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New York Buddha

Yes.  We will Sulk off the plane in Honolulu with the hopes & dreams of a whole generation in our hands.  I am already entered in the Marathon & I plan to enter Ralph in Pipeline Masters surfing competition…we will not win these weird events, but we didn’t win the Kentucky Derby either.
We did, however, PREVAIL.  Which is as different from winning as a forest is different from the trees. 
Did I say that?
Which means I have to go now, Alan.  The full moon is making me strange. 

—Hunter S. Thompson, from a letter to Alan Rinzler. Re: Curse of Lono.

I may have been too harsh on my fellow New Yorkers when I called them an angry, ambitious people, looking straight ahead and always in a blazing hurry.  I was wrong.  Now after two months, I realize, that blank stare ahead, combined with the swift walking is not necessarily anger or indifference, but a learned survival technique with the added benefit of the purest kind of Buddhist-like detachment. Apparently, every time you react to something by giving it your attention, you really are giving something of yourself –  regardless if it’s a loving gaze, or a contemptuous glare.  If New Yorkers gave their direct attention to everything that was asking for it as they walked out the door, down the street, through the subway, to the coffee shop, past billboards, pamphlets and money seekers, they would be exhausted by the time they got to the office, and totally beat by the time they made it home.  I know because it was happening to me — utter exhaustion every night.

As I sit here at my desk tonight, overlooking my Gotham neighborhood, I can still choose to hear the distant sounds of horns, dogs and helicopters (tuning in at this moment, I hear many cars, a garbage truck, now a horn, siren in the distance, another horn, hallway door slamming, motorcycle, brakes, quiet, two men laughing on the street below,  now a diesel truck, siren getting closer, now a plane in addition to the helicopter) it goes on and on.  It was just a few days ago that I realized for the first time, that the noise didn’t bother me anymore.  My brain is aware, but choosing not to react.  And, I can finally sleep all the way through the night…thank you lord Buddha.

I can even make it to campus without having a nervous breakdown.  Therefore, on my way, I must be staring blankly ahead too. So if you are new to New York, and you walk past and smile at me, don’t think I’m purposefully ignoring you, it has nothing to do with you. It’s all about being a New York Buddha.  You’ll understand soon.

Ralph’s book signing was a huge success.  He gave it up for the fans with a fine gonzo showing. Yes, he gave the readers his full attention.  And, they loved him and the book.  Doug and I decided to wait for him at the bar.  A nice place called “The Half Prince.”  When New Yorkers get off of work, they put on their blank stare, and rush down the street to order their gin-tonics or whatever Buddhist drink they choose to drink the mask off.  Ralph was in fine form, and a bad hangover was had by all.  

Until next time, your friend, looking ahead,

Anita Thompson

P.S. The first three articles of the Constitution were such a success, I think I’ll post the Bill Of Rights Next Time, okay?  Also, I’m writing a paper tonight about a guy named Toqueville, an aristocrat who came from France to observe and write about this country.  I’ll tell you a bit about what he saw.  He’s a very interesting guy.



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