Life as an Extreme Sport

Buddhists: Still Not Thieves. (Mostly*)

So, although work decided we didn’t have a full day off for Good Friday, we did have early release. And thus, I was at Trader Joe’s for my weekly shopping trip a bit earlier than usual; the crowd, instead of the normal evening mix of diversity, was mostly older folks. One of these older women was having problems reaching the top shelf to grab a bag, so I got it for her – and got profuse thanks for being helpful. And then.

Older woman: Have a blessed Easter, celebrating his risen son!
Me: *blinks* Thank you.
Older woman: What church will you be celebrating at on Sunday, dear?
Me: Ah, –
Older woman: Oh, *grabs my arm* you must come to [her house of worship]!
Me, as I extract myself from her grip: Thank you, ma’am, but I’m a practicing Buddhist. I hope you have a lovely weekend and holiday!

…and I walked off, thinking that was it. Silly, silly me.

So one of the things I bought this evening was a package of paper towels. Trader Joe’s will ring this up, then place it back in your cart – fine, I had a bag to shove it in once I was outside of the growing madhouse that was the store before Easter. The cashier was wheeling my cart around to me while I paid, when out of nowhere, the older woman I had helped and had the above conversation with, who was apparently in line behind me, reached out, stopped the cashier, and loudly said “make sure she pays for that,” tapping on the paper towels. “Her kind are thieves!”I know that at least one person, who hasn’t met me or tracked down photos, is going to assume that given this response, I must be a person of color and wrongly attributing the older woman’s malice. Nope – I am a ghostly pale, blonde, green-eyed, tall Nordic woman.

I was busy seeing how far I could tilt my head to one side, so the cashier beat me to responding, calmly noting that she had rung up all of my purchases and gently pushing past the older woman – who gave me an utterly venomous look as I walked out.

Ah Jesus. You’re a relatively cool dude, but man, we need to chat about some of your followers.

* Well. Okay, there are a lot of stories about reformed thieves. And then there are some rather…special monks, in all the various lineages. But as a general rule of thumb, thievery is frowned upon.