My Nirvana Moment!

An April 23rd letter to the editor of the The Nation MY NIRVANA MOMENT Brooklyn, NY

It’s 1:30 Wednesday, the last day of January, and I’ve just gotten off the Staten Island ferry to take the Brooklyn-bound R train. The subway’s closed, streets are blocked off, police cars everywhere. Oh God no! It can’t… Then I remember Bush is in town. All right, I’ll walk up a few blocks to the A. Beautiful day, happy to be alive in New York City. I love my job. Perfect time for a giant Snickers bar. I hand a buck and a quarter to the newsstand guy. The thing’s still frozen. Usually I have no patience and break the frozen candy with my teeth. However, tens of thousands of dollars in recent dental bills for caps, crowns, bridges and God knows what else remind me vaguely of the Buddhist concept of slowly savoring each morsel. This is what I’m doing as thirty or forty police motorcycles roar by. There he is, passing before my eyes on Broad Street. Even through the tinted glass I can see the smarmy “What me worry?” smirk. Instinctively I stick out the middle finger of both hands and stand there quietly moving my arms up and down.

Now, some of us spend entire lifetimes searching for, and perhaps never finding, that perfect moment. Well, all I can tell you is the taste of that slowly dissolving chocolate–the caramel, the nuts, the nougat–the sun shining down through the canyons, the half-completed Times crossword under my arm, and the absolute freedom for a 60-year-old guy to express, in the most immature of ways, my total contempt and disdain for the leader of the free world… God I love this country.

Bill Bartlett, director Imagine Project