SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 202: The Rock Of Compassion

Meditation is in the air. Something that becomes frighteningly real to me as I feel my vehicle puttering its last sips of octane from a bone dry and suffering fuel tank.

“No! It can’t be!” I break my Pacific Ocean ogling mind of its relaxed numbness during my end of day commute on Highway One.

Oh man! I’ve not run out of gas since my teens, plus my wife reminded me to fill up on my return from today’s shoot, “You have enough gas to get there, be sure to fill up near the studio before you come home, or you won’t make it back.”

You have to know a little about Highway One, locally referred to as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). It’s a beautiful drive, beaches, eateries, high-end residences and wonderful weather, but very sparse of the now very much-needed petrol fillery (for us Yanks, gas stations).

My rubber tire chariot shutters, the traffic is jammed and as the beads of sweat begin to form above my upper lip, I decide shut off my mind in accepting my self-inflicted fate. “Thank you sir! May I have another!” echo’s in my subconscious as I prepare for an anticipated assault of “*!*%#!!!” from the many traffic bound car gladiators; all of whom most likely have years LA highway training in dealing with such an occurrence.

The only temporal comfort I have is the Automotive Club card in my wallet, they have fuel and will bring it to the rescue of my shame. But even with that, I will still have to feel the welts from whatever road blocking road rage is about to be unleashed upon me.

My stead is fighting nobly, and in compassion for its shuttering gasps for propellant, I hail upon the Octane Angels to carry us forward as one. As I mentioned, meditation is in the air.

Slowly the stream of traveling coastal nomads move onward, many noticing my lunging ride, as I pathetically scan the horizon for any sign of refueling salvation.

My spirit is almost broken as I raise my brow in sharing a moment of please forgive me to the motorist angrily squinting at me through my rear view mirror. The fight is almost over and as I reach a patting hand to the glove compartment in acknowledging the effort of my breathless mount, Sir Honda, a light befalls upon us, The Castle Chevron, our gateway to the living flow of mid grade (no one can afford the good stuff anymore).

We coast in on momentum only and with a slow halt, find ourselves kneeling before the silently sturdy judgments of pump five. The Octane Angeles have been good to us this day, and in tribute to their kindness, we honor them with an offering of momentary silence; peace has fallen upon us.

Thank you brave Sir Honda, your effort has been valiant, you shall be knighted with the crest of windshield clean.

I raise the staff of squeegee, and in the tradition of the ages, take part in the watery knighthood of my enduring metallic protector, “Arise Sir Honda and take your place before the filling hose of redemption, you have saved us.”

The ceremony is over, my heart is full, and my will is released from cares. “Travel forward and go in peace,” the Octane Angels silently whisper, and as they do, another wandering traveler of PCH arrives in the courtyard of Castle Chevron. Un-mounting his steed, he joins me in hailing offerings from a lesser judgmental pump four.

“Welcome weary traveler,” cruises my mind as we share a nodding smile of unity in quest. As we do so, an internal intuition exhorts, “Introduce yourself to the crested Sir Harley-Davidson, for he has wisdoms to pronounce.”

The trumpets sound, hailing from the Canyons of Topanga, and mounted upon Sir Harley, stranger now friend Terry speaks.

“People should insist on enjoying life. To step out of their own way and make room for another.” – Mr. Terry

Terry is full of life and carries an infectious spirit of peace. “This may sound a bit metaphysical, but I feel there is a reason I ran out of fuel and ended up here, and maybe it is because we are supposed to be speaking,” I present as I converse with Terry.

“I think so too,” he reacts, “I was just up the street at Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. It’s a very peaceful place, I go there often to relax in its quite gardens. And I also think that we are supposed to be talking.”

We agree to leave it at, “Sometimes things do happen for a reason.”

Terry advises, “People should insist on enjoying life.”

Insist on enjoying life, not simply enjoy life, but insist on enjoying it, Terry directs us.

Wow, one word, insist, has changed a partially passive statement, simply enjoy life, to a powerfully motivating call to action, insist on enjoying life.

The many cities Terry visited while teaching English in Asia

A call to action he has been following since 1999 when he decided to step away from a career as a social worker to embark on a traveling excursion that would take him to nineteen countries, inclusive of a three-year term traveling Asia on his Harley.

“I’ve seen a lot of things and have experienced many cultures. Everybody should find a way to travel. Traveling is the only way to fully know each other in understanding and accepting cultural differences and learning to enjoy one another for who we are.” Terry reports.

Terry is a world explorer, and through his explorations, he has observed many ways of life. Observations that direct him to share a bold charge, one that at first may sound elitist, but once understood, is world bonding in scope.

Per Terry, “We all need to take care of our lands, especially here in the USA. We need to put more emphasis on our humanity and our society if we are to make our land better.”

In this, Terry is not necessarily talking of foreign policy, the economic situation, or of any religious right or wrong. What he is talking of is people loving people. Our land being the people… And that’s right… the people being each other.

He speaks of everybody interacting and respecting one another for their differences and of not judging anyone based on what is seen on the outside.

And in Terry’s statement of “We need to take care of the USA,” he is charging us to open our outlooks in building a stronger and more unified country, even families, neighborhoods and communities. The logic is sound.

’Remember ten years ago, the ‘We Are The People’ thing. We need to need to keep that perspective,’” Terry reflects.

“So what are you doing now?” I inquire.

“Right now I’m going to my grandsons school performance, I’ve got a great family, we have a lot of fun together.”

And per career, “I’m a studio teacher.”

Never judge a book by its cover, my friends.

Terry is the rock of compassion.