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2006-05-01 @ 10:36 p.m.
the church lady -- well isn't that special

So did you feel the earth tip on its axis this morning? Or see the ocean part off the Eastern Seaboard when Charleton Heston stood at the edge of the Hamptons with his large NRA approved Moses staff? Or hear the thunking of large frogs hitting your roof during an apocalyptic frog rain storm a’la “Magnolia”? Oh, that was just me going to Church for the first time in about 5 years. Yeah. I do it every once in a while. Guilt? Maybe. Need to pray for something? Cough(my car) yeah. Think my prayers will get answered? Probably not. But I did get me a little Quality Time with Jesus this morning. Ha. I just spelled Jesus wrong. I spelled it Jesis. Now I’m really going to hell.

I went to the Catholic church here in the Village. Its big. Its modern. It didn’t burst into flames when a heathen walked in. Phew. Naturally since I’m a little rusty in the Catholic department, I did virtually everything wrong. Forgot to dab the holy water on each wrist and behind my ears. Forgot to genuflect and high-five the ushers. Dang, this isn’t going well. I just know they’re going to realize there’s an interloper in their presence. I did dress the part though. No hippie garb. No inflammatory anti-war pins. I even wore underwear!

I initially sat about 5 rows from the front near the musicians. I figured when if I got bored, I could watch them. I actually knew the music director from when I used to work with her at a newspaper. She had always been cool. I had always wanted her to like me. She was a very talented graphic artist, which is why I chose that church. I figured if I had to sit through a service, at least I would have something waiting for me at the end. You know, like a friendly hello. Oh hell, I really just wanted to tell her that I was somewhat of a legitimate artist now. Back when I worked with her 8 years ago, I had just been a fledgling computer artist. I remember wishing and wishing I could be as good as her, because she could also draw.

(...but witty, you can WRITE, and you were just learning art stuff. Putting people on pedestals is stupid. Oh. Okay. Thanks).

So anyways, when I saw her I suddenly got really nervous and moved to the back row of the church, where I made my next series of mistakes. Second missed genuflection. Now how many “Our Fathers” am I up to now, Fr. O’Riley? And then after sitting there for about 3 minutes I realized I was sitting in the Usher’s seat. Because there it was...a plaque that said “Usher”...right there in plain English. Shit! But it was too late, Mass was already starting.

The church had filled up quickly. Usually, when or if I go to church, its usually only on one of the Big Days, like Easter or Christmas, but today was only like, I don’t know the Fifth Sunday until Pentecost or six shopping days until the Virgin Mary’s birthday. Something. But the church was still full. Damn those Catholics, they really know how to throw an event. Soon the priest, who was about 112 years old came doddering out and started talking. He had an accent like Archie Bunker from “All in the Family” because he actually said, “We have a bee-yo-tee-ful Spring Day today.” Everyone nodded and agreed and it was at that point that I noticed that about 3000 babies were crying simultaneously. Arghhh! But at least their parents were there.

One of the reasons I’ve never been particularly fond of church, is because of my history with it. I grew up Catholic...only because I had to. My Dad was Catholic. My Mom was...I’m not really sure...maybe from a tribe who worshiped shopping and bowling. I went to Catholic School for 8 years (you can send me money via Pay Pal for therapy costs, if you want). I got beat up by nuns. Physically. Beat over the head with a ruler and humiliated in front of a class full of snickering kids, while attempting to do a math equation. Thus the beginning of my wonderful self esteem issues.

And then there was the church going thing. My Dad traveled. My mom didn’t go to church. I had to go regardless of whether my Dad was there or not. So my mom used to drop my off at the church by the age of eight. EIGHT! Is there something wrong with this picture? Dropping your kid off at a public place by themselves at age 8? So one Sunday when it was particularly hot in church (no A/C in south Florida- yow!), I fainted. I was alone. Some man brought me home. I have no idea who he was. Again...what is wrong with this picture? A strange man bringing your kid home in their car from church. I have no recollection of anything that happened from the time I was left off at church until I was walking up the front sidewalk to my mom’s stunned expression. None.

So can you see why I’m so ambivalent about church.

But hey, there I was this morning, fumbling through the hymnal, trying to follow along. I was amazed at how much I could actually remember in the back and forth parts of the Mass. It must be stored in some secret church pod in my brain because there I was saying, “and blessed is He, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” Huh?

There really wasn’t much of a sermon from Fr. Archie Bunker. And at one point the priest called for The Children of God and all the kids went running up to the altar and disappeared for a large part of the Mass, which was perfectly fine with me. Although I kind of wondered where they were being taken and what was being done to them. Were they being shown “Dora the Explorer” tapes with subliminal messages telling them to tell their parents to put more money in the collection baskets?

When the kids came back, just before Communion, I did have to deal with little Francis, the poster boy for ADHD. He hadn’t been there the first half because they were late, but young Francis must have kicked me about 6 times and was staring at me like I was the first X-Box ever built. Yes Francis, I am stunning, but I’m about 41 years too old for you, so cut it the fuck out. And then I believe he might have possibly yanked an ornament off my purse. I have a really cool purse that Hiss sent me for my birthday, that had an ornamental Lock on it and once during the Mass I remember him saying, “lock, lock” and then after Mass the lock was missing, so I think the little bastard darling took a souvenir from our time together. Damn-it-all!! You are so going straight to hell for stealing my lock during Mass, Francis!

I did go say hello to my former coworker after Mass. She said I looked really good (well, yeah!!) and I got in as much info as I possibly could about the fact that I was now an artist and that I was going to have an art show up at the University where she works in mid-May. Geeze witty, talk about Desperation City. I guess it was okay that I told her all that extraneous stuff about myself. It was truly amazing that I didn’t attempt to yank my latest painting...

...out of my purse and flop it down on the nearby grand piano, kinda like, whoops, what is this doing in there? But she was busy packing up her guitar, so the wittykitty art career infomercial got cut short....thankfully.

So did I get anything out of going to the Mass? Actually no. I didn’t feel cleansed or saved or uplifted or anything actually. It was a blank one hour period of my life. It really wasn’t until several hours later when I went hiking up at Blue Lakes and was walking along the trail and happened to look up at some newly greening trees blowing in the wind that I felt anything that even approached spirituality. I guess, God --Goddess -- or whomever, is where you find them, right?

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty