It's what you'd expect, really. I'd made my way over, nice day for a walk, I need the exercise, I gotta lotta miles left. And so I head over and am sitting, the table next to me, not a date (too early in the day), rather - I don't know? Indoctrination? He's older, fashionable, explaining his theory of the 10 dimensional God....is this for real? I'm making notes...Manifesters,...Generators, it's like he's been playing some sort of dungeons and dragons, like he watched Harry Potter and believed it, he's got it all worked out, obsessive amounts of detail, and is explaining it all to his "friend", a younger, attractive woman.

I put down my book, there's no pretense of reading, I just stare off abstractedly while he gets down deep into the topic...he's explaining how his theory works with group dynamics in companies, how it works in the real world, in relationships, the jargon, it almost gags you, it's every corporate buzz-word pop-psychology new-age shit ever heard all rolled into one, ... but he seems sincere enough...She's keeping up, with the "very interesting" and "Makes sense..."

...my face betrays me, that smile, like on 'shrooms, she's getting it as well, is she an employee? A potential multi-level marketer? Whats up? and she leans over and says "do you want to join the conversation?", and, oh-boy do I ever but he's sincere enough and I don't think I'd be the sort of conversational partner he's looking for so I apologize, it's all been so fascinating, finish my coffee and go...

The best eavesdropping I've done since leaving the Kootenays...

The daughter calls for a conversation, we've had a few of these, a bit of light banter followed by: "So, what to you think of...". I did really well in English 20 and 30 this year, now she's on to Social Studies. I don't mind, it forces me to think a bit...

..."the most important or transformative ideologies have been...", or words to that effect. This is good as I haven't given it a great deal of thought, but, running through it with her we come to 3: Agriculture, Monotheism, and Monogamy. In that order.

  • Agriculture - in that we go from being one with nature to harnessing nature, agriculture allows for the growth of cities and specialization by groups in mining, metallurgy, pottery, allows for the arts, the development of science, the accumulation (for better or worse) of wealth and power, in short - we went from being one with the land to being it's master, which is as transformative an ideology as there could possibly be.
  • Monotheism - 1 God. We take a pile of errors - praying to various deities, and combine them to make 1 error. 1 error, (presumptive of me - I know, maybe, then, not an error) - is better than many, and this is a huge evolution in thought - if 1 God created the world, we might by that discern the rules by which he created it; if many gods created the world there might then be many rules - as many, conceivably, as there are people - this small change in ideology makes a big difference in how we understand the world.
  • Monogamy - the equal distribution of resources (women), the earliest form of Communism. 1 woman for every pot, as it were. This had the effect of reducing wars (no longer was there are surplus of idle manpower that might usurp a kings position, hence wars were a good idea to keep down the eligible competition) - and allowed civilization to proceed. It's an easy thing to shrug, but without monogamy there would be no debate about equal rights for women - so - clearly I should have 50% of the populations support right there!

I could think about this a lot more and make better arguments, revise, tinker, maybe even abandon some ideas in favor of others, but - hey, it's not my assignment.

After this conversation she'll call her brother, and sound him out with the same questions, then counter with "her" thoughts, essentially rephrasing my own, but giving him an "A" for effort...

 

It takes a month to make a habit or so they say, and I'm on my way, I'm on my way. I get my phone ready, I've got to time this. Get into pose. I've got my own poses.

Then START:

"gotta make a list I'm gonna kill...and...wait! That's a thought...let it go...

...wonder what I'll have for lunch...WAIT! THOUGHT! LET IT GO

..and then I'm gonna...and ... THOUGHTS!! BAD! CLEAR MY HEAD!! IMAGINE SWEEPING THE LEAVES AND THE LEAVES ARE THOUGHTS...

NO, DAMN, THOSE ARE THOUGHTS TOO

...how much money is it there left in the bank? THOUGHT! THOUGHT! LET IT GO!!!

...this place is a dump...gotta clean it...

THOUGHT!!!"

Eventually after a long while of wrestling inane thoughts that just percolate up like the bubbles in champagne I arrive at a place like this:

"...

...I'm bored...THOUGHT!!...

just breathe...THOUGHT!...

..."

END. Open my eyes, stop timer. Record time. Over 22 minutes, a new record, I'm getting better at this...Now the actual time I'm actually in any sort of meditative state - even at 22 minutes, can't possibly be even 1 minute. But I am noticing flickers in the white noise and assure myself that I will get better - qualitative as well as quantitative, like anything it's just a matter of practice...

Of course, of course, another Xmas shooting, police involved, on Xmas day. Details are scant and I refrain from judging, but follow it - it wasn't the only one, Edmonton, Saskatoon each had their own.

But the story comes out, a picture of the victim - an attractive young woman, all over the papers - not a criminal, merely someone responding badly to the polices predatory chase tactics, a series of poor decisions by the police led to her being shot and the police being acquitted. Of all the people that have been shot by the police in the last 20 odd years, how many have had a gun? Very few. Offering violence with a penknife or ball-point pen is enough to get you shot.

So, try not to dwell on it, but there's someone ahead of me in line, a bit older, and he's looking at the front page of the newspaper in disgust: "They had to shoot HER?". He's in disbelief. And then he starts to tell me...

His daughter was killed a few years ago here. Drive by shooting, random, gang related, wrong-place at the wrong-time. No one's ever been arrested or charged. They don't look for them, these people, they have guns, they're dangerous. He knew the last girl to get shot as well, she was crazy, for sure, but she had only a small penknife, no threat at all, just back away, talk her down, but - ever the heroes, they shot her to death. And I'm feeling his pain, frustration, he seems ok with it but the knowing that your daughter was killed, the police will do nothing to catch the killers, we talk about the increase in homelessness, people in the alleys, breaking into cars, ... we're of the same mind, the police aren't here for us, ...

We say our goodbyes, he's local, I'll see him again. 

Disarm the police. Remove the black and white uniforms, cars, armored hummers. We don't need them anymore. For a long time now they've been doing more damage than good.