Buddha and I were seated in our usual booth at The Waffle House. He looked wise and merry at the same time. The waitress approached, pencil stuck behind her ear and pad in her pocket. She smiled at him because she couldn’t help herself and said, “What’ll it be, sir?”
He ordered scrambled eggs, waffles, bacon, sausage and grits on the side. She winked at him as she said, “All that food isn’t good for you, Buddha, sir.” She was playing their usual game, Pretend Like You Aren’t Impressed That Buddha Eats At The Waffle House. He always played along, saying this time, “Okay, I hear you. Ya got a point. Hold the scrambled…boil the eggs.” She giggled and then looked at me.
“I’ll have what he’s having,” I said, doing my part to keep the game going.
“Oh, really, look who thinks he’s the Buddha,” she retorted. “That’s your problem. You “think” you’re the Buddha. You don’t know you are.”
Buddha snickered at that. His merry eyes took in the Waffle House accoutrements of fine dining. He carefully tucked his paper napkin into his shirt—no shirt, no shoes, no service— and said, “Say no more. Say no more.” (Points for Buddha for being a Python fan).
“Anybody who thinks they can imitate the Buddha has another think coming. The bird is dead, I say. The bird is dead.” He pointed at me graciously as he said again, “The bird is dead. No bird, no buddha.” And with that the waitress disappeared to bring our orders.
When they arrived, Buddha chowed down just like everyone else in the diner. But his burp echoed throughout the cosmos. The buddha was a fat and happy camper. The Waffle House, for one brief moment, became nirvana and as we left, arm in arm, the waitress stuck her pencil back behind her ear and waited for the next buddha to arrive. She was ready.