Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Rubin Museum and this guy and his tulips

"Things are not what they seem, nor are they otherwise."

That's a quote written on the Rubin Museum. It is not attributed.

Yesterday, as I was about to enter the Subway, a man stopped me and said excuse me, can I ask you a question. I was in a little bit of a rush, but the man seemed earnest, holding a five-dollar potted plant, in front of my favorite bodega. He asked me the best way that he might ship the plant he was holding to his mother in California. I told him that there is a whole network of people waiting on the other end to bring his mother flowers if he so chose to order and send them to her. He said, oh, that's how it typically works? And I told him yes, I believed so.

I did not, however, wish to crush his dream if he was hellbent on those wilting tulips making their way to his mother, so I told him another route would be to pack that puppy in a box, as tightly as he could, with padding or pillows or the new biodegradable packing foam, and pray for the best. He asked me if that is something I would do, use the biodegradable foam, and I said maybe not on a plant, but sure, it's much better for the environment.

I re-descended the stairs and completed my journey to Manhattan. I got to the Rubin Museum at 8:30, just in time to accidentally catch their Talkingstick program. Talkingstick, apparently takes place every second Friday of the month. Last night one of my favorite comedians, Master Lee, was there and a fabulous woman named Janice Erlbaum, and a man who simply called himself "Mr. Patrick." The major thing I learned about Mr. Patrick is that he took a vow of silence for twenty years and will not live anywhere he can not park in front of. So now he's talking and lives in Harlem. I missed the intro to the talk, but I am assuming the theme had something to do with the Dalai Lama, or meditation, or mindfulness.

I learned this story about the Dalai Lama:

The Dalai Lama was meeting with Chairman Mao and Chairman Mao asked him if Tibet had a flag and the Dalai Lama told him that they did. So Chairman Mao looked at him and said, "Good, I think that it is good that Tibet has a flag, and I think that you should keep it."

So, the Dalai Lama says, if there is ever a problem, if anyone says anything about the Tibetan flag, just tell them I saw Mao, and Mao said it was ok.

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