Beer, ice cream, and the ever-present now

Beer, ice cream, and the ever-present now

A Story by Dave Afshar

An open letter to the dude drinking beer and eating strawberry mochi ice cream on the train at 7:45 am


Dear dude drinking beer and eating strawberry mochi ice cream on the train at 7:45 am:

You are my hero. There is nothing about life I can teach or tell you as you’ve clearly got it all figured out, but still, I hope these words find their way to you.

When I first noticed you drinking a can of beer on the train during a dreary Tokyo morning commute, my immediate reaction was to look down on you. I assumed you were just another drunk on the subway, nursing a perpetual hangover and fighting off delirium tremens before the shakes set in.  I became judgmental, and for that, I am sorry.

All too often, the faults we see in others are nothing more than a projection of the flaws we see in ourselves.

I realized my error when you reached into your bag for what I figured would be another can and pulled out a box of strawberry mochi ice cream. It was then apparent to me that you were not just another drunkard riding the subway, but a dude who really - truly - does not give a flying f**k about convention. At approximately 7:48 am, I, along with several miserable looking salarymen, watched you eat ice cream and wash it down with beer - and you seemed to be enjoying it. We’ve all seen the old drunks looking downtrodden and depressed because they can’t kick the habit, but no one in human history has ever felt sad while eating strawberry ice cream.

You are a perfect example of what I believe is referred to as present moment awareness, or living in the present moment. It’s a concept I’ve often read about in books or heard discussed in philosophy classes, and I am not there yet. But you clearly are. The past is the past, the future doesn’t exist, and yet there you are, sitting on an overcrowded train zipping through Tokyo while enjoying a breakfast of beer and ice cream.

My stop came before yours, and I got off and went to work. I have no idea how the rest of your day went, but I’m almost certain it was better than mine. I like to imagine your stop never came, because you don’t have one, and will continue riding that train for all of eternity with a backpack that never runs out of ice cream or beer.

Safe travels and I wish you the best.

© 2022 Dave Afshar

Author's Note

Dave Afshar
Feedback always welcome

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Added on January 3, 2022
Last Updated on January 3, 2022
Tags: Japan, Travel, Beer, Culture, Trains


Dave Afshar
Dave Afshar

Los Angeles, CA

Tales of ratchetry and philosophy from my old life in Tokyo and new one in Los Angeles more..