Old Man River 7/17/10

Date:                           July 17, 2010


Location:                    Plattekill, NY





            Working in and with the public is a real experience and a nightly education.  It can often be extremely enjoyable and rewarding and at the same time it can show with all too much clarity the personal trait flaws in ones self that we might wish to remain hidden.  There are times when a hidden talent or spiritual plus can be found inside of yourself and then there are the other times.  The times when, if you were to remove yourself from the situation, you might not like the person that is wearing your body.


            I have found  that a simple humorous banter with strangers comes very easy for me, on most occasions. This is a revelation for some one that is not well adept at “cocktail conversation” and might be considered a socially conversational introvert.  Placed in front of a line of strangers with many different attitudes and personalities and I find it easy and very enjoyable to greet, banter and maybe even garner a laugh form most people.  Place in that line of humanity an overly pushy, self indulgent ego maniac and a monster arises from within my soul and takes battle.  I don’t like that side of me.  I don’t enjoy the parrying and thrusting of the verbal duel that emerges, but a duel none the less I find myself engaged in fighting.  Once I am pushed I tend to push back. It is probably not the best attitude to have when dealing with the public.  I am working on it, but really.


            I could list example after example of how some, not all, but some people are so egocentric and self involved it defies description.  It is not just that they care most about them selves and their seeming monumental needs, but they feel that the smallest whim of interest to them should out weigh the needs or concerns of every other animal or being on this Earth.  It is when these social morons begin treading on the rights and privileges of other people that the monster of “push-back” rises up in my soul and rides to battle.  I would like to say it is because of an altruistic desire protect the less fortunate that I mount my steed of verbal war and forge to battle, but I fear that would be a sorry miss characterization.  I fear I ride forth to face the beast out of a personal flaw of inner passive aggressive nature.  If two people place their hands, one against the other, and one exerts force in one direction the other person will instinctively return the push with equal and opposite pressure.  This is an instinctive and natural response to exterior stimuli.  It has something to do with caveman instincts and lining up at the feeding troth.  What ever the reason, it is a natural physical reaction.  Somewhere in the genetic weaving of my soul this response seems to also apply to verbal encounters and interpersonal relationships.


            I understand the Zen philosophy of being a large rock in a stream.  As the rushing torrents of the river wash toward you it is best to allow them to flow by you with as little inter action as possible.  You can neither turn back the river, nor fully deter its course.  A rock that has been in a raging river for any length of time will have a much smoother surface facing the current than is exposed on its downstream side.  With age the rough edges of conflict are smoothed and a smoother more subtle surface faces each new wave of the pushy water.  The river continues its trek downstream and the rock becomes more elegant and beautiful in the smoothing of its sharp edges.  The smoother the edges the less turmoil and riling one sees at the rock.  The water seems to more easily slide on by the aged and weathered rock in search of another pediment to attack. 


            I am very aware that life is a journey and constant education in living.  Each day and each second of ones life is another chance to enhance enlighten and evolve.  It is another chance to smooth off some of those rough edges.  I guess that just because I am in my sixties that doe s not mean I am through with my education nor have I finished my social evolution.  You do not need a very bright light to see that I have many rough edges and the river keeps on roiling.