2005.05.30 at 21:49 doyle says re May 30, 2005 : life is in the mundane details--the key to happiness is not just knowing this, but believing it--you have a head start as a mick--just having food on the table is a fucking miracle. god bless. the baby is coming in the next 36 hours-a

2005.05.30 at 21:49 doyle says hunch, but a strong one.

Wisdom plus prognostication from the Good Doctor! And how can we argue or doubt him? Well, my wife is hoping that he’s wrong with his prediction at least, since that would most likely make the new baby’s birthday the same as my three year-old son’s, but frankly I could care less, since the two anniversaries are going to be too close for little kid comfort in any case.

I was thinking about what Doyle said while I was meditating today. Of course, that’s a no-no. You’re not supposed to be thinking about anything, really. Then again, you’re not supposed to get distracted by fighting the inevitability of random thoughts either. But hell, it’s that damned-if-you-do-and-don’t essence of Zen that attracted me to it in the first place

I should backtrack a few hours. Heather, Declan and I went to Northwest Folklife at Seattle Center this morning. Our first stop was a stage where some girls were doing Irish dancing (god help me!). Now Declan loves dancing, but he was a little queasy from the bus ride down, so he kinda just sat in his mamma’s lap and watched, rapt. I pulled the stroller over to the side of the stage so I wouldn’t be blocking everyone’s view. In front of me were two toddlers, girl and boy, slightly smaller than my boy, dancing away to the infernal Hibernian strains. The little girl was a gorgeous strawberry blonde delight, clearly a danger to hearts decades hence. And she twirled with delight and abandon. A plain day miracle. My favorite kind.

Then I felt someone touching my shoulder. “Paul? Paul Mullin?” I turned and saw a familiar face, though the woman was at least a decade older than the image in my head. “Kim” was the name that flashed into my head.

“It’s Kim! I knew it was you. Mark said he was sure because of the scar.”

“Of course. Kim. We worked together at My Friend’s Café.” I was starting to put it together. Kim and I shared one of the shittiest restaurant gigs ever, 50¢ over minimum wage plus zero tips, slinging breakfast at Green Lake yuppies in a café run by a grand Canadian git named Wayne.

Then Mark walked into my field of vision. His name flashed into my head much like “Kim” did. He, too, looked a decade past my memory of him. Did Mark work at the café, too? I couldn’t remember.

And then Kim was kind enough to piece it together for me, while not letting on that she knew I was half clueless. The short story is this: Kim hated the café gig even worse than I did. She was desperate for something new, and my then live-in girlfriend, soon-to-be-ex-wife, who was banquet manager down at the Rainier Club, landed Kim a job waitressing down there. Mark was a busboy at the club. Kim met Mark-- I think their first kiss may have even been at one of our notorious parties—and the rest is history, except for Annabelle. Annabelle is the future.

The strawberry dancing miracle that had delighted me to begin with. Kim and Mark’s two-year old daughter. Annabelle.

It really wasn’t that extraordinary an episode at first glance. I’d half-forgotten about it until I was sitting there in zazen, thinking about what Doyle messaged. But let’s break it down for a moment. If it hadn’t been for me, slaving away in the steaming food grime and coffee grit of that café another lifetime ago, then meeting Kim and introducing her to the great failed relationship of my life, then this little wonder wouldn’t be. And it wasn’t anything in particular I did. It wasn’t the power of my words as a playwright, or my sharpened perception or deepened compassion as a Buddhist. No. It was just me, living, struggling connecting to someone else, living, struggling: and, thirteen years later, here’s Annabelle!

Lao Tzu, via Ursula Le Guin’s “version” says: “Live long by looking long.” In Tao years, Doyle’s six-hundred and forty-nine years old. Today I’m exactly one day older than I am.

And Doctor Doyle, if you’re reading this, we’re approximately six and a half hours into your 36 hour window as I type.