Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Casa de Hammett

Hammett’s new carrier has worked out very well. When I brought it home, I put a folded-up towel in it, plus the tiny hand-knitted blanket he came home from the SPCA with, and in short order, he was seen lying inside, and, if I’m not mistaken, displaying the gravitas of the new homeowner. Of course, this is just a starter house. His next one will have a helipad and a wine cellar.

On vet day, I put his carrier on a chair with the opening tilted up a bit and poured him in without incident. I wondered if he would feel betrayed to have his house suddenly repurposed as a prison, but after we returned home, he sniffed it as if curious about its malleable character, but not indignant.

Around that time, I saw the Kevin Costner movie A Message in a Bottle, whose plot strained credulity, but which also happened to feature my new favorite, Paul Newman, toward the end of his career. I guess I’m going to have to go ahead and see all of Paul Newman’s movies.

My hospice visitee, E., died and I began visiting a new person, F., at her home. This was described to me as being in “Potrero Flats,” so needless to say, getting there involves cycling up a hill, then a steeper hill, then a truly monstrous hill, one of those where your front tire is only tenuously in contact with the ground.

I had another triple dharma day last week. This time I had dinner at the Zen Center after sitting there, and went on to Howie’s. He wasn’t there, but had lined up a guest teacher: Ajahn Anandabodhī, one of three Theravadan nuns who have established a monastery for women here in San Francisco.

She said a helpful thing: If we are angry and give that anger to someone else, we are throwing away a valuable teacher. She said we should hold our teacher—anger, fear, sorrow, whatever it is—close to us so that we can learn what it has to teach. You can conceivably think of not getting angry at someone as missing out: Rats! I didn’t get to give that person a piece of my mind.

But, as Ajahn Anandabodhī said, the deprivation is not in foregoing expression of the feeling, but in acting it out.

Thursday of last week I did laundry, which, as it had not been done (note the passive voice there) for a month, was a horrible ordeal: seven loads. Just getting that much stuff around the corner and back was an accomplishment. I was planning to clean the bathroom Friday evening, but after all that laundry, thought perhaps I should rest up for a while before going ahead. But then it dawned on me that if I took care of both, I wouldn’t have to do either again soon!

I had not cleaned the bathroom for six months, on the theory that a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned for six months is pretty much the same as one that hasn’t been cleaned for three weeks, so if you can stand how it is at three weeks, you’re off the hook for quite a while. However, as of this last experience, I’ve reluctantly concluded that isn’t quite true. I had to put on gloves and drench the place in Citra-Solv. At any rate, it’s clean now, so if you’re planning to visit me, do it soon.

Saturday morning I went to the Zen Center where Steve Stücky, the (or a) co-abbot, gave the talk and answered questions in the dining room afterwards, a first experiment in live streaming of the talk and Q&A. It seems like it went well. We got a question from someone in Mexico. I stayed for lunch and, because I’m a slow eater, got to have two entirely different sets of companions.

Then I went to Rainbow. I didn’t see my favorite checkout person, but had run into her on my way to the Zen Center hours earlier, both on our bicycles.

In the evening, I watched Gone in 60 Seconds, about car thieves. I kept thinking it would be a lot better if it starred Jason Statham instead of Nicolas Cage, but it was good.

I’ve also lately seen Twilight, the vampire movie, plus the two existing sequels; there will be two more later. I knew I would love them, and I did. Five trillion teenage girls can scarcely be wrong. Now my research is done and I’m ready to have an intelligent conversation about how totally cute Robert Pattinson is, should someone happen to bring it up. Tom teaches in a high school and says this topic never loses its appeal.
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