Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Random Stuffs of Wednesday Wickedness

Do you talk to yourself? I do. All the time. So far though, not out loud. This is one of my favorite jokes, because it fits me:

Two guys are sitting at a bus stop. Neither is speaking but the first guy suddenly bursts out laughing.

"What's so funny?" the second guy asks.

"I was just sitting here telling myself some jokes," the first guy said, wiping tears from his eyes, "and I told myself one I'd never heard before."

There is always a conversation going on in my head and sometimes it is mildly amusing. I was walking down a very quiet hallway this afternoon, not really paying any attention to that conversation when all of a sudden the voice in my head said, "I have no real talent for Catholicism."

A quick rewind of that train of thought took me back to collections. I had been thinking about collections. Do you collect things? I collect movie soundtracks; white, art deco, praying, virgin Mary figures; crappy virgin Marys, all things Wonder Woman, comic books, skulls, gargoyles, Homies, anything with a Gothic arch shape and now nuns.

Nuns fascinate me. Priests too. I know full well why this is - my reading tastes are far too narrow and there are far too many crime-solving Catholic clergy out there. And now I find that I'm slowly amassing a miscellany of nun-ish stuff. My favorites are the three teeny-tiny nun figures that Mindy gave me. They look like they're being held at gun point. We can't figure out why their arms are raised, unless maybe they're freakishly charismatic evangelicals. I dunno. But they're cool. (I'll try to post a picture of them tomorrow.)

Yes, I like little rubber nuns and nuns on plates and sparking, walking nunzillas. Haven't had that much luck with real-life nuns. The only time I've actually spoken to a nun was the time Jackson and I made an agreement with Katie's mother to take her to confirmation classes since she was with us every weekend and her momma wanted her raised Catholic.

We were sort of half-ass attending a very cool little Catholic church at the time. The church used to have a school and a small convent, but financial constraints forced the school to close and there was only one or maybe two nuns in residence. Jackson called the church and asked about getting little miss Katie into confirmation classes. Sister Mary Martha of the Harsh Retribution made an appointment with us to come to the church and meet with her to discuss what needed to be done.

I thought that was cool. Nuns fascinate me, after all. I was excited. Jackson and I scrubbed our faces one Saturday morning and made our way to the Sister's office. (She told us not to bring the kid.)

If I was doing a dissertation in sociology or something, I would totally write about that experience. Silly cradle-Baptist me thought this would be like any other churchy meeting I'd ever been privy to. We'd chat and feel good about everyone and then there would be a schedule to discuss and maybe some food. The meeting would be held after either the Sunday or Wednesday service because we wouldn't want to have to go to church on yet another day during the week. We'd leave with good intentions, a four color brochure and little else.

That Saturday morning, the Sister and welcomed Jackson and I into her office. Actually, welcome is a bit too strong. More like she ordered us into her office and all but whacked the chairs we were to sit in with a riding crop or something. We hadn't even been introduced and already we felt guilty.

She explained that the classes met every week between the two Sunday morning masses and that Katie must be there for each and every class. As she lectured us about our spiritual parental responsibilities, I kept waiting for the pleasantries and maybe some cookies. It was a long wait. There were no pleasantries. None. Only instructions. Very direct instructions.

And no cookies. Not even a stray wafer.

Then, after a few weeks, when we realized the whole Cathist/Batholic thing wasn't really workable and we'd have to chose a religion and stick with it, we quit taking Katie to confirmation classes. If we hadn't been so cowardly, we would've called the Sister, or at least the Father, and told them why we weren't coming back. But, we didn't.

Instead we would cringe when the phone rang every Sunday morning. "Don't pick it up!" we'd yell to each other and then huddle together over the answering machine and tremble at the sound of the Sister's inquiry into where Katie was and why wasn't she in class?

We were a little culture shocked by the whole thing. I, for one, am not used to that particular approach. It never occurred to me that the church might command me to do something and then expect my full and unequivocal cooperation. It was really interesting and if I were less shallow I would spend some time thinking about that and it's possible implications.

I can't think right now, though. Gotta go finish my Father Koesler mystery.

13 comments:

Presbyterian Gal said...

Do you have the boxing nun. It's a lot of fun. Two are best, then you can have a match.

All the nuns I've met were very nice and would have offered you cookies and pleasantries, and maybe even grasshopper pie (creme de menthe grasshopper, not wildly jumping insect grasshopper). Most of them were in Minnesota. But then, everyone I ever met in Minnesota was nice.

soul and culture said...

PG has me wanting some pie now.
*
And I collect old metal globes. And plastic Jesus figures.

Patti said...

My Grandma was Catolic when I was a baby. She was convinced that my Mom was going to hell for marrying a presbytarian, but that sure as heck wasn't going to happen with the babies. So she kidnapped us one by one and had us baptized at the catholic church around the corner. I've been baptized twice.
Luckily, she left the church too, before we needed first communion and confirmation.

Bunny Bunster said...

I collect old antique blue and white swirlware. Not granitware, but swirware. It's much prettier.

That nun sounds pretty harsh.

Dijea said...

I talk to myself ALL the time - mostly out loud though so I must be extra crazy.

Catholic nuns scare me. Seriously. I could never get the stand up, sit down or kneel either.

Rev Kim said...

I was a chaplain at a Catholic hospital, where there was a "Mother House" - a place for the nuns from this particular convent to live. It was a gorgeous home - way better than the two priests had - with lovely gardens and fountains. And the nuns fascinated me too, and I loved hearing their stories - especially their Super Bowl party.

JenStar said...

I collect telephone pole insulators and cookbooks. I am Catholic and my grandparents bought me a guitar for my birthday when I was much younger. And being the great Catholic grandparents that they were they enrolled me in guitar lessons with Sister Rosalyn. She would hit your fingers with a pencil when you messed up your cords. You can just imagine how many times I was hit since I never practiced. And I like really really wanted to be a rockstar!

Cynthia said...

I bet those tiny nuns are from a NUN CHUCK set. It is this gun that fires the nuns and they fly through the air...hence the arms outstretched. We have this set at Sunday School.

Which makes me ask: Don't you wish you went to my Sunday School.

We also have a tiny bowling set of nuns and a tiny bottle of rum.

ElastiGirl said...

The Episcopal church has Nuns - maybe after such ahorrid experience, you should think of your collection as Episcopal Nuns - unless you're shooting them or bowling them over... then you may feel free to express your past feelings.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

OMG! I wanna go to Cynthia's church!!!

I now am on a mission to find a nun gun. That makes perfect sense!!

I bet people think that we never get anything done.

ppolarbear said...

I'm pretty much sure you never get anything done.

SpookyRach said...

We get lots of stuff done. We just have a better time doin' it than most. :)

annie said...

No, I'm pretty positive y'all never get anything done!