zen quaker

A self quanitified zen quaker statistical programmer stumbles through a blog

Tag: meta

Amalgamation OOOO

Okay, yeah, I haven’t posted in days. There’s a couple of reasons for that.

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Commute II

If you’ve been following this blog you may have noticed a spike in posts the past couple of days. This is fallout from my work on changing my sleeping habits. It’s actually been working pretty well. While I had some problems in the first few weeks, I have gotten up on time without any trouble every day for the past week and a half. I am letting myself sleep an extra hour on the weekends, but only if I feel really tired (which I did last weekend).

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Commute I

I could vent some more today. Work was insane. We found more things wrong. I had more of my emails responded to without being read. We got more non-answers from IT and the contractors. But the commute home was much more interesting.

I slept a little late. Normally I try to catch the 7:55 bus. That usually gets me to work about 8:40. I have to be at work at 9:00, so the extra 20 minutes works as a cushion for commute problems. If I sleep a little later, I have to catch the 8:15 bus. That gets me to work right at 9:00, but any little delay gets me there late. This is not a big deal. My boss is mellow about it as long as I get my eight hours of work in. However, it cramps my evening, so I don’t like to do it.

As it turns, a bad previous day at work seems to be a pretty good indicator that I will sleep later. So I slept in late and caught the 8:15 bus today. Knowing that my evening would be cramped, I decided to meditate on the train coming home. I generally think of that as the back-up form of meditation that doesn’t work as well, but it ensures I actually meditate rather than skipping it to make sure I get dinner on time. Today it was actually very good, and better than much of the on the cushion meditation that I’ve been doing lately. Maybe that has to do with the fact that my condo is damn cold because DMV is in the middle of a cold snap and they haven’t turned on the heat yet.

Now, the stretch between Grosvenor and the tunnel to Medical Center is my favorite stretch of the commute. The train is elevated above the interchange between 270 and 495. On one side you have all these great views of different levels of traffic cruising in different directions. On the other side (the side coming home) you have some of that, plus a really good view down into some forested medians, one of which is half covered in ivy. Making sure I have a good view of all this is often a consideration when picking a seat on the train.

So as we left the tunnel from Medical Center today I could feel the urge to watch. Thinking about it, I decided what the hell, it’s not like staring out the window is going to be much worse than staring at the door light. It was the usual nice view, plus a family of deer. We cruised to a stop south of the platform and next to an apartment complex because there was another train unloading on the platform. Normally I don’t pay much attention to the apartments, but today I was in a meditative frame of mind. I was just looking out the window taking in whatever was out there. So for the first time in seven years of taking that train I got a good view of where the parking garage connects to the apartments. There’s this square little park area. Two sides are apartments, with limited windows because who wants to look at a Metro station? One side is the parking garage, with a meter high concrete wall. The fourth side is a walkway connecting the garage to the apartments with a metal railing on each side. The point is, there is a square grassy area with some trees and bushes that is completely surrounded with no way to walk onto it. You could easily hop over the pole or the concrete wall, but I didn’t see any gate in either one to access the area. And there in the middle of it, attached to a pole stuck in the ground, was a garbage can. Why have a garbage can were people aren’t supposed to go? I mean, it’s not like they even use the ones in the areas where they are supposed to go. I don’t know, and I didn’t really worry about it too much, since I was meditating.

As I turned my view back into the train, I realized someone else on the train was meditating. There was a guy in a blue jacket and baseball cap who had taken off his sneakers and was sitting lotus style on the train bench. His hands were on his knees and his eyes were closed (I generally meditate with my eyes open, but to each his own). He seemed to be having some trouble with it. He kept shifting around, shrugging his shoulders, readjusting his legs, and taking deep breaths. He got up and moved to the door closer to the escalator as we pulled into the station, and I always (when meditating) sit there until the train stops, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. But it was interesting. I’ve meditated on the train many a time, especially during periods of intensive meditation. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else meditating on the train. Of course, I can’t due lotus due to knee pain, so I just sit there normally. I don’t think anyone realizes I’m meditating.

The rest of the commute was pretty uneventful except that the driver was one of the fast ones that makes you think the bus is going to tip over when he goes around curves. For a while I was so obsessed with the idea of the bus rolling over that I would sit on the side that would be uphill on most of the turns. That way I would fall on someone else, rather than the other way around. The bus didn’t roll over, thankfully. But he hit the first speed bump on Girard St. so hard that I (in the far back) was literally knocked a foot out of my seat.

Now, I have set up the categories on this blog for different kinds of posts. The Log category is for what happened today type stuff, and toys from Blammo. The Spirit category is for thoughts on Zen and Quakerism. But here, I’ve been talking about both: my daily commute and my meditation. Should I choose only Log for the category, since that is the style of this post? Or should I choose both Log and Spirit, so that the spirit related discussion here can easily be found? And it only gets worse, since this paragraph here really belongs to the Meta category, which is posts about how this blog works.

I have thought of a compromise, and I’m going to go with it for now. I will only use the Log category, since that is the style of this post. But to catch the Spirit and Meta content I will use those as tags. We’ll see how that works. Me and the Thai woman who liked one of my blog posts and is apparently my only reader so far. I tried to read her blog, but it’s all in Thai (or something else I neither recognize nor understand).

Some of you (I’m not sure who beyond me and the Thai woman) are probably thinking, “Craig, you are over analyzing this way too much.” To such I would respond that not only are “over” and “way too much” redundant, but also just deal with it. I analyze. It’s what I do. It’s why I’m a statistician. If you really have a problem with it, I’m sure we could sit down and have a conversation about your problems, after which I could dissect them into discrete chunks and demonstrate their interactions. 8)