When I was in church yesterday, I was sitting next to one guy who seemed to be there by himself, in front of one couple who was probably in their forties, and had a younger couple in front of me who walked in a couple minutes late.
It has increasingly become my habit to go to the so-called Last Chance Mass at OLL, simply because that’s when it ends up working out best for me during the weekend, and it’s pretty close by. The only part of it I don’t like is that I haven’t been able to find a bike rack around to save my life (or my soul). But yesterday I was psyched, because coming down 2nd St., I found one sitting just outside the Punch Pizza. I was able to both be smug about the fact that I found a bike rack close to somewhere else I wanted to patronize, and also take that of someone who maybe wanted to patronize a place I don’t like so much. Because- it’s not like they’re going to tow a bike for biking in a spot that person isn’t going to.
Thus I ended up being much more punctual than usual for this Mass, but with the added worry of not being sure if my light is going to be taken off my bike. It looks enough a part of the thing that I don’t think I should worry, but I would say there’s still about a 1-in-20 chance that someone takes it. The light is kind of a piece of crap- plus I also just don’t want to keep it on my person the fewer clothes I start to wear as the weather gets warmer. And this particular Mass is pretty short, while invading the daylight hours at this point, so all the less opportunity for some petty thief. Nonetheless, it all added to an increased amount of stress throughout Mass, so I suppose I might have been making too big of a deal about what happened at the sign of peace, but it was still just so far out of the spectrum of my experience that I almost could not deal with it.
The sign of peace came and I turned to give the sole guy next to me a handshake. Then I turned around and gave each one of the couple behind me a firm sign of peace as well. But I turned around to do the same to the couple in front of me and……. nothing. I didn’t know what to do, so I didn’t really do anything, except mentally write half of this out in my head. In retrospect, was there something I could have done? I’m honestly asking. Should I have cleared my throat? Should I have just stuck my hand out so if one of them sees it out of the corner of their eye, something might come of it? I had a theory, that they were sort of SoP’d out at that point, having just been given huge hugs by the couple in front of them. That would explain a lot, especially because they may not have known that couple and it was just something that happened. That might have used up all their love. And peace. (They also may have known them, but I may still have reason to be mad at that couple in front.)
What is it with all this hugging? I hope they were all like Best Men and Maids of Honor in each others’ wedding or something like that, because what other reason would you have to justify such a possible invasion of their personal bubbles, not to mention taking up enough time for them to be turning around and giving the guy behind them, who isn’t there with anyone, the sign of peace?[i] Not that I have anything inherently against hugging. Quite the contrary. I think hugs are very important. I just think what they should essentially mean is “I love you”. And in that vein, if there are people I am out there hugging, it’s because I almost literally see them as my family. I’ve heard more and more about humans just needing daily contact with each other lately, because it’s unhealthy not to get a certain amount. Hugs are a good way to do that, I suppose- but so are high-fives, handshakes, chest-bumps, even the occasional hip-bump[ii]. Just allow the rest of us to share in the human contact, when given certain time constraints.
[i] To be fair to the couple two rows ahead, the people just ahead of me still had plenty of Sign of Peace interlude to notice me. I hate to say it, but this whole thing is very typical of this church.
[ii] Which I’m actually pretty sure I invented my junior year of high school with my Hungarian friend Dani.