Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Place on the Floor

Last night I became 10 years old again: I played. Granted, it was in "adult" guise, and I was "playing" with myself (don't get the wrong idea), but it was still bonafide playing.

What does playing look like as an adult? It can look like a lot of things. For me, on many particular nights, it's smoking pot, maybe reading some of my favorite books, and listening to John Coltrane. It is a very simple pleasure and one that gives me the chance to forget everything for the day and just be absorbed for an hour or two. It is this respite from the distractions and responsibilities of the outside world that allow me to sit (or lay) for an hour and give a musician like John Coltrane my complete attention and appreciation...something his music is completely worthy of and, in fact, calls for.

But I must have been feeling the need for respite more than usual last night, because I ended up building a little fort in my living room where i could eat and listen to music and sleep close to the floor. It wasn't a fort proper with all the cushions and accutruments; just a bamboo mat spread out on the hardwood near the sectional, with a pillow and my white comforter laid on top. If I was a clinical psychologist trying to make sense of this, I would say that I have probably been missing the safety of the monastery (including the concrete and wood-slat mattresses) and am attempting to recreate that within the walls of my apartment.

Naturally this is a one-person game; it is far too eccentric for me to call Tim up and say, "hey, do you want to come over my house for a sleepover?" especially since our "sleepovers" as adults usually consist of getting drunk and crashing on one or the other's couch for the night. Still, I wonder what Abbot Ajhan Poh would think of my little sanctuary of candles and tea pots and pillows and jazz and books by Hunter S. Thompson and Thomas Merton and straw mats. I can see his stone-cold face in the candlelight as he emanates a word:

"In-tox-i-ca-tion mind"

and fades from sight, leaving me floating on a bamboo raft in the dark, the notes of a soprano sax swirling underneath like fish, looking for a final resting place.


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