Bartelby the Buddhist

A legal proofreader brings his practice to work.

Erik Hansen

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Has your life delivered you to the very place you expected it would? Mine hasn’t. At this moment, late on a Saturday night, I find myself working the swing shift in a windowless room on the sixteenth floor of a mostly deserted Los Angeles skyscraper, where I am a legal proofreader. Since I’m also a Buddhist, committed to integrating Zen into my everyday life, I decide to practice mindfulness as I pore over a stack of public offerings and credit agreements. Unfortunately, awakening to this moment, I find no fresh breezes, no grass growing of itself, no V-shape of geese migrating against the autumn sky. Instead, I tune in to the incessant hum of fluorescent lights, underscored by a deeper, even more unpleasant multiple-machine drone; stale, recycled air; and the fact that, for some reason, the toes of my left foot have gone cold and clammy.

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