Sunday, February 26, 2006

church lady

I was informed yesterday that the family would be required to attend church this morning. Today would have been my Grandma Kitty's 74th birthday, and we donate flowers to the church service every year on the weekend of her birthday in her memory. SO even though my dad's been having a hard time returning to church after the gay marriage battle* we knew that we would have to go to see the flowers and take them home, etc etc.

Well this morning I awoke to my alarm and I was cranky as all hell. Horribly cranky. I'm not sure why. I did stay up late last night, first reading "Off the Beaten Pat: Massachusetts" trying to find fun things to do with my sister, who'll be moving home after she graduates, and my boyfried for when he comes to visit. I drifted, my boyfriend called and woke me up and then tried to carry two conversations at once, which for some reason really annoyed me so I was kind of bitchy (sorry for that) so that call just ended the night weirdly, and I proceeded to have the weirdest dreams about friends and family, woke up with my jaw out of the socket from grinding my teeth, and nearly peed my pants because I had woken up in the night having to pee and was too cold and lazy to get up and go. So bad start. Then my hair wouldn't cooperate and I didn't have enough bobby pins in the house to fix it. grrrrr. I got into the car in a huff.

Upon entering the coat room at church I was feeling VERY UNCHRISTIAN. I mean REALLY bad. THis guy was trying to shove his kid's mittens in his coat and was taking up all the space at the coat rack, right where I needed to hang my coat. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other (my feet were resting in a pair of fabulous Chinese Laundry extended toe stiletto black sling backs though!) and probably sighed. He moved, but as he moved, another lady from my church walked in. NOw she's nice enough, but she's overkill sometimes and was VERY happy this morning. She made some joke to my mom, and was all cheery happy and as we walked out of my church I made a throw up face. My mom just looked at me like "wtf are you DOING we're IN CHURCH!"

We go upstairs to get seated. It's a full house, as the third graders were getting their bibles and there was a baptism. SInce my dad mom and I wanted to sit in a pew together, we had to sit in the very back, which was actually fine with me, as we never sit there. As I turned into the pew, I saw what would be my punishment for sitting in the back: Henrietta (whose name I have changed to something slightly ridiculous to protect her identity).

Henrietta is a lady that goes to my church. She kills my soul. We were in bell choir together and she was wretched and could not read music, yet she and her equally wretched friend spent the whole time criticizing everyone else and bossing them. Henrietta is a bad singer who launches into an operatic vibrato in the midst of hymns, out of tune and behind on the words (not that I'm a good singer. I suck, actually, but at least I know it.) WHen it comes down to it, Henrietta is evil. THis is how I know: she is 80+, wears highly fashionable "mature woman" type clothes, and heels to church. She is not NORMAL, so she must be evil (clearly, this makes sense). There are a bunch of other characteristics besides these that make her evil, like her busy-bodiness, her short troll-like-ness, her bossiness, etc. I want to note that I am sure she is a perfectly reasonable and maybe even nice woman, and these observations are one made be a person who knows practically nothing about her, they're just a stereotype meant to be funny. Anyways, we went through announcements at church, and she had an under-the-breath comment for everything. Minister: "In the old English tradition we will be serving a Pancake Dinner in conjuction with the Episcopal Church on Shrove Tuesday" Henrietta "IMAGINE Pancakes for dinner, uckkkkkk" or Minister: "Do we have any concerns I missed" Henrietta gesticulates wildly to a man in front of us with his hand raised (under breath) 'Right here in front of you hello you missed this one"

This was annoying enough, but when it came time to sing the first hymn, that was when the true challenge began. I saved the hymn insert so I could copy down how the congregation sung it compared to Henrietta. Italics represent when she broke into operatic vibrato:

Congregation: Open my eyes, that I may see Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Henrietta: Open my eyes, that I may seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee truth THOUuuuuuuu me

Congregation: Place in my hands the wonderful key That shall unclasp and
Henrietta: Plaaaaaaaaaaccceeee the wonderful key That shallllllllllllllllllllll

Congregation: set me free Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready my God, Thy
Henrietta: set me freeeeeeeeeeee noww I wait for theeeeeeeeeeeeeee God, Thy

Congregation: will to see; Open my eyes illumine me, Spirit divine!
Henrietta: will to see; Open my eyesssssssssssssssss SPIRIT DIVIIIIINNNNNEEEEEEEEE!

Now. Church is supposed to be somewhat solemn and reflective. Try being solemn and reflective next to this woman! I started to feel a laugh coming inside. I was like "no don't even think about it. think of something sad, quick" I looked at a church member who has been sick for a while. THat calmed me down. But everytime the vibrato started up I was in agony trying not to laugh, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw her short body facing me, as if she was singing like that on purpose to challege me! IT was pure torture. I'm sure she thought she could teach me a thing or two about singing, but suckage almost cannot compare to hers.

Luckily we don't sing too too much in church, although there was an extra hymn "Jesus Friend so Kind and Gentle" for the baptism today. More vibrato. I gripped the pew cushion and stared hard at the baby so as not to laugh. Then on a more serious note I realized how important it would be to me to have my children baptized and raised as Christians, which surprised me as I never realized that it would be important to me. Luckily, these thoughts finally got me in the right mindset for church and since I had been a bad christian x 1000 already I decided to devote my attention whole heartedly to the sermon. It was about transfiguration and working on eliminating your "blindspots," things you are aware of, or maybe even only slightly aware, but desperately try to ignore. The minister was like "ask your spouse, your kids, your parents, your siblings what your blindspots are, they'd be more than happy to tell you what you need to acknowlege and work on." I have to think about this one for me. But immediately I thought of things for my parents. MOM DAD I HAVE SEX LOTS AND LOTS OF SEX WITH MY BOYFRIEND SOMETIMES EVEN IN HOTELS! MOM DAD MY BOYFRIEND AND I HAVE SERIOUSLY TALKED ABOUT MARRIAGE AND TAN BABIES! MOM DAD I TURN 24 IN 6 WEEKS AND SOMETIMES I THINK YOU THINK OF ME AS 16! MOM DAD I REALLY WISH YOU WOULD REALIZE HOW MUCH I DO WANT TO GO TO GRAD SCHOOL BUT HOW FUCKING SCARY IT IS TO KNOW IT COSTS 30,000 A YEAR! MOM DAD I HAVE SEX, HOT NASTY.....

IT was then I caught myself thinking about sex in a house of God. I glanced at my parents, serenely listening to the end of the sermon. We stood to sing a final hymn. As they walked out ahead of me I thought "sometimes, God gives people blindspots for a damn good reason.....I think I'll stick to trying to convert them to using alternative sources of energy and hybrid vehicles before I approach the whole sex deal....cause I think those blindspots are pretty much working out for me right now. HA. As I shuffled out into the aisle, I looked back and saw Henrietta looking at me as if she could see right into my dirty mind and twisted soul. I sauntered down the stairs, making extra sure to wiggle my butt and flaunt my sleek looking legs (control stockings thank you God). Sometimes, fun is what you make of a situation. Even church.

*yes, our church had to vote whether or not to "allow" gay marriage in our church. The vote was like 173-9 overwhelmingly in favor of "yes" but that's not the reason my dad's not going, the reason is that the discussion prior to the vote was so incredibly disrespectful that he was not sure he could stand in the presence of such rude individuals, so he's been careful to work a bunch of Sundays to avoid the situation. I missed the gay vote but haven't been going to church because I've either slept through it or been away, not making a statement like my father has, hahahaha. I will say that he and most of the church members are back to their old selves and we've moved on though, so that's grooooood.

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