This guy keeps texting me pictures of himself with the Dalai Lama. For years he’s been making the arrangements for the Dalai Lama’s visits to our city, and at this point he has the logistics down cold. Or pretty cold. It can be complicated. You have to have a big enough van, first of all, to pick up the Dalai Lama’s entourage and all their luggage from the airport. You have to arrange for the limos and the police escort to take the Dalai Lama swiftly through the city streets to his speaking engagement. The Dalai Lama has a security detail, of course; well, he’s a world leader, more or less. You have to go through a background check, State Department, heavy-duty, to get the clearance to take care of things for the Dalai Lama this way. Having this responsibility is exciting, yes, but not exactly a party. If you don’t get all these details right it could be very embarrassing, maybe even dangerous — for both the Dalai Lama and everyone around him — so for a couple of weeks, before and during the Dalai Lama’s visit, this guy doesn’t get much sleep. There are so many things to arrange and so many things to worry about. The guy doesn’t really have time to talk or hang out. Just text, apparently.
my ego in spite of the rain
The Dalai Lama, you’ll be interested to know, is exactly the same close up as he seems from a distance. This is what the guy tells me, anyway. I try to think of how the Dalai Lama seems from a distance. Orange and smiling, mostly. And yes, the guy’s right: that’s how the Dalai Lama looks in the closeup photos the guy texts me. Keeps texting me. “He’s very genuine and compassionate. You know. Just like you imagine,” the guy said to me, the first time we met. I didn’t tell him that I’d never imagined the Dalai Lama. I’m not sure the guy would believe me.
apropos of nothing its wings
I did think vaguely of becoming a Buddhist at one point. I read some books, did some meditating. I looked up Buddhist groups in our city to see when they held meetings, but I never actually went to any of the meetings. This Japanese poetry I write, a lot of the other people who write it are Buddhists, or at least think about Buddhism a lot. I’m constitutionally irreligious but Buddhism seems pretty irreligious, for a religion. I thought it might be a sort of compromise between the fundamentalist Christianity I was raised with and the nothing I currently practice. In the end I guess I was defeated, as I so often am, by the fact that it’s almost impossible for me to believe in invisible things. I think I consider this more a flaw in myself than a flaw in religion but I’ve gradually learned that to be true to myself I have to accept even my flaws. I think I might have read that in one of the Buddhist books.
just barely a path regretting it