Wednesday, July 25, 2001

this morning i was reminded of something.

when, in 1967, i was Discharged from the U S Air Force, in San francisco, i had an Interesting experience. I was overseas for several years, and this san francisco was my very first return to the states for those years. after Discharge Processings, i was sent by bus from the base to the YMCA, in downtown san fran. i got off the bus and then went inside and registered to stay a week. i went upstairs to unpack and clean up: then i want supper as now it was late, about 8 pm, and dark outside.

there were many many cafes and diners on the street out side and thus i Chose one of them and as i felt tired i wanted peace and Quiet. i chose a table far far removed from people...a table that was an Island of calm, surrounded by empty tables, where people were sitting far off in the distance.

"ah...san franciso", i told the waitress, "clam chowder please".

she duly brough it to me, with whatever else that i ordered and as she left i bent over to salt....
pepper...sugar...cream...stir that coffee.

I then looked up withspoon in hand, ready to taste the stew, only to see....

to see an old man just getting ready to pull out a chair at my table and then he immediately sat down without apology or askings, with coffecup in hand!!

He looked at me deeply, and intently and he said...
"I can COPE with LONELYNESS"
---he THEN began to talk non-stop, telling me the story of his life as i began to eat and i had BETTER begin to eat as this guy went on and on and on...i remember, now, that i left him, eventually, breaking his narration, with the "excuse' of tiredness....he had hours and hours and hours yet to go!

eventually, i found out that this area of san fran was the "retirement district". there were a hundred cafes and cafeterias, and after six pm, they all were filled with HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of retirees, each one person to a table, ALONE ALONE ALONE, nursing a cup of coffee for hours and hours a-l-o-n-e!

I wonder what i would take to assuge, heal, these people?
take a person probably a year or more just to listen non-stop to one of the lonely retirees, while he processes his life.
Interesting: most of these poor souls have one thing in common, they seem not to be able to SYNTHETHIZE or come to conclusions, about their experiences of life. as they talk non-stop, it is of the nature of literalness, every moment must be played back as if they are showing a fileclip of their life, moment by moment. there is no introspections or Meaning Gotten: they can only pour back the video and sound, not the STORYLINE of their life.
---why i had such a man, once, try to tell me his trip down from Chicago.
"left house at 7:13. drove 4.2 miles to Macdonalds, along fourth ave two blocks then hang a right
down eddy ave three blocks, then right at Foresman's toMacdonalds.
----I had a bisquit with eggs at $.99 and coffee a large cup at $.85. i put in four sugars and two creamers.
then the total was $3.76. i ate for 23 minutes...."
---------yes, i stopped him by the time he got to Kentucky...but golly....litteral litteral....every mile, every name and every minute and every cent...

no Processings....no meanings...no Soul.
ask him "what does it MEAN, you trip down to st. pete?"........duh!
"what do you FEEL about the farms in Southern Illinois"?........blank.
"do you prefer a diner over macdonalds"?.....hmmmmm.
"how do the people of Illinois compare to the people in Indianna"?......[silence]

hmmmm.....perhaps THIS is what is meant, in the Owner's Manual, of the Human race, by the
phrase..."the poor in heaven"!
for no matter how rich in THINGS or even of the quantity of life-experiences in a 80 year old long lifetime of living: if there is no Soulgrowth[ the Soul is comprised, and made up of, MEANINGS!]....
if there is no soul developed, then people like this end up in heaven with a poverty-sticken soul!