Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chapter And Worse: A Prelude

I think it’s finally sinking into the wife’s brain that she’s going to England.

It’s bad enough when she goes on a short trip somewhere. A wire gets tripped and she becomes a bundle of nervousness, certain that she’s forgotten something. Her anxiety is palpable.

Now multiply that by ten.

There’s still lots to do yet: figure out how the rented cell phone works, not to mention the digital camera, make sure she has the proper wardrobe and the luggage to carry it in, and on and on.

I can already tell she’s going to have to fight through the anxiety to get to the place where she remembers why she wanted to go in the first place. I sympathize. I went out to the West Coast by myself earlier this year and there was this low-level wrenching feeling going on the whole time. Why did I do this? Where the hell am I? I found out a long time ago that my body doesn’t do well when taken out of its usual environment.

There was a period in my young life when I participated in a Bible Memorization program. Each week I memorized a certain number of Bible verses and, as I did so, I received more and more rewards in the form of religious books, many of them published by the Zondervan firm in Grand Rapids, and other Christianity-related prizes.

I did this for a couple of years, until I was offered the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks at a Bible Memorization Camp. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot tell you why I agreed to this. I cannot tell you why I was not wise enough to know what would happen if:

a) I were removed from an urban environment


b) placed in the middle of a cult-like group who, firmly but insistently, wanted you to be “Saved.”

Honestly, I should have understood what lay in store for me if I agreed to it. I am astonished, looking back on the events I’m about to relate, that I didn’t have a clue what a recipe for disaster this was. It’s like I don’t know who that kid was.

If I’d known him, I would have said, “Hey, kid! What the hell’s the matter with you? Stay home and read your comics. Buy a Slurpee or a Duncan Yo-Yo.”

Would I have listened to the 50-year old stranger?

Or would I have quoted Bible verse at him and ask why he doesn’t dress better?

Next: In The Beginning Was The Weird


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