Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Budhism in Decemeber

December: a month full of celebration for Jews, Christians, African Americans, and Pagans. These four groups really dominate the cultural landscape this time of year. But what about the budhists? I feel they get left out in the cold--granted many budhists are so deep in meditation they don't feel the cold. For a Budhist they don't know if it's global warming or if they've almost reached enlightenment. I think that's pretty special and so I'd like to go against the grain this December and spotlight the Budhists.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to spend an entire afternoon with a budhist. Did you know that not all budhists are small asians wearing orange robes? Well, they're not. Some of them are big, burly, white and living right here in America. Some even live in Queens. I know, who knew?

I had run into this 30 year old Budhist at a comedy show. One thing led to another and the next thing you know I agreed to be the liscenced driver in the car so he could practice driving with his permit.

We took his parents' car for a spin upstate. I remember it was a Sunday because that was the day of the week the "I Love Jack" show ran in Williamsburg at 8pm. (Starting January 25, 2007 8pm it will run at bar/theatre in the East Village on Thursday--now there are no execuses for you not to go.) We arrived in New Paltz, ingested some calories saturated in trans-fats, drove around looking at some foilage, and then we headed back to New York City. On the way back we almost died when the Budhist drifted into the center lane at a spot another car occupied at the time. Thank God for horns. I used to think car horns were obnoxious. I see things differently now, maybe it's a little bit of enlightenment. We almost died again when a tractor trailer pulled out in front of us-- a mere 1/2 mile in front of us. Despite my calm but stearn warnings regarding the tractor trailer the Budhist didn't take notice until he had driven 3/8ths of that half mile. As the cliche-ists say, "No harm, No foul." Until of course there was harm. Traffic.

We hit traffic--figuratively. I looked at my watch and realized there was no way I was going to arrive at the "I Love Jack" show on time. We still had to bring the car back to Bayside, Queens. I then had to bike to the G train, wait for the G train, continue to wait for the G train, ride the G train, and then pedal to the locale. (Turned out the G train wasn't running that night. I didn't know that then.) I needed to be there ontime beause I'm the host and the producer. The comics are like sheep and they need a shepard. I am that shepard. I asked the Budhist if he'd drive me down to the show. To reciprocate I offered the Budhist a spot on the show. Now, I know the "I Love Jack" show was not well attended by audience but it's all I had to offer in return for the favor I was asking. I mean sure I had given up my entire Sunday to sit in a car and risk my life, but when I agreed to do that I had placed no strings on my favor. The Budhist hemmed and hawed offering up possible logistical problems like available parking. I assured him there was always parking available -- like I said it was a lightly attended show. In the end it seemed helping me out was too inconvenient for him so we just drove straight to Bayside. I wound up being two hours late to my show.

This is not the end of the story. I ran into him Saturday night and asked if he passed his driving test. Answer: No. He failed the road test. I laughed. I didn't laugh out of meanness. I just didn't know you could fail a NYC driving test. I've driven in NYC quite a bit over the years and I never knew that the NYC DMV driving test adminstrators have the option to fail those taking the test. Apparently, they do. Another lesson learned. I feel like that third eye is just ready burst from my forehead.

But here's the point. After not helping me when I asked for help. After not caring one bit about another human being's dilema. He wound up failing his driving test. That, my friends, is Karma!

I'd like to thank the Budhist for teaching me all about it.

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