They gather us in the cafeteria for ANOTHER GOENKA VIDEO, this time a pitch for doing volunteer service at retreat centers.
Mukunda asks if he can make an announcement. He stands up and makes a big deal about how he's willing to give people rides back to New York -- "but I'm not a chauffeur, OK, I'm not gonna drop you off anywhere, Penn Station for Manhattan!" He sits back down.
Despite the intensely painful snaking sensation in my face, this feels like the happiest day of my life. I feel a grandiose sense of accomplishment on top of the level 1 get out of jail feeling. Lauren picks me up and takes a picture of me standing in front of a big tree.
We drive to Lauren's friend's beautiful home nearby. Turns out the girl's family is like the first family of western Buddhism. The parents helped Goenka set up his first center in America, were pals with Ram Dass, etc. Buddhist relics and pics with the Dalai Lama all over the house. The dad is a major Obama fundraiser / defender. He tells me about his "Voices for Obama" fundraiser, calling it "the Vineyard event of the summerl"
I stub my toe and make a huge show about how it's no big deal. Lauren LOLs and calls me out.
We go for a walk (me, Lauren, Lauren's friend). I can't believe how happy I am, how beautiful everything is. Lauren's friend goes skinny-dipping in a very cold lake. I should do it too, given everything (look at meeee, I'm liberated!), but I'm still too wormsy.
We sleep over and drive home in the morning. The extreme traffic tests my patience. We stop at Lauren's parents' for dinner. I manically describe everything, can't stop talking ("I'll NEVER be addicted to email again"), a little embarrassed as it's happening but I can't stop myself. At one point Lauren's mom asks me if I'd like something to drink. Normally I'd say "Umm, water would be great, thanks," but new, meditative me just says "Water." I'm kind of proud of myself for being direct, but later on Lauren and I get in a big fight about it (she thought I was being hella rude).
I watch the Michigan / Michigan State game on Lauren's DVR. Michigan loses badly. Based on how upset I feel about it, I decide that the retreat was basically worthless and I've been fooling myself. But, I recover after about 15 minutes, whereas previously I'd be upset for a few days. Retreat was worth something after all!
I get home the next morning and the apartment is filthy. I clean it up real nice while Tom's still asleep. Tom wakes up and leaves for work while I'm in the shower, shouts in that he's glad to have me back and wants to hear all about camp. He doesn't say anything about the clean apartment. I notice how badly I want credit.
I go out and buy a swiffer for my bedroom. The swiffer box says to go to swiffer.com for dusting tips. I obey and watch every dusting video on the website.
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