Secular thoughts in a hospital car park

My reading of this piece

I was sitting in the car park listening to a podcast about secular Buddhism. The car was parked in the hospital car park, and I was waiting. It was the worst kind of waiting because I had no idea how long it would last, so the podcast about secular Buddhism seemed as good a way as any to pass unknown time.

It took about a minute to take against the podcaster and his secular Buddhism. It was round about the time that he promoted his website, talked about the joy of having his three kids and living in a small town in God-knows-where in the United States, his perfect life, his interest in hang-gliding, paragliding – something kind of gliding – and his entrepreneurial side, making camera equipment, tripods. We were encouraged to visit that site.

I found myself thinking about what the hell secular Buddhism could possibly be.

Anyway, the person I was waiting for got back from the appointment and the news was predictably grim.

I started the car and that’s when I found out the battery was flat. It’s a new car – new to us – bought second-hand, a year old, low mileage, but these things happen, and they pick their moments.

On the way to the appointment we discovered we had lost the card wallet with the insurance card and, of course, the car insurance details. So, I was there, stranded, cursing secular Buddhism, in a hospital car park, in a car with a flat battery. Time was ticking. My phone battery was running low, the internet connection was on and off, I hadn’t paid the phone bill, so the line wasn’t working but the message telling me to pay it was. It was hot and I had 45 minutes to go and pick my son up from school.

Then I remembered my insurance broker had once told me never to hesitate to contact him, for anything, I I had joked, “I’ll test you. I’ll be calling you at 3AM, asking for life advice.”

So, I called him. To cut a long story short, within 15 minutes he had appeared in person on a moped. He is in his mid-to-late sixties, full of energy and goodwill. He had already phoned the battery recovery service and he had come over to make sure I was OK because I had explained the bit about the hospital car park.

All’s well that ends well. The car works fine. I paid my phone bill. The internet connection seems to be working. And now we are just waiting for the results of the exams.

But I’m not going back to secular Buddhism. Not in a million lifetimes.


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