i had to park in a dark area, the parking lot near the class was full.
as i locked the car i heard a man shouting. i turned onto the sidewalk, and saw him across the street. with my peripheral vision i saw he was oldish, biggish, hunchedish, in bulky layers of wool clothes, unkempt, stumping along shouting. "I SEE YOU UP THERE!" shout shout shout "OH THAT'S NOT YOU" but obviously not meaning me.
"drunk" was my thought. it's a scary neighborhood even in daylight.
let's see, generate confidence, compassion, fearlessness, openness, INVISIBILITY!
i kept walking he kept shouting. i noticed he was starting diagonally across the street. i began planning my quick turn into the meditation center parking lot. "THERE YOU ARE" he shouted from the middle of the street.
a dainty little cat, white with calico markings, stepped out of the weeded vacant lot ahead onto the sidewalk.
the man became more agitated, shouting "YOU'D BETTER GET HOME! YOU GO HOME NOW!"
the cat headed off the other way, noticed me, stopped turned towards us. the man seemed to notice me for the first time. "oh you're here." then back to admonishing the cat.
i stood still, the cat came our way. 'kitty kitty' i called softly, trying to be helpful.
the cat moved closer to us, then playfully veered across the street and up the driveway of a dilapidated apartment house, the man stumping along after her, waving his flashlight in her direction "YOU GET INSIDE NOW, YOU'RE GONNA GET WET, IT'S STARTING TO RAIN NOW" and it was.
i smiled for a long time.