I tend to be a happy drunk which I consider a good thing, because if I ever go crazy, then hopefully I will be a happy crazy person, which I am starting to think might be, quite nice.
Cub and I were on our daily train a few weeks back, and it seemed like another humdrum uneventful commute. People coming, people going, Cub holding a nearby pole from her stroller doing an exaggerated side-to-side sway, essentially riding the subway like a big girl, like the rest of us. It’s a real crowd pleaser when she does this. Anyway, at a stop about mid-ride, a young guy got into our car. He was lean and tan, thin in the way yoga teachers or raw diet enthusiasts are thin and all sinewy muscle and flexible looking with a healthy “high-pro” glow. He seemed to be southeast Asian, which conjured more yoga vibes, khaki pants rolled at the cuff, oversized sweatshirt, flip flops… and a stuffed animal type lizard perched carefully on his left shoulder. Now this was no typical stuffed animal lizard, it was more like a velveteen rabbit stuffed animal lizard, made from mis-matched fabrics – maroon corduroy on half and woolly plaid on the other with some purple floral print on the tail, one dangly button eye and the other socket just a thread x where it looked like the button had fallen off and left the defunct threads there looking like a cartoon black eye. Now a stuffed animal velveteen lizard on someone’s shoulder is a little strange, but the thing that pushed this over the top of the strange-o-meter was the Home Depot grade chain around the lizard’s neck, draping down over the yoga boy’s shoulder, wrapped numerous times around his khaki belt loop, and then padlocked in place for safe keeping. This was not a pocket watch gauge chain, or even a dog walking grade leash, but full-on industrial thick chain. Possibly when traveling with lizards – real or velveteen – on the NYC subway it is good to make sure they are properly tethered, for their safety as well as the safety of the other passengers. But in my mind this was the clue that this guy was a little crazy.
Yoga boy and his velveteen lizard ended up in a seat across from Cub and I, and after a few minutes I could see Cub notice the lizard, begin to ponder the lizard, or at least just realize that this was new and different, this shoulder riding, motley fabricked, eye-missing lizard. Her wide-eyed gaze was all that was needed for yoga boy to look at me, lean forward, and say, “She is beautiful” and break into a wonderful high-pro glow smile. Of course this made me smile, and we rode along like that for awhile, Cub holding the pole doing her exaggerated “riding the subway sway” while staring curiously at the velveteen lizard; yoga boy in a peaceful commuter shavasana; and me taking it all in. When we neared our stop and I started to do the impending departure rustle, he leaned in again and asked me her name. “Cub,” I replied. He then bent down in front of Cub, leaned in a little and said directly and intently to her wide open eyes, “Cub. Welcome to this world. You are in, for a beautiful, ride.”
Now of all the crazy things a person can say to you on the subway, I have to admit this was not what I expected. And as we walked away from the train I couldn’t stop smiling, like we had just received an unexpected blessing from an unlikely sage. And then I started to think that maybe being crazy, if it happened in a certain way, could be a really pleasant thing. Like if all the crap and worry and stress just melted out of our brains, and we were left with only the good, where velveteen lizards on our shoulders brought joy, and our words of wisdom to a toddler on the subway are that life will be wonderful, if this was all that was left in our minds, then crazy could be good. Actually this is what many of us strive for in our spiritual practices, to see the good, to see the beauty, to approach the world filled with awe and wonder. And maybe this yoga boy with his shoulder lizard was crazy, or maybe he was evolved. And possibly those things could be the same and we just don’t know it. And maybe because I’m a happy drunk, I will be happy crazy if I ever go crazy, and that seems sort of beautiful and maybe okay. And maybe I will evolve, and all my hard spiritual work will pay off, and I shouldn’t worry about things so much, and how I’m doing, and if I’m evolving, and simply remember that this can be, that this is, at its core, a beautiful ride.
Tip of the day: Keep an eye out for elderly people and pregnant ladies entering your subway car. If you spot one and offer your seat first it makes you feel like a champ. If you don’t notice and someone next to you offers first it makes you feel like a gump.