Being There

Going grocery shopping can throw me way off in my eternal and internal quest to find my inner state of Being. And that’s too bad. I usually make at least one trip to the grocery store every single day.
The philosopher Eckhart Tolle tells me that I have to learn how to live in the present moment, the state of Now. It just so happens that in most of my present moments I feel ornery, argumentative, obnoxious and opinionated.
Being retired means I can run my errands during the fullness of the day and not just squeeze them into the margins as I did during my working life. It just so happens that it seems as if no one else in Ottawa is tied to a job during the day either. Just try to find a parking spot at a mall or a Loblaws. And don’t tell me to leave my car on the street somewhere. My parking tickets since moving to Ottawa in the year 2000 should have provided enough capital to prevent Tony Clement from laying off half the country’s public servants. Besides, those government workers take a bad rap anyway. Have you ever seen anyone more efficient and dedicated to their jobs than the Ottawa Parking Ticket Storm Troopers ?
At least I’m not alone in my unholy crusade against parking lots. I help to clog up the scene at the Loblaws on Isabella Avenue every day when I go to the downtown YMCA. Yesterday I returned to my car to find it boxed-in by a grocery delivery tractor -trailer roughly the size of Prince Edward Island. The lettering on the side indicated that it was a company from Brampton. I stomped around the truck in righteous indignation. Just because I’m retired and can take all day to do a job that a busy person would get done in fifteen minutes doesn’t mean I have to be patient about it. As I rounded the truck’s cab I came face-t0-face with the guilty culprit.
“Excuse me, are you this truck’s driver ?,” I inquired, trying to find my calm, inner state of Being.
“Yeah, I’m sorry,” the Brampton truck guy apologized. “I’ll move in a minute. I’m a little agitated right now. I just scraped the paint off some poor guy’s car and tore off his rearview mirror. This is the worst store in the country.”
Ah, a kindred spirit. We both recognize a maze of mayhem when we’re trapped in one. And at least I wasn’t the poor devil about to make endless calls to my insurance company.
“Take your time,” I consoled the Brampton truck driver. “I need to get a few things in the store anyway.” Maybe I an taking a few steps on my way to inner peace.
Five minutes later my shins were almost scraped to shreds by a store clerk steering a trolley of toilet paper around the end of an aisle. Grocery stores, I fumed. Congestion, chaos and mayhem reign supreme, both inside and out.
Despite my eternal quest, I can never get to that elusive zone of Being.
That Eckhart Tolle is full of crap, man.

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