Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Ethereal Problem of Humanity



I'm back at Bombay's. I've become a regular, I think. All of the Baristas know my face, a handful know my name. It always gets crowded here after 2 pm; like nowhere-to-sit kind of crowded. It's 3:25 and 44 seconds PM. There's an elderly couple to my right, listening intently to a presumably 8-year old grandson telling a story of his morning. I heard him say "that'd be expensive," when his grandpa started talking about traveling to Paris. it caught me off guard, to think that a kid would have that term in his word bank. the rest of the interior is speckled; hipsters, older folks, mixed couples, all shouting out some type of solidarity with one another and with myself, in the sense that we're all human. Humanity has been a point of contention recently. I went in to teach at the IRC today, and was flying solo with a group of 6 guys from Haiti and Burma and Nepal. It was fun, it always is. Being with just men helps, too, because there's one less barrier that I have to get over to reach their level and communicate with them. There's still the language and culture barrier, as well as the age barrier with some. But, not having the gender barrier in place helps ease the struggle, I think. The best practice that I've learned to adopt thus far is to try and express our mutual human-ness. (side note: Chattanooga Choo-Choo just came on the radio. I love this song.) The intention is to try to share in our humanity, despite all of the barriers. From there, we can move forward in mutual identity and trust, and depend on each other in some small way. I don't know. I'm coming to understand Humanity as struggle. Like, to tap into our humanity is to sit in all of the dirty, broken pieces of who we are. It's all enigmatic, and I can't quite tie it down just yet. I'm reading a lot of monastic-minded things right now. It's taking shape, I think, the problem of humanity. I know that I can't spend all of my effort trying to escape it, that I must face it and be delivered. I don't know. I hate writing posts that aren't concrete or conclusive, but life is in the tension. I'm sitting in the tension, figuring out how to breathe. And that's where I'm at right now. There and Bombay's, listening to Chattanooga Choo-Choo.

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