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October 6, 2005

It was dark and rainy and I didn't have a helmet or lights for my bike
so I decided to take the good old 44 up the hill from Ballard to Fremont.
Waiting for buses is as close to a meditation practice as I get, so I try
to get the most out of it. There are distractions, sure, like the smell of
KFC or that person slurping a McD's milkshake by domelight of their
parked car. But at times like this I'm not observing, but rather breathing
and letting the emptiness of time and space wash over me. I let go of
preconceptions and projections and integrate into the present totality.
At least that's how it feels when I decide (consciously at first, then word-
lessly) to forget that I am "waiting" (for a bus) and release my mind from
the thoughts, plans, and distractions that keep the brain spinning and tend
to detach one from simply being. So I go kind of blank and am just standing
seeing and not seeing the impermanence of the worldly illusion around me
when the bus comes and part of me which hadn't completely forgotten it was
waiting is glad to see the boxy lighted room on wheels coming down the street.

But! Seattle Metro bus racks have space for only two bikes and both are already
occupied by two BMXs on this rainy night, so I wave it on its way and let myself
roll into the next wait, 20 minutes or so more of standing in the rain with nothing
to do, trying to keep my brain from wandering into its usual cycles of plan, remember,
and daydream. (Not to say these things are bad, but too much thinking gets to sounding
like a broken record echoing in empty skull room of the brain.) The nice thing is I'm
not upset over the extra wait, what "expectation" would have turned into "delay."
There is no delay when there is no schedule so you can never be late. Just this.

I picked my teeth. Rachel and Staci happened by, we chatted. The next bus had one space
left on its bike rack. I got on. A stranger asked if people ever hassled me for not wearing a
helmet. "Yes. Once, I was riding and this guy on a bike got so busy lecturing me on safety
that he drifted out into the street and almost got smeared by a truck. That was the best...."

I got home just in time to watch our resident porch spider capture a large moth fluttering in
panic. The spider descended, got its fangs in, and the wings slowly stopped beating. The
moth was three or four times the spider's size. The spider got the wings off, wrapped it up a
bit and then set about to sucking, its legs wrapped around the carcass in a lover's embrace.