I had a half-hour before the train arrived at Trenton to take me to New York. A cup of coffee would be fitting as I lounged around the station. But then I thought water would be better to drink. I found myself daydreaming and as my mind drifted I focused on the image of water. I imagined a clear pond, still and reflective. I thought of a waterfall and its hypnotic rhythm. I imagined breathing in the ionized air. How clear my thoughts were and how relaxed I became. I remembered learning from a woman who taught a class called, "Brain Gym" that water is a great neutralizer. She believed that taking a sip of water between mind exercises cleared the palette of our brains.
"Yes," I thought, "I will drink water instead of coffee!"
I got up from the bench that had become my meditative sitting area and I walked over to the Dunkin' Donuts portable cart where the bottles of water were stacked in the fridge adjacent to the hot coffee dispensers. Slowly I reached in to retrieve a bottle. Then I walked to the counter to pay for it.
"Don't I have a right to be happy?" the young woman behind the counter said as I handed her my money.
"Excuse me?" I said.
"I can be happy too, don't I deserve that?" she continued.
I hesitantly replied, "yes, of course you do," not knowing what I was saying and wondering what the hell was wrong with her.
"You don't know what I am talking about, do you? You don't know the spirit. You only think about what you have to do and where you need to be."
"You have no idea who you're talking to," I replied. "I am a very spiritual person and in fact I was just thinking about the principal of wa..."
"You don't know anything!" she exclaimed with her eyes ablaze and full of hatred.
Then she gave me my change.
I moved away in a confused state and wondered if I was witnessing someone having a nervous breakdown and soon an ambulance would come to take her away.
I stood to the side of the cart in a spot that was close enough but not too conspicuous so I could watch what she was going to say to the next customer.
When the man paid for his coffee, she said with a sweet smile, "have a good day."
I watched her with more customers and there was no hint of that previous venom I had witnessed. She was back to normal.
I've been to that cart often since that day and she waits on me without any hint of what happened between us. Sometimes I buy coffee and other times I get water. Once I gave in and bought a chocolate glazed donut. But never again will I meditate in a train station or any public place for that matter. I guess that's why the yogis tell us to sit in a quiet, safe place when we want to clear our minds.
Who knows what we could conjure up when we have our guard down?
Maybe there was "something" hanging around the Dunkin' Donuts cart that day, like a nasty spirit with a sweet tooth.