Zen and the Art of Telling Off Drunkards
Tonight I returned to one of my favorite haunts, The Pink Cow. As I've mentioned before, it's a hip little wine bar in the back alleys of Harajuku that also serves up some of the best Cali-style fusion "I don't know which ethnicity or geographical location exactly this came from but it's damn good" I've ever had. I usually go there to have a nice glass of wine in an environment that can be both chill and hoppin', and is always a good place to people watch. There's a good mix of gaijin and Japanese who frequent the place, and it works. But why was this night different from other nights? Because I was working. In exchange for food, drink and a bit o' cash, I cleaned and bussed dishes and generally did what was asked of me. No lessons to plan, no heavy thinking. Just don't spill that drink. (Don't worry. Years of martial arts training have resulted in highly-developed eye-hand coordination and fine muscle motor skills. I bumped into lots of people, but nothing got dropped.) Many of my students, young and old, male and female, openly admit to the relaxing benefits of household chores. By this point, it should be obvious to all that I have ethical problems with cleaning my room. But there is something calming in the washing of dishes. Maybe because it's food-based, and I've always had a great love of the general concept of food. Food, right? What's not to like? (Okay, mayonnaise on pizza, for one. But that's another column.) The repetitive motions, rinse soap rinse repeat; the locking-in of simple muscle coordination so that the mind can wander, or meditate; the free wine the bartender gives you. All these things contribute to a change of pace that's nice. But let's be honest: I have great admiration for those who can do this for daily work, because I'd wind up going homicidal if dishwashing was my primary income source. The few times tonight I waited or bussed tables were a-whole-nutha story. the benefits of getting to talk to random people are far outweighed by having alcohmoholics belch in your face or try to tell funny jokes about why your shirt says, "I'd rather be masturbating." Honestly. I'd rather dump this beer jammed with cigarette butts into your lap, assmunch. Rude customers are, of course, just part of the business. But give me dirty dishes any day.