the Pride parade route to Loring Park. I’ve never run an organized anything before except for track when I was in junior high and that experience kinda sucked. I’m hoping this will be much better. I’ll be the slow one at the end of all the runners. Then, that night, Derailleur rocks the Aster Cafe with two sets!

Don't forget to breathe!