I was honored to be mentioned in this very generous and encouraging post at a nearby blog. Thank you!   It made me wish I could summon a worthy post, but this is the best I can do this rainy evening.

This morning, on my way to the Path to Bliss, which, well, full disclosure, I can’t always see it clearly from here, that path.  It’s like a star from a distant planet that I occasionally get a glimpse of, but I’m not even sure I really saw it, or if I did, if it’s real, or if it’s one of those things that burned out 6 million years ago but a bit of light remains, flickering occasionally. 

But I could see Joey, who was hitchhiking in the middle of the road, the way he does.  It was 9:30 in the morning and pouring rain.  It’s been a while since I’ve given him a ride, maybe a month or two, so I was sort of relieved to see that he’s okay, but I was also enjoying listening to music and staying in my own head -- I wasn’t in the mood to pick him up.  But I have The Rules, and one of them involves picking him up, and it seems especially important to follow The Rules if you’re trying to be on the path to bliss.  I added that rule after I found him apparently dead on the side of the road.

The Path to Bliss, by the way, is a series of yoga/Buddhist meditation classes that just concluded today.  I’m not convinced I’m more blissful, but maybe that’s because a) I have trouble really believing in anything un-provable, and almost every spiritual path eventually gets to that point, and b) the world seems to be in such a bad way right now that it would almost be wrong to find bliss amongst all of the suffering. After the class where we did a lot of visualizing of the Central Channel, who's name is Uma, I texted one of my regular awesome yoga teachers.  “Is there really a central channel?  I had no idea.”  “For you,” she responded kindly, “it’s probably a metaphor.”

There was a brief bit when Joey was in time out, meaning I drove by him twice without stopping, after he got a little touchy in the car, not in a super-creepy way, but all the same… I doubt he even noticed the time out.   Hitchhikers, you should have rules too: never touch the driver.

The first time I picked him up after his time out, he was so drunk that he didn’t recognize me, even though I’ve probably given him 50 rides by now.  That time, he just climbed in the car and stared straight ahead silently, but kept fussing with the seat belts – unclipping mine, then his. I’d re-fasten mine, and he’d do it again, and so on.  This went on for about 7 miles, all the way to his house.

The bliss class today involved some talking about Karma that didn’t really work for me.  The point is that everything that happens is the result of seeds we’ve sown, based on our actions, either in this life or a previous one.  People interpret this in different ways, and I guess the particular way this was being discussed just felt a little judgmental, but maybe I didn’t understand it.  I tend to think that there are many many forces at work in the world, not just my own thoughts and actions, and maybe karma is really about how we respond in the face of adversity.  Maybe everything bad isn't completely our fault, but maybe if we try to learn the lessons and make the best of the hand we're dealt, and not succumb, well, that's good. I have a lot of trouble thinking that someones thoughts or actions caused entire villages in Japan to float away over the weekend, for example.

The time Joe was so drunk, I was afraid he was going to throw up in my car, but he didn’t, which, well, did I sow the seeds of that?  Did I sow the seeds of Joey not throwing up in my car in a past life?  Or is it more like I sowed the seeds of him unclipping the seat belt?

When we got to his driveway, he just sat in the car, staring and swaying the way really drunk people do just before they pass out, and made no motion to get out.  I had to go around and open his door, and do a little coaxing.  Which… well, hitchhikers, if you have rules, could you add something about this too?

At any rate, he was sober this morning, and said the usual stuff about how his mama raised him twice, and now he’s giving back to her by letting her sleep in (I couldn’t quite figure that out, because it was only 9:30 and I suppose she’s up with the grandchildren already), and the line about how if I’m ever down on my luck, I can go to the food bank and tell them he sent me, and they’ll give me a ham, right then and there.  

But this time there was more, about how he was married once, “because he’s not a man-whore”, which seemed like a really strange thing to say.  He talked about how he married her because he knew her from high school, and knew a bit about her, so he knew she was “from a good line.” He talked about how his own father was a man-whore, whatever that is, and his mother discovered his father in bed with his aunt, and kicked him out.  This was too much information for my journey to bliss.

And he talked about how he used to be a drinker, back in high school, but not anymore, which made me wonder how long it's been since he quit drinking, because he still has that sort of vodka-ish smell to him.  And he talked about how he was born at Harborview, and then re-assembled there after the shooting, which is the origin of the "my mama raised me twice" bit, which lead into how he was breast fed, but, disappointingly, only the first time.   (Please add something about this on the list of rules too, hitchhikers).

I said I was going to the hardware store, which is right next to the path to bliss, and he said he was going there too, so he stayed in the car while I parked, and asked if I had 50 cents or a dollar for a cup of coffee. I hate to be too suspicious on my path to bliss, but I think when he says coffee, well . . .anyway, I gave him a buck, and he did his closing speech, the way he does, “If I ever see you on the side of the road, down on your luck, you can count on me for a ride.”

I'm really unclear about who gets the karma points here, if there are any to be dispensed.


  1. Urban dictionary says:

    "man whore": A sexually active, promiscuous, younger man who often wears alot of flashy jewelery, has greased down, or spiked up hair and keeps a 'chicktionary'. He is well known at most health clinics and may have an STD named after him in his honour. He knows many girls but will often mix up or forget thier names. He will commonly have one or more illegitimate children (though not always, especially in the amateur stage) and his relation with other men is often strained, due to past encounters with girlfriends or wives.

    Synonyms: gigalo, man slut, he-slut, walking std

    P.S. - I think you get the karma points.

  2. I'm concerned. Was the Aunt his Mom's sister or his Dad's? Also, good job. Just the fact that you know this dude's name should get you, at least, one less flat tire or one more free vending machine snack in your next life.

  3. I just need to say that I love this post. I have many of the same thoughts and stumbling blocks as you where bliss and karma and all that are concerned. I'm beginning to believe in fate and luck and random events and not much else. I want to believe the tao of Terminator 2 - there's no fate but what me make, but I'm not sure we have that much power over the random shit, so I mostly hope for luck when my head pops out of it's cynical hole. I'm babbling. I'm just blown away by your Joey story. Thanks for the back links, I'm a newbie to your blog. You have heart. If there is karma, you should get a pile of points. You also should get lots of points for writing such great posts.
    ps that first link gave me a page not found error?

  4. Thanks for the definition, Em. Anonymous, alas, it was his mom's sister. I know! Ouch! So much for sisterhood.
    And Mel, thank you! (I fixed the link, thanks for catching that too.)

  5. hmm. your pal Joey reminds me of my "friend" Gary....

    btw. Everything you write is great!

  6. Darling Betsy, you are surrounded by good "karma." You are kind and caring and do your best for people. People around you see that and try to do their best for you. You put love in the world and it makes the world love you back.



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