Monday, December 18, 2006
I visited two and a half separate services with El Caballero yesterday, for a total of 2 sermons, three coffee hours and one and a half worship times.
I have a problem. I can't sit through a 30 minute sermon. It is physically impossible. If I am really disciplined, I can sit quietly and visualize complex geometrical topographies, or compose imaginary orchestral pieces, all the while looking completely absorbed in the proceedings. But if I have forgotten my ritalin, or just plain forgot to mentally prepare, then all off a sudden I find I have to move every part of my body, or tap or scratch my head or gyrate. When I go to church alone, I usually just make sure I have a pen and paper. I forgot that no one tells a stranger to "sit still." If I find I can't take it anymore, I can leave.
But now, I go to church with El Cab. Sometimes I suddenly find myself in a situation that calls for restraint and reverence. I might be stricken with a pen shortage, or unbearable gas. The priest might be saying something holy, the sanctuary might be small and the pew crowded. Wandering outside, or doing the Chicken Dance might be impossible. I'll try to contain the unbearable jitteriness into a leg, or foot, only to have it explode into a cascade of tapping. He's too polite to jab me with a pen, like the Pater used to do, but I can tell I'm distracting him.
I found myself in such a situation yesterday. A long service (but edifying!) coupled with the sudden onset of mind-searing boredom. I made a special trip to my car for pen and paper. I brought back a nice piece of typing paper that I promptly started tearing into an origami book. The tearing was too loud, so El Cab took it from to me to tear it silently, but he accidentally tore it in half. It took significantly more tearing (slowly slowly) to turn the precious fragments into smaller books.
I made two postage-stamp sized, eight page books. The first one I filled in the morning service. The second, we filled in the evening service. They are a combination of sermon notes, observational drawings and doodles.
Its the M!
I love church. I love the people. I love the spectacle. I love the ritual. I love the post-service socializing. I love the music. I love the Bible readings.
nb: That drawing of El Cab in the turban-- it really happened. We were driving down the street and he pulled off the scarf that had been a permanent part of his wardrobe ever since the temperatures dropped below 50 and declared that he was going to see if he could wear it as a turban. Sadly, he didn't leave it on long enough for me to take a picture. I had no idea how complicated turban-rolling is, he had a few false starts before it stayed. I feel sorry for men, if they live in the West, they have to be able to knot a tie, and if they live in the East, they have to wrap a turban or a sarong.