I received a second inspirational email from M, who had just sat for a good part of a week honor the "awakening" of the Buddha. Yesterday I overdid it working on some shelves and paid for it today with barely being able to walk (I'm better now). I needed to go to Costco and was lucky to find a parking space. It was gridlock everywhere. The aisles weren't quite wide enough for the holiday crowd. I decided this was a good place to "practice (zen)," especially since I didn't sit the usual couple of periods at the temple as I usually do on Saturday morning (it was closed). I'm not sure if it was the Aleve, or the muscle relaxant, or that I'm making some kind of progress... but I was able to meander through the store as if it was a quiet forest. By the end of the journey my back even felt better.
As I left I heard the man at the door who makes sure you aren't stealing saying cheerfully to each customer, "Merry Christmas." I wondered if this "au revoir" was slightly skewed toward those celebrating the birth of Jesus. I decided to beat him to the draw with a cheerful "happy holidays" (and maybe make a hint that he could be more inclusive). He upped the cheerfulness to another level saying, "Merry Christmas, captain," and touched me on the shoulder. Captain had good ring to it (better than "you're a jerk"), especially remembering that Edward Steichen, who was a captain in the navy, was called "captain."