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May 12, 2008

Nudist Buddhists and other Life Lessons

"We're all motherless children now," I said to Neil and Beth who called spontaneously and treated me to brunch at Burgoo yesterday. "Who sang that?" I asked. "Was it Leonard Cohen?" "No," said Neil. "I can see him. He's so clearly in my mind. Donavan? No. It was at Woodstock. Woodstock must have a website," he said.
(After note: Richie Havens sang it)

The first Mother's Day after your mother has died is strange. It's like one of those silly fridge magnets. The ones that show a woman and she's saying to herself, Oh I knew there was something. I forgot to get married.Or, I forgot to have a baby. It's a bit like that.

You feel like you've forgotten something and then in a moment's afterthought you realize that it's not necessary, to remember, afterall. You don't have to buy flowers or think of something to do together or make a reservation. But, she's there, all around you. Regardless of whether the relationship was really close or really distant, there's a tinge of sadness. If the love was obvious and cherished, there's sadness for what was and is no more. There's sadness, as well, for all that the relationship wasn't, and what will never be when the love loomed silent and difficult.

And, on that kind of day, friends make all the difference.

"I've been thinking lately that I'd like to just run away to a convent," said Beth. "Really?" I said. "That's weird. I've had those thoughts, on and off, as well." "It's a symptom." she said. "A symptom?" I ask. "Yes. I was talking to a homeopath the other day and I mentioned that I'd been feeling like I just wanted to run away to a convent. That's when she said, there's a remedy for that." "What was it?" I laughed.

"She couldn't remember. She would have have had to look it up." "Oh, so she wasn't being sarcastic?" I said. Across the table Neil begins to imitate the motions of flipping through a really big book, as if he were a wizard in Harry Potter. Personally, I thought it was great that he didn't really react to that comment; didn't take it personally that his wife had just said that.

"Let's see...Under the C..."he said. You could almost see half-glasses low on his nose, as he pretended to flip through page after page. "Running away to a convent," he says. "MMMMM? Nope. I can't put my finger on it. It must be in one of my other books."

"What does that say," he continued, "about all those women who actually wanted to BECOME nuns. Are you saying, Beth, that if we just found the remedy for 'wanting to run away to a convent...' that the entire Catholic church would clear of nuns?"

"I'd really like to know what that remedy is," I say. "I can't imagine it. Two parts ylang, ylang, 9 hours continuous recitation of the Lord's Prayer, and a snip of Johhny Depp's hair stirred into chamomile tea...?Is that the kind of remedy we're talking about? And, if there's a remedy for that, maybe there's a remedy for, well, just about anything."

Later, after brunch, on relocation at Locarno Beach, Neil says out of the blue, I want to become a Nudist Buddhist. "A Nudist Buddhist?" I say, laughing. "What the hell?" "Well," says Neil, "I could live in a tent on Wreck Beach. It really doesn't matter to me where I live. And, Beth is always referring to Buddism. She's always saying, ...that's not the Bhuddhist way or that's very Zen-like and so on. So, I thought, hey, if you combined my way of being and hers you'd have a Nudist Bhuddist.

"Well good," I say, "because Beth could keep an eye on you, staring down at you from her fabulous, well-decorated condo overlooking Wreck beach." (Beth, I should add, is an interior designer who would never want to live in a tent on Wreck Beach, or any other beach, at least not for more than a couple weeks at a time as they do every summer in the San Juan islands).

"You guys scare me," I say.

When you go out with Neil and Beth you always learn a lot. I think that's a common denominator for most of my friends. You learn a lot. You're just never sure how much of it is actually verifiable.

Yesterday I learned things about flower essences. I learned that it can suck to work in retail because you never get a break even when you work 9 hours in a row. I learned how the line on the freighters where you're supposed to fill the hold to got it's name. It was named after some guy whose name begins with a P. I forgot. Damn. I forgot the word. I learned that there's a large Basque population near Boise, Idaho where Beth hails from. I learned about a website called Blurb.com where you can create your own book for a mere $50 and that "freighterdog" has the title for his book already. I learned that kayak rental is two for one on Tuesdays at Ecomarine Kayak on Locarno Beach. I learned, although I'm guessing, that most crabs you catch off the pier at Locarno are too small to keep.

Mostly, I learned that it's great to have friends who are there for you when you need to forget about reality for a few hours. But then again, I've known that for a long time. Thanks Neil and Beth!

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