1 September 2008

Letter 3.21

(The next year Bob rode his motorcycle through the Rockies to see me in Sooke, on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. At the time I had a room in a ramshackle old rooming house. One day I opened my door and saw Bob in my bed with bemused smile. How was the trip, man? Learned something about bikes. Nothing about Zen. Yeah. No real problems -- only going through a bridge. Wha?! Somewhere in Washington his front wheel went through a rotten plank of a wooden bridge and the bike flipped. But you're OK?! Some parts more than others. He poked his foot from beneath the covers: it was in a cast. Wha?!! A busted ankle. My twinge of shocked sympathy burst into hilarious laughter till tears ran down my face.

Bob could tell a joke -- like slowly, slowly setting a mousetrap -- a mellow-toned, most excellent teller of tales -- not even the glint in his eye telegraphed the punch-line. Me, I always just wanted to blurt it out, but Bob made getting there the best part.

Foot-cast humming in the wind, we rode into Victoria and that evening saw a movie: Sleuth with Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine. Some buddy picture. His review: Who did it ain't who done it. Hmm? We all do it -- and did it -- only a Buddha done it.

When he left Sooke -- with his dark, unruly hair and beard, shades, and leather jacket -- some heavenly Hell's Angel with a plaster foot -- he was heading for Mexico. --Hūm)

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