Wednesday, November 22, 2006

By 10:30 yesterday morning, at a time before I've usually finished my first cup of coffee, I had a pretty blonde wash my mouth out with soap and I had paid a Pakistani man $15 to stick his finger up my ass.

Perhaps I should explain.

In an attempt to manage my time well, I booked myself with back-to-back dentist and doctor appointments for first thing in the morning. A dental hygienist, the pretty blonde, scrapped and poked at my teeth with various metal instruments before polishing them with some sort of dental buffing device, and then used baking soda in what felt like a sand blasting procedure - the washing my mouth out with soap of which I spoke.

Immediately after the dentist, I drove over to visit my urologist for a six-month check on my PSA after last year's prostate cancer scare (to those of you new to this blog, I'm fine). Anyway, after I coughed up my $15 co-pay, the doctor, a decent enough professional of Pakistani descent, performed the "digital examination" of my prostate, a procedure I'm glad doesn't need repeating more than twice a year.

But that's not what I want to blog about today. What's interesting to me was the news relayed to me yesterday morning by the hygienist, namely that my former ex-girlfriend L., also a patient of the same dentist, has moved to New York City.

She hadn't bothered to say "goodbye."

But my point here is not to cry in my beer over her departure, but to observe my changing perceptions about her, about our relationship, about life in general. When we were together, I thought she was just about perfect, or at least perfect for me. I was so happy and I loved her so much. After we broke up, I started to see things differently - her contempt for me, my constant inability to live up to her expectations and to get her to see me as her equal, how we were constantly on the verge of ending the relationship. What a fool I'd been, I would think, how could I have thought I was happy when I was so obviously miserable, how could I think she was so worthy when she was so obviously self-centered?

With all the hours I'd spent in Zen meditation, examining my mind, it astounded me that I still had such a capacity for self-deception.

But then I looked at it a little deeper, and thought that if I still had the capacity for self-deception then, might not I still have it now? After all, in which condition was a man more prone to self-deception - with a loving heart or while trying to protect a wounded ego? So which view was correct - L. the goddess or L. the bitch?

Eventually, I found the Middle Way, realizing all opinions and attitudes are provisional and subject to change - today's enemy might be tomorrow's friend, and vice versa. Therefore, we shouldn't cling to out impermanent and ever changing moods and ideas; it's all relative.

And with that attitude, I found some peace, and accepted that I should just enjoy the brief moments of pleasure as they come, and not hang on or try to preserve them. L. and I had our good times and our bad times, and now they're all in the past, but meanwhile, what's happening in the here and now?

Well, apparently, in the here and now, or rather the there and then when the hygienist told be that L. had moved out of town, the peace was shattered and a million conflicting emotions were raging in my mind. Feelings of anger and abandonment, acceptance that things with her were now forever in the past with no chance now for reconciliation, relief that I was not going to run into her around town someday, and even happiness that she got what she always had wanted - a good job offer in the Big Apple (I found a press announcement through Google from her new firm, and she does indeed seem to be far better employed now). But mostly I just felt confusion that I could be experiencing all of these different emotions at the same time.

And I still had the Pakistani Doctor to look forward to.

One day, the Buddha picked up a bell and rang it, asking his disciple, "Subhuti, can you now hear the bell?"

"Yes, Bhagvan, I can," Subhuti replied.

The Buddha stopped ringing the bell and asked, "Subhuti, can you now hear the bell?"

"No, I can't, Bhagvan," Subhuti replied.

"Subhuti, how can you keep these two conflicting views in your mind?," the Buddha asked.

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