Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Buddha Took the Train WIth Me Today
Today the MTA was in top form, doing what they do best, sucking. It took more than 30 minutes to get about 2 miles from my house. The announcements weren't very informative or easy to hear (per usual) and of course every train was insanely crowded due to all the re-routed people. Fortunately for me I was all Zen and reading my Buddha book. I realized there wasn't really anything I could do(and for some reason the lack of control didn't freak me out as it often does), so I just tried to focus on the chapter I was reading while everyone else fell apart around me.
I recently went through a similar situation while traveling during the holidays. Man people are mean when they're stressed and nothing brings about stress like trying to get to a place you don't really want to go so you can hang out with a bunch of people you don't really want to hang out with...for days on end. Am I right? On my way back to the city, one charmer said to the lady collecting tickets, "answer my fucking question, you fucking pussy." He said this in such a nasty tone that one lady requested to get off the bus and take the next one because she was uncomfortable being on the bus with him. In this case, I was so grateful to be headed back to New York that I again found myself not troubled by the overcrowded, dirty bus, which decided to stop in Baltimore and Philadelphia before finally arriving in New York after more than six hours.
Today I should have been that person though. I was already late to begin with, but the kind of late where if you catch a train right away (as well as your connecting train) there is a chance you will be right on time. (I LOVE to hang onto the dream of being on time) This was also an important day at work because our owner/founder was arriving and I knew he would be at the office at 9am sharp. So we've got the stress of already running late, the desire to look good in front of the boss and for some reason I was perfectly calm and composed to the point where I found everyone else's huffing and puffing quite humorous.
Could this Buddha stuff be working? I think so and here's why. When I was reflecting on my day just now I started thinking, does the MTA really suck? Really? Actually, it's pretty great. It goes nearly everywhere in 4 of the 5 boroughs. It's so accessible that most people don't need a car. It gets me to work in 30 minutes most days. Even with the recent fare hikes, it's only $104 for unlimited rides on all the trains and buses. Lets think about this. How much do most people pay a month for gas, auto insurance, car payment, oil changes, unexpected repairs? Yes of course a car is much more convenient, but who really wants to have a car in New York City anyway? I'm not saying that there aren't improvements to be made and money that is certainly going to waste, but there is a time and a place to get revved up about it. If it really bothers you that much go to the meetings, voice your opinion, get involved, vote. This is a wild guess here, but I bet the huffers on the train this morning haven't done a damn thing but complain. One could say it's the huffers that make the train so unpleasant. If I consider that I haven't done a damn thing to try to improve the MTA, the mass transit options in New York are pretty great. Arguably so great that we take it for granted that a train is going to show up within 2 minutes during our morning commute. I know I do. I remember recently standing on the platform and thinking, "This is taking FOREVER."
Then I looked at my watch and I had been standing there for 3 minutes. So you have to wonder? Who has the problem? Who was standing in the way of my happiness? The MTA? or Me?
- my Swedish Hasbeens arrived in the mail today! I know this isn't very Buddhist, but they are so beautiful and I have wanted them for so long.
- I'm feeling very content and grateful, peaceful even
- motivated myself to do some things I'd been putting of at work
P.S. Have not meditated yet, was dead tried this morning from all the working out this weekend. Will be upping my time to 15 minutes though :)
P.P.S. The MTA also has a really fascinating history and some straight up beautiful stations.