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Sunday, August 9, 2009

In the life and times

I drove my little sister to Mass today (something which, given my own religious views, always gives my conscience a bit of a prick...I feel like I'm taking a lamb to the slaughter, if I may mix metaphors and religious symbolism into an anti-church sentiment; I figure she has to travel the road herself. Nobody told me what to believe [unless I was in a church], and I won't attempt to convert her to my way of thinking. Plus it'd freak her out I think) and I was exposed to three different examples of the people going to/coming from the church that just made me shake my head. Or laugh hysterically.

  1. After dropping the sis at the door, I swung back around to leave the parking lot. I'm cruising along at less than 10 mph, listening to music at a tolerably respectable level (I wasn't blasting Highway to Hell, which I am always tempted to do) when a girl tries to swing left in front of me to get a parking spot. As I clearly had the right of way, I neither stopped nor slowed down, resulting in her having to come to quite an abrupt halt. This resulted in her giving me a dirty look and the finger. The bird. She flipped me off. Call it what you will, but this little Catholic girl (who couldn't have been more than 15 or 16 and driving on her temps -Daddy was in the front seat) on her way to worship almost hit my car and got pissed at me for it, despite the fact that an accident would have been her fault. It just reminded me of that weird attitude some (but admittedly not all) religious people have: they'll be respectful and kind for an hour on Sundays. Outside that? Watch yourself, buddy.
  2. I returned about 45 minutes later to sit outside the church and bring the sis back home. I parked behind a car near the curb, shut the car off and proceeded to start reading some more of "The Library at Night" which is rapidly taking its place among my favorite books (and I'm barely 30 pages in!). Shortly before 7, a group of 3 people saunters out of the church. Each individual is roughly my age and, upon spotting me sitting in the car behind theirs, each promptly began laughing and making random and peculiarly rude comments directed at me (none of which made sense, either). All stared at me, got into their car and drove off -still staring. Now what is that about? Did my parking somehow offset their karma? Was the fact that I was clearly not attending the service upsetting? Did my reading of a book frighten them? Is it that I have short hair? Maybe that the car is a white Mazda. The world may never know. Regardless, I think it's sort of odd/funny/to be expected that a group of people leave a church service and immediately start mocking someone not of their ilk.
  3. The final incident was the least amusing of the three, to me. I'm not sure what the deal was, but a woman in a minivan with a few kids pulled up shortly after I did (maybe they were doing a food drive? I know they caught the last few minutes of the Mass). Before they entered the church, the woman who had been driving proceeded to scream at the kids for a solid minute and a half. About what I'm not sure, but if her voice didn't carry all the way to the pulpit of the church, I'd be surprised. It was a pretty heavy scene; I wasn't sure if it was going to progress beyond just yelling, so I kept a close eye on things. Nothing physical was done to the kids, but their red faces and teary eyes were bad enough. I can't imagine walking into a church service (or any crowded place) 10 minutes before whatever program is ending with a blotchy, tear-stained face and the memory of having shortly before getting verbal whiplash. It seems profoundly unchristian and certainly wrong in any walk of life to just lay into little kids like that. I get annoyed with my siblings, but I don't scream at them until they cry (I resort to sarcasm and biting comments -just as bad, but with fewer decibels).
It was one of the most bizarre church-related scenes I've witnessed in a very long time. Maybe I should go to church more often!

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