Tall Iced Improvaccino

Today I improvised a scene at Starbucks. I played a "Rainman"-esque character who questioned another man about his "service dog." I started out by complimenting him about what a beautiful service dog he has. Then I asked him if the dog was helping him read the newspaper (obviously the dog wasn't because the newspaper was on the counter in front of the man, out of eye-level of the dog).
The man asked me if I was with the "Service Dog Police." I assured him that I was not. He then asked me "What does that sign say?" I read it aloud so everyone in the store could hear. "We welcome service dogs."
"What else does it say?" he asked me.
I looked at the small print. "No pets, please!" I cried, placing extra emphasis on the word "pets."
A little boy, oblivious to this inane altercation, came over to ask the man if he could pet the dog. Of course, the man obliged.
That's when I turned to the little boy. "One day when you grow up you can have a service dog and bring him to Starbucks."
The boy said, "Oh, I don't live around here."
"That's OK," I told him. "It's a California law anyway and you don't have to pay attention to it even if you are from here."



I don't have any memory of admiring flowering trees before I moved to Japan. Until I had lived in Los Angeles, I had no appreciation for how green my home state of New Jersey can be.

If you're around people who take notice of the little things, it rubs off on you. You suddenly start to see these things in such clear detail as if you've just gotten a new prescription in your eyeglasses. When you're around people who just take things for granted--people who don't see beauty in everything that makes up this reality--it becomes a challenge not to get sucked into that state of mind.

San Diego seems to be full of these trees that for most of the year look quite barren. Then suddenly they become an explosion of purple. They are neither common in Japan nor New Jersey. I'm red-green colorblind, and perhaps because (or maybe in spite) of this, purple comes across as extra vibrant to me.

Maybe people who have lived in Southern California all their lives don't notice these trees that litter that landscape with lavender. All I can see is a natural wonder worthy of a celebration.


Buddha for "You"

So I enter the meditation hall, take off my sandals, and look around the room. Several people are seated in chairs along one side of the room and the back wall. Only a few are cross legged on the cushions that line the floor. I pick a cushion that has an extra cushion on top, perfect for keeping me raised enough so my long legs don't fall asleep, and sit down. "Excuse me, I put that cushion there to sit on," says a woman sitting in a chair. 
"Oh," I reply. "Sorry."
I look up and see another high cushion. I go over to it and plop down.
"Excuse me, I put that there for him to sit on," says a man sitting in a chair next to his friend, who is also sitting in chair. "If you want an extra cushion, there are more in the corner," he adds.
Why the hell are you people sitting in chairs if you want to sit on a cushion?! And if there are extra cushions available, why do you care if I sit on "yours"?!
My mind raced with these thoughts as I went to take "my" extra cushion from the corner of the room.
Enlightened people crack me up sometimes.