Jackson and I were looking for some entertaining bedtime reading so we picked up a copy of Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-fu Cavemen from the Future. It’s fun and it’s silly, as time-traveling cave boys with missing teeth and afros often are. But you know that phrase, When the student is ready the teacher appears? Apparently, if you give me a kids’ book full of Kung-fu Panda-style wisdom* I’m halfway to Buddha consciousness.
I had been trundling along for 76 pages, tra-la tra-la, but when we got to this page I stopped. I probably read it five or six times until Jackson was like, Mom, turn the page, PLEASE, but I couldn’t because all the atoms in my body had lifted apart from one another and I found myself floating between them, grounded in groundlessness, space, and light. It was like Fantastic Voyage combined that other thing with Martin Short when he played a grocery clerk who got accidentally injected into and then sneezed out of Dennis Quaid. Clearly, a decade-plus of yoga has made me susceptible to meditative suggestion (I will relax my teeth, breathe into my forehead, and lift my cervix at the drop of a mat) but it was one of those moments when something I read just fit. There is so much space within me! Ahh. I am more than an inflexible spine or a clenched heart; I have a universe inside that’s big enough for me and Raquel Welch to tease each other’s hair zero-gravity style.
*Did I tell you I once saw David Carradine? I was pulling into the parking lot of the old Vons on Victoria Street, looking for a spot, and these two pedestrians, a man and a woman, were walking reeeeaally slowly in front of me, not over to the side so cars could pass, but right in the middle of the, whatever, car lane. So because I was young and impatient and the world wasn’t responding to my needs quickly enough, I did the old passive-aggressive parking lot move, I drove reeeeaally slowly ten feet behind them, not close enough to run them down but close enough to be all HI, YOU’RE WALKING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE AND I NEED HOT DOG BUNS. Then the man turned around with his stringy hair and rangy physique and I was all, “Oh, shit, it’s David Carradine,” and that was my last thought on this planet because then he bored a hole into my skull with the intensity of his stare. And then I stopped my car and he turned away and he and his lady friend went into the store. At that point I may or may not have driven away and gone to another grocery store, I can’t be sure of what happened because Kwai Chang Caine erased my mind.
But you know who I really loved in that family was the dad, John Carradine. If you haven’t seen it, you should rent The Grapes of Wrath right now, it’s so fucking good.