The Poetry and Prose of John Omniadeo

The Poetry and Prose of John Omniadeo

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keep on Bowing in the Free World

Found a cafe with wireless and decided to post before I go back for the remaining 5 hrs of today's prostration retreat.

I was up till 2am giving  friend a Tarot reading, which was not very smart and made my 5am start time slightly unrealistic, but I was on the corner of Powell and Market doing prostrations at 6 sharp.

If you are thinking of indulging any tendencies toward exhibitionism, I do not recommend prostrations on the streets of San Francisco. You have to be a lot weirder than me to get noticed here, and as most of you know, I am pretty weird. Most people looked at me with about the same level of interest as they might have in a dying pigeon.

Except for a phone call to wish Diotima well before her sesshin, I bowed for three hours straight and during that time I had one person give me a dollar. But a schizophrenic came by spouting gibberish and dumped a handful of hard candies in my donation box. His only recognizable words were "this will help!" I took that as a good omen, and it is my proudest accomplishment of the day.

A dear friend from out of town came by and took some pictures which I might share at some point. She said I needed a better sign than my little hand printed one.

My only other visitors were San Francisco's finest, who asked me "Who are you bowing to?" I said, "You," and they didn't get my subtle reference to their Buddha nature, but made me promise to leave that spot by 9 am. They were back promptly at 9 to see that I bowed somewhere else and recommended UN Plaza where the riffraff hang, which is where I belong, no doubt about it. "We will welcome you there," said the smiling cop. He was pretty nice about it, and I thanked him.

After breakfast and an interesting discussion with my friend, I went to UN Plaza and bowed on the grass there till the sun came from behind the buildings and threatened me with melanoma. I moved to a shady spot near a building and was moved by security to a spot where I had an opportunity to practice with the "one taste" of Mahamudra. Well, "one smell" anyway, since the distinct odor of urine wafted from somewhere nearby. Actually a boombox playing old Shuggie Otis tunes was harder to deal with. Just keep bowing, John.

Before she left, my friend sneaked a $20 bill into my box and I planned to donate it along with some sponsorships to St. Anthony's Dining Room. But then a desperate rastafarian came by and gave me a very sad family hard luck story and begged me to buy a cannabis bud for $5. I happen to be a recovering canabbis addict and  offered him the $20, saying, "Here, man, your lucky day."

He was confused; in fact looked at me very suspiciously, but took it, and then after hesitating, as if it might be bad luck to do otherwise, he dropped a very nice looking bud in my box and left.

Great. Here I am trying to impress you all with my dharmic dedication and suddenly I have to fight off the urge to go buy a pipe and get loaded!

No problem, while listening to a conversation between the angel on my right shoulder and the devil on my left, a down-and-out hustler came by and offered to sell me me some probably hot luggage. I declined. He spied the candy and said, "Hey, candy! Can I have some?" I said, "Sure."

After he left, I looked and of course he stole the bud. Problem solved. But for quite a while I couldn't decide whether I was pissed off or relieved. Actually, I still don't know.

Another noteworthy event was that while I was bowing, trying to raise money to feed the hungry a group of people came by and handing out free lunches and I took one. Peanut butter sandwich, an orange and a carrot. Delicious! I talked to him and he told me they are a group of 10 people with no name who just make about 200 lunches and give them away.

I took a break and went over to St. Anthony's Dining Room to donate the $100 I collected online from generous sponsors. They were glad to get it, and I got a receipt, but the system seemed a little loose, and I started worrying that maybe the staff kept it for themselves. Hmm. Ah well, they looked like they could use it too, I guess.

All this karmic accounting is confusing as hell. Better get back to the streets.

Keep on bowing in the free world.

Love to all,

John O.

No comments:

Post a Comment