Day 292: New Orleans and Scientology

Right before I came to New Orleans this week, I read a book called Under the Overpass. The point of the book is that this 20 year old Christian college kid decides to live on the streets for 5 months in order to learn about reaching out to people. It's interesting, and I liked it, and so I started thinking about reaching out.

So when I was walking through the San Francisco BART train station the other day, I decided to do it (reach out to someone). There was a table of people trying to solicit people to do this free stress test they had that involved a machine with a meter. They weren't being that successful in getting people, and I felt kind of sorry for them, so I stopped to talk to one of the guys running the table. Damon was the most well-spoken 15 year old I'd ever met. I wasn't really in a hurry anyway (I rarely am lately) so I sat down and he gave me the test.

He told me to hold some little cans that were connected to this box with a meter on it. Then he asked me to think about my work life. I did, and my stress thing went way up, and then he asked if I was maybe thinking about things more than work. "Usually people will say they are thinking about one thing when really they're thinking about another," he said. Damon's pretty intuitive, and I told him that, and then we had a discussion about what could be stressing me out in my life and how some new ways of thinking about life that this particular book Damon used could really help me.

Given that the book was Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, I then figured out I was dealing with Scientoloists. I don't know much about Scientology, so I started asking questions. One was, "Is Katie Holmes a scientologist?" The answer is yes, according to Damon. I then told Damon that I had read Dianetics, and so didn't need to buy it. All Damon's Scientologist friends were really shocked that I had read the book, and began grilling me on it, which was unfortunate, becuase I was kind of lying. I had checked it out from the library a few years ago, but only read fifteen pages.

So to get out of the lying, and the grilling, and the whole bad situation that had erupted from me going out of myself to be nice to the Scientologists, I gave them seven dollars for some sort of Dianetics #2 book that I read on the BART train home to Berkeley.

Tonight, our friend Amalia and I are in New Orleans, where I have never been. We are both here for writing work, but Amalia is the one getting nice free stuff as she does it. Amalia's been getting a lot of that of late. Last week, she was in Mexico on a press trip for the magazine she writes for. This is a video she took. If you don't think her Spanish sounds native, talk to her about it.

And here are two of us in New Orleans thus far:


Allie said...

There is a video on Google Video called The Bridge. I think it's supposed to be some director's way of speaking out against Scientology. It's weird, long, and drawn-out. I learned a little about what Scientology is, though. Funnily enough, I had it playing in the background last August when I writting a term paper on the effects of HD Thoreau's Civil Disobedience on the beliefs and writings of Ghandi and MLK, Jr.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Claire;
Was surfing Google and accidentally found your blog. (I'm bookmarking it under "travel")

I'm a Scientologist, too, so I read this post and was kinda shaking my head.

It's a real shame the situation with the Scientology guy was that awkward. But really, truth is the best policy. Just tell the guy that you appreciate that they care but that you're not interested in Scientology. Sure, you may have to repeat it a couple of times. And, if the guy is in any way pushy, just tell him that, tell him "look man, you're being pushy now."

I personally never had this experience, I bought "Dianetics" at a Barnes & Noble, read half of it on a plane to South America and the rest after a hike in the Andes, loved the concept, and that was that.

Anyway. Scientology is certainly for everyone. I personally dig it, but that's me. But at the same time, Scientology is not some strange, mysterious or dangerous thing - it's just a religious philosophy movement.

If I can leave you with any message at all, then my message is that you don't have to be "all for it or all against it!" - you can simply find out truly what it's about without getting involved (as I have done with, for example, Bagwan Rajneesh, the LDS, Islam and other philosophies.)

If you have any curiosity to find out what the heck Scientology is really about (without implying any interest of becoming a member) then just send me an email anytime.

Best wishes
Scientologist and proud of it

Anonymous said...

ERRATA on previous post!

"Anyway. Scientology is certainly *not* for everyone. I personally dig it, but that's me."

(My dumb typo totally changes my meaning to make it look like some fanatic stance! Crap.)

Best wishes
Scientologist and proud of it

trippingonwords said...

Thanks for the comments Greg. I'm really glad it's been such a good thing for your life, as that should tbe point of most things we do. I'm cool with just Jesus for now, but I always love learning about what other pople think and do!

I'm looking for The Bridge Allie...

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