It’s lucky for the world that I am such a good person.
Because I have been met with many injustices–by a number of horrid people–throughout the course of my 21 years.
Like the time in my freshman year at ASU that Becca Flunt* accused me of stealing her TI-80something graphing calculator. I didn’t do it, of course–I had a TI80something of my own, and simply borrowed hers for 30 seconds at the institute building the day I’d forgotten mine. The next day, though, when hers turned up missing, she confronted me about it in a most accusing manner.
I went home spewing mad that day. I wanted to call “Five on Your Side,” the news station that confronts bad companies about shady deals they’d done. But Becca Flunt–though she was bad business indeed–was neither a company, franchise, nor corporation. Five on Your Side could do nothing for me. Then I wanted to slash all her tires and scrawl “WENCH!” along her car doors with a black Sharpie (TM). I wanted to punch out her living daylights, and I’m not even a violent person.
Instead, I drove down to the Super Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. and bought her a new, $95.00 TI-80whatever. I didn’t have enough money to fuel my car and feed myself, but I bought her a new calculator.
Now, lest your opinion of me lower because of what a pushover I was…check that thought. I am not a pushover. I never have been and I doubt I ever will be. But my name is not mud, and I’m not one to let my reputation be soiled by petty so-and-sos. I handed over my life savings (in the form of that dad-gum calculator), along with a rather spiteful letter which, I hope made her feel guilty for being so accusatory. I stood up to her but still cleared my good name. I’ve always wondered if she ever found her original calculator.
Yesterday it happened again. Another cruel person; another injustice; another juicy post for my blog:
Kyle and I arrived at church early, which meant we got to sit on the padded pews rather than the hard metal chairs in the back row. More importantly, we were out of cheerio-chucking range of all the little hoodlums whose parents have the decency to sit in the back. I was thrilled. We settled in on a shorter side pew, right in front of the three widow ladies who take up permanent residence on the sixth row–it’s the same row we always occupy when we get to church early enough (which has only happened once in four months). I turned around and smiled at Aunt Bea* (she’s not my aunt but all of Mayberry calls her “Aunt Bea,” so I do too), making casual small talk while we waited for church to start. I looked up and smiled as Old Widow #2 wriggled her way into the customary row next to Aunt Bea.
She gave me a stern look and said, jokingly, “Now, I don’t want you two to be scratching each other’s back like last time!”
“I’m getting sick of these corny newlywed witticisms,” I thought, chuckling slightly so Old Widow #2 thought I enjoyed her joke.
Then she continued, still unsmiling, “It’s inappropriate to be rubbing each others’ shoulders they way you young kids carry on. There’s enough time for that at home.”
“Oh my gosh. She’s not being witty. She’s dead serious.”
And she kept going…
“I come to church every week, and I like to pay attention. How can I focus on anything when you kids sit in front of me and scratch each others’ back like you do? It aggravates me.”
Finally, I overcame the shock and found my voice, meager though it was.
“Thank you for your opinion,” I said, wishing it sounded more grown up than it actually did.
I turned to Poor Kyle, shocked and appalled, and he whispered smugly, “Don’t you wish we’d sat in the back?”
No. I wish all the old hags in the world would die already so as to stop muddling the pool of sweet, grandmotherly figures whose company I usually enjoy. I am going to continue going to church, of course–it didn’t shake my faith or offend me to the point of no return. But what if we were a young couple who were just visiting for the day, wanting to learn what the church was like? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t sing praises.
I’ve waited long and hard to finally be married so I could sit in church and get my back scratched by someone other than my mom or older sister. Getting one’s back scratched during church–at least where I come from–is a status symbol. And it’s nice. I can think of a hundred things more distracting than a quiet back scratch–they range between the ages of 1 to 12, and I’m never having any.
Because if I do, they’ll grow up to be crotchety old crones with nothing better to do than criticise perfectly nice churchgoers.
*Names have been changed because it seemed like the right thing to do