Monday’s Loaf: Schooled by the Universe


(Photo: Morning in the Provence)

Ok, I know there’s some kind of life lesson in here but I still haven’t figured it out on my own. A number of coincidences converged on me in such a way that I’m sure the Universe is trying to teach me a valuable life lesson. Truthfully, I’m not smart enough to understand it. All comments are welcome to help me put the pieces together.

It all began with last week’s blog. I mentioned that someone once described heaven as an eternal orgasm and I attributed its origins to an Italian man. Italian men are passionate to the point of being irrational. The logic behind my conclusion made perfect sense.

Then I posted a picture for Wednesday’s Photo Challenge of a door on a terrace in the Provence. Coincidentally, the color of the door just so happens to be Provence blue. It’s a special door, in a special part of the world, with a color that reflects its specialness. I think the point is made–it’s special. That’s why I called it a door to paradise in my Wednesday’s post. Lo and behold, I was traveling to that special doorway this week. The only problem was that I had to travel a long way to get there.

An old proverb says that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. My journey began with a few thousand steps as I walked 2 miles to get to a bus that took to me to the airport. I don’t normally like being on a bus. It’s too crowded for my liking. This fact may seem inconconsequential but it’s relevant. I was hypervigilant about all aspects of the bus ride to include my own thoughts.

As soon as I sat down on the bus, I recalled something I had seen on the internet a few months ago. There is a new sign that is posted in Madrid’s busses and trains. It’s a figure of a person sitting down with their legs spread wide open. Apparently, people who spread their legs so as to invade other people’s space have become such a nuisance in Madrid that signs are now needed to curb the problem. 

I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ on my first bus ride in many months so I carefully kept my legs in my own space. I think I succeeded because I made it to the airport without incident. Also, things at the airport and on the plane went suprisingly well. I’m not all that comfortable flying either, but a couple of beers at the airport seemed to do the trick for me. In fact, they even helped me fall asleep soon after the plane took off. Of course, the problem with alcohol is it helps us go to sleep but not stay asleep. I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed within an hour of the flight. Thus, I turned to a movie to help relax me.

I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to find a good movie on the plane nowadays. There was over 40 ‘new releases’ to choose from but none of them seemed worthwhile. Perhaps the problem is me. There is so much crap in the world that I don’t want to be reminded of it in the movies. Rather, I want to escape it. Thus, all I want from a movie is a good laugh. The previews for the movie “Fist Fight” seemed funny so I settled on it. I regretted my choice within 2 minutes. Still, I watched it.

I finished the movie and was even able to sleep for a couple hours afterward. We landed in Rome and I was pleased to have successfully made it overseas. There was just one small leg left to get to that door in paradise. It was only suppose to be a 60 minute flight on an airlines called EasyJet. This is where things got interesting with the Universe and its wry and twisted sense of humor.

On my way to the Provence–the place I consider as close to paradise on earth–on a jet that touted itself as “Easy”, there was a passionate but irrational Italian seated next to me. Worse, this man was the personification of why the people of Madrid posted a funny sign on their busses and trains of a figure with their legs spread open. After poking me in the chest a number of times to which I had to ask him 3 times already to stop, he then proceeded to spread his legs into my compartment. There, I firmly planted my knee on the boundary of my seat area only to have him become irate and make gestures like he wanted to challenge me to a fist fight.

As I already mentioned, I’m not able to glean exactly what the Universe is trying to tell me with the convergence of all these coincidences over the past week. Sadly, there is one conclusion I have reached. If indeed a passionate Italian man came up with the notion of heaven as an eternal orgasm, it is extremely unlikely to be true. Given the irrational nature of what I encountered, I’ve plainly given up on the notion. Hey, if just one of them doesn’t understand what the good people of Madrid meant when they posted signs of figures with their legs spread wide open, I can’t trust any of them to be an authority on heaven. 

It all reminded me of something I had heard about St. Mother Teresa and the way she dealt with an irrational person. She once found a young boy starving on the streets of Calcutta and took him to a bakery. There she begged the man who ran the shop to give the boy some bread. In response, the man spat in her face. “Thank you for mine,” she said to the man. “Now, can you give something to the boy?”

We all have to find a way to deal with irrational people of this world. It doesn’t mean we should resort to fisticuffs. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that we should let people encroach our space. You see, when Jesus urged us to turn the other cheek, he didn’t say back down or cower away. Rather he said stand firm and hold your ground, offering your other cheek as a sacrificial offering to the irrational idiots of the world. There are some who think that his way of thinking doesn’t make sense. But, does it make any more sense that 2,000 years after his teachings we still need to educate people on how to sit appropriately on a bus?

It’s not easy to find answers to the riddles and puzzles the Universe sends our way. We can only try our best as situations arise. But hey, the next time your on a bus, train, or plane, be respectful of the person next to you.

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