American Contemporary Inspirational

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

I walk 50 paces...wait. Am I some soldier in Ambrose Pierce's eerie "Bridge" story that I am pretending to walk to the gallows...? So, I saunter outside [quickly googles the word to see if it was indeed apropos] and wait a gazillion kalpas or Brahma's wink to catch the 29 bus northbound (or was it south?) on Knott/Woods. I do this every other month. I am a caregiver for my mother and the time I get free for some "me time" I go around Dharma-Bumming around the city as if some Tibetan goin' a-trottin' 'nd trekkin' around Orange County with the yoga-boba infusion in a chogue past the scenes of Mobil Gas Station holding a phone charger like japa mala or say circumbulating around the main diameter in search for Amitabha.


It's a beautiful sunny day. I go outside. I am exhausted being my mother's caregiver and need some self-care. You know the whole-put-on-the-oxygen-mask-before-pullin'-the-bitch-out-the-water-with-her-hairbun-like-Munchaussen...

Aaarghh... [At this the author takes a quick Swisher break struggling to contain himself and his cadence and German neoexpressionism splatterin' a Kandinsky or Pollock on a digital canvas like the braided rope that tried to contain Odysseus or a zaftig whose bras clocked in double-overtime trying to contain her voluminous, voluptioux, voracious mammaries...]

And such thought-pattern whirrs at a pentatrillion bytes as I wait on the bus stand. Alone. For forty-five minutes. The reason I do this is because it not only helps me to rewire my brain and mind but also curb my Swisher addiction.

The scene starts to slide past like each frames unravelled one Japanese screen after another as the tchk ASMR-sound of the hydraulic-closing door gives away to a Mexican lady and her short friend carrying a baby and three grocery bags from Vallarta, the violence of graffitti sprayed all over the Smoke store's wall like a Guernica mayhem, the buckets (I am sure it has a name) -like objects that seemed to be like alien-pods that held all the spa-ladies in their leisure hours, the glyphs of chilaquiles, pozoles, huarache along with their badly-cropped photos from the Ethernet... to the Gen Z kid in either a Nirvana or Slipknots hoodie to the quiet highschooler who almost fell over onto the street trying to avoid the trashcan that blocked the exit door... as airwaves intermittently clouded "....until bus comes to a complete stop. Por favor..." as standees blatantly violated all the known rules furiously pulling the cord like a Pavlovian-Milgram experiment participants until "STOP REQUESTED" lit up the LED panel... this is what I came for.

But the high soon wore off. It dropped me off in a random intersection. Or I pretended so. Then I started walking across Gilbert Avenue to wait for the next one going towards Tustin. Then I realized although I am carrying the phone charger, I left my Samsung in the car.

I was left in uncertainty. Something I truly hate. You are in that twilight zone like a Schrodinger's passenger where you don't know how the gravitational pull of time might stretch or shrink conforming to your psychology.

Einstein once said. When you are with a pretty girl, time seems to fly by real quick. When you are having a bad time, time seems to drag on. He wanted to explain his theory of relativity and boil it down to a nutshell for the laymen.

And that's exactly how it felt. The liquid torture of a Chinese water cell where the drip-by-drip Catherine wheel seems to churn on as the Thorazine annhilates you into an anaesthetic oblivioun where you are both hangry and too-numb-to-react with the Guantamo interrogator pouring the water ever-so-slowly... I started to curse America. Americans. Californias. White people. Black people. Hispanic people. Rich people. Yes. Suddenly, I became extremely cranky. I felt like a bitter angry victim mindset incel who blamed everyone else but himself. I loathed communism, but as the Teslas and Benz zipped past-by I scoffed at capitalism. Biden's America! Huh. Bidenflation. It became cold and cloudy. The sun seemed to disappear. Trump. I hated conservatives. This rich-ass Tim Pool bros with "Let them buy Tesla" mindset or that irritating-face of Knowles (forgetting the fact that the guy barely even knows me)... all the subconscious rage, angst, spite, venom and clusters of Jungian shadows evaporated from deep in my chthonic-sphere and rose into mighty coils of demonic 200 feet long by 30 feet wide succubus snakes.....

The manifestation of the 96 Tustin-Orange Southbound line interjects my thought. The June gloom made me so bitter and hangry and cranky that I was hateful towards society. Not a single guy had the decency to come up to me and ask "Hey buddy. Are you okay? Do you need help?" Nay. Everyone to their own game. Own capitalistic dog-eat-dog world gain of oneuppin the other in a fight-to-the-hilt to see who'd die for the spot as Eminem once Patiently quoth.

Why are people so cold and aloof? Boundaries. Is this the endfall of that? Can't people be a little...bit.... more nice? But the thing is.. given my Karen entitlement, had people would come up to me and act friendly trying to help, I would hiss n bark too! You can't please people like these... Wait. Is this me who am I projecting? Or my mother?

As I get off the next drop, the sideshow from the palanquin-screen of the bus-windoe zoetropically ends. I am spent, frazzled, and absolutely knackered. The wait wears you down. It seems to be every Navy SEAL's kryptonite and Achilee's tendon to ring the bell. Old Misery masquarading as Father Time.


Man's ultimate antagonist. It will break down the toughest of prisoners confessing them to burst out their whole guilt-tripping mind to the priest-warden in her omphaloskepsis and self-contemplation of the ur-barbaric level of psychopathic mindset one must possess for a mother to strangle her own 3 month old babies...

Yes. I made very little. And had only 12 dollars. I spent 5 bucks for bus pass and had only the rest for a Carl's Jr. limited-edition classic combo for 5.99 plus tax. Finally, I was satiated but the homeless people who clothed their poodle... that alone-imagery ruined my appetite.

I started walking. I estimated another 3 bus change and 2 hours before home. I was essentially homeless. I hear that Roman senators... the Senecas and all who used to have large estate would often venture to be homeless for a day once-in-a-while to refill, reset and recharge their batteries upon coming home.

The black guy with the shopping cart seemed to be cool. He gave me the right direction to the bus stand as I jaywalked across Bison Lane. Due to detour, I have to take a miniroute for another connector. But after I get onboard surprising the jolly fat blonde bus lady gave a curt response when I asked if it crosses Magnolia.

"Simon Avenue."

But does it mean I can get off at Magnolia.

"SIMON AVENUE." She slightly raised her pitch.

"You know I just asked a question. It doesn't hurt to answer." I muttered and went to the back.

Am I carrying negative energy with me bundled up in my kundalini where only Alexander's sword can swoop and slash the Gordian knot to release me and set me off free Prometheus-bound?

As I get on Pico and June, I notice that the bus stand is next to a park and there are lot of gnarly trees. So I grab hold of a nub, put my feet on a burl as if Honnold himself(!) and perch on a lateral anconda-branch like an Angolese sloth or lemur.

Pirsig once said. The Zen in the mountain is the one you take above. Also Spiras of the world and Moojis and other New Age nonduality teachers and gurus would have you see that enlightenment is not to be found in the woods or deep in the caves of Himalayas or at the zenith. Sometimes it is at the most ordinary moments of buji-ness that it is to be found. Sometimes it is at the nadir.

The breeze was fair. The sun peeked again. And five minutes later the transport manifested.

It was a friendly black lady who greeted in a lilting voice. Whole bus was empty but one faceless person at the back.

I sit down and a bit relieved that I only have to take one more bus. The bus took off and after ten seconds it came to a stop. It was in an obtuse neighborhood in Santa Ana which I barely recognized. It wasn't ghetto nor some utopia. Your typical middle-class boring scenery.

And then suddenly the whole thing dropped off. My entire mind became still. It came to a still point like a Patanjali stillness. All the baggage and wisp of nimbocummulous thoughts in my sky just vanished. Complete and entire dissolution of the self. Egoic self rather.

As the ASMR hydraulic noise whooshed comingling with the cool airconditioner of the bus and the cleanliness of the bus as well as the emptiness and silence instantly took me to a state of mushin.

My entire mind became empty. I have been here before. But I wasn't expecting this to strike me so-suddenly in this ordinary place at an ordinary time. I wasn't even getting a good view of the city. My entire vision was blocked by the backwall of the bus rider. My gaze became soft but tranfixed not focussing on anything entering a mild state of trattak-meditation. The bus was idling and vibrating in a subdued muffled way and everything was still and quiet and.. clean.

The bus lady was frozen as was the passenger. So was the time and I felt so relaxed and light. I wish we could stay here forever.

Clarity. Absolute clarity. This is Buddhahood. This empty state of mind and superconsciousness is the mind of Buddha.

Do dogs have Buddha-mind? A monk once asked Joshu. At this Joshu was enlightened. Or was he?

As soon as the hyraulic sound whooshed again with the signal turning green all these thoughts came trawling in at thunderspeed. My trance was broken. I was snapped back to reality. It only lasted twenty seconds max. Grace has ended. Like a broken and bruised Adam falling on ground with broken bones, I return Earth.

June 05, 2024 23:58

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Ralph Aldrich
12:33 Jun 13, 2024

Very good writing.


Zeeshan Mahmud
19:21 Jun 13, 2024

Thank you. Very kind.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Zeeshan Mahmud
00:01 Jun 06, 2024

Author's note: I wouldn't dare to pretend to win a contest with a stream-of-consciousness submission. Still I entered hoping to get some pair-of-eyes to showcase my writing. Thanks for reading.


Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.