the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Thursday, November 03, 2005

But I didn't say "Shut the fuck up"

Did you ever find Jesus at the laundromat?

Neither did I.

"Minding my own business" might be cliche, but it's the only possible description for what I was doin' that afternoon. My laundry was in the soak cycle, and I'd parked myself on a chair outside the laundromat to get some writing done. I keep to myself in situations like this. I really don't like it when strangers feel the need to chat me up, especially the grimy, sleazy men I see so often when I'm laundering. Yes, yes, I find you irresistable, now that you've pulled your month's worth of dirty clothes from the cab of your truck and are wearin' your least-dirty flannel shirt, and your ball cap with the sillhouette of the naked ladies on it, and your dirty fingernails that give you character. Take me now, before I melt into a large puddle of desire and somebody throws sawdust on me to absorb the moisture.

Alright, maybe I'm a little defensive about that, but one can only be gap-tooth propositioned so many times before the walls go up. Take the hint, guys: though you may find it hard to believe, I did not come to the laundromat for romance, or even to give you a blowjob in your truck. Call me old fashioned, but I really do just wanna wash my clothes and get the fuck out.

So there I was, with my clothes a-washin', my notebook in my hand, and what I like to think of as the "Don't even THINK it" expression planted on my face. There were three guys outside with me, but at first, they kept to themselves, and all was well. They were a little bit older, and two of them stood while their companion was wheelchair bound. I must have relaxed the hard-ass bitch look on my face, because after a few minutes, I noticed that the guy on wheels was inching closer to me. As he got nearer to me, I was able to size him up out the corner of my eye: the dude was pretty large, and something was definitely wrong with him, as his eyes were huge, bulging, and lookin' in two totally different directions. He had his wallet and a bottle of Sierra Mist tucked into the front of his pants, and all I could think was that I was glad I had no reason to receive any cash from him, because, well, ew.

Finally, he was close enough to talk, and I cringed inwardly as I imagined how the conversation would go. What came out of his mouth next wasn't quite what I expected, though.

"Hello, young lady," he began - the "young lady" part was not a bad start, if he'd just left it at that - "my friends and I are from _____ Baptist church in Statesboro, Georgia. We're here on a mission to help addicts." Did he think I was an addict? How could he have known? He then said, "Can I ask you a question?"

I kind of grunted, not a distinct "yes" or "no" grunt, but just an acknowedgement that he'd spoken.

"If you died today," he continued, "do you know where you would go?"

Awwwwwwww, fuck. Why didn't I see that comin'? Now, folks, don't get me wrong - I know lots and lots of very nice, rockin' people who are religious; they don't try to pull me into church, and I don't try to pull them out of church. We understand and respect one another. But nothin' will raise my hackles faster than some jackass who feels the need to chase me with a long-handled spoon and try to shove his or her deity of choice down my throat. When that person is a stranger, I find it even more offensive, presumptuous, and just plain rude. In my mind, to walk up to a stranger and ask "If you died today, do you know where you would go?" is just as uncalled for as approaching someone on the street and asking, "Do you prefer your anal sex lubricated or unlubricated?" It's not my business, and it's beyond the limits of good taste, even to somebody like me.

So, there were a lot of really cruel responses to that on the tip of my tongue, but the little shred of decency that's lodged itself in my brain where I can't quite get at it kept stoppin' me and sayin' "Hey, that guy's all fucked up and in a wheelchair. You really gonna tell him to bite your alleged scrotum?"

I answered as nicely as I could, "When I die? There will be a seafood buffet."

If it's possible, that response made his eyes bug out even a little more. I'm pretty sure that was not the answer he expected, not in the least. He sort of fumbled for words, and then all he could say was, "A seafood buffet?" His buddies had caught the conversation and were also starin' at me like I was some exotic and slightly repulsive creature that had just climbed in the back seat of their new car and taken a dump.

"Sure," I replied. "I'm confident that Jesus is savin' me some crab legs."

The three would-be convertors exchanged a look that said, "Oh, a difficult heathen."

My new friend on wheels decided to try a different direction, with no questions for my impertinent answers. He explained to me that Jesus had died on the cross for my sins (I wanted to raise my hand and explain that I had really not begun to sin quite yet when Jesus died, but he continued too quickly for me to interject), and that I needed to realize I was a sinner and give my life to Jesus, and there were only two choices for me: heaven or hell.

Finally able to get a word in edgewise, I countered, "What about purgatory?"

He looked like I'd slapped him across the face with my tits. "There's no purgatory. There's heaven everlasting, and there's hell forever."

"Well, I'm Catholic," I explained sweetly, which is true only insofar as I was raised Catholic, "and we have purgatory."

Now, in my experience, the word "Catholic" to people like this has the same effect as a holy water shower would have on a vampire. The wheelchair backed away from me almost imperceptibly, and I half expected him to make a cross with his fingers and hold it up between us for the protection of his own soul. "There's no purgatory," he repeated, clearly even more worried about the salvation of my soul than he'd been even a moment before.

At about this point, the owner of the laundromat came to my rescue and pretty much stepped in and changed the subject. That seemed like as good a time as any for me to make my escape, so I moved to my car and sat with the windows shut.

Though I'd poked a little fun at him during his spiritual shakedown, I couldn't be overtly mean to the man in the wheelchair. What I really wanted to do was to stand up and say, to all three of them, "Why does God have to be harsh and vengeful? Why couldn't Jesus have a sense of humor? I thought God loved us all. You think God can only deal in black and white, and isn't complex enough to tread grey areas, too? I think you disrespect God when you promote such a negative image. You'll be hearing from His lawyers."

But I'm perfectly content for these fellows to continue believing the way they believe; I just wish they had the same courtesy for me, or any other laundromat heathens they happen to encounter.

41 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger I'm not here. said...

True. You didn't tell them to shut the fuck up.
Strange people are everywhere...

8:55 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger I'm not here. said...

BTW I'm proud of you for using restraint.
Not so sure I'd be that nice.

8:56 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

When I die, there will be a seafood buffet... and BOY, will those three guys be surprised!

That seafood buffet line is priceless. I may use it in the future. I can picture myself as an old dotty great-grandmother, saying that to my family members, and them shaking their heads at me, thinking I've completely lost my mind -- when really, I'll be smiling at my own private joke. :)

8:58 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

waiter rant did a pretty amazing post about that type of person a day or so ago. Just for the record, it helps to know that at one time, waiter was a seminary student studying for the priesthood. He has a unique perspective on religion and the shoving of in unwanted places.

9:14 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger mrtl said...

I love you, Bucky. And yes, I was momentarily distracted by the boobage above.

I'm about to have a contest, and I think you'd really like the prize. Please enter. ;)

9:45 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Nilbo said...

You have to know I'd agree with you, and I do, to a point ... but it's not quite so cut and dried as we'd all like to think it is.

For certain kinds of committed Christians, testifying and spreading the word and sharing their faith isn't an adversarial process. They truly believe they are doing you an enormous favour, that it's not them AGAINST you but them WITH you. They see themselves as your allies, and hope you will come to see that, too.

I'll use an admittedly shaky analogy: you win the lottery, and decide that the feeling of winning is so wonderful, you want others to feel it, too. So you stop at a laundromat and there's a guy there, sitting, reading his magazine, and you say "Hey ... got a second? I have a hundred thousand dollars for you."

And he looks at you and says "Christ, why can't you just leave me alone - you people are always trying to shove your goddamned money down my throat. I LIKE how I'm living. Fuck OFF!"

And before you say "Yeah, but what kind of moron walks away from 100 grand?", remember that - to these people - what they've offered you is worth infinitely more than 100 grand, or 100 million.

So you will never, ever win that kind of confrontation, and it's pointless to berate them (which I know you didn't do). Myself, I'm happy they found something that works for them, and if I found something like that I'd probably want to share it, too ... regardless of how many times I got rejected.

But, like most people, I don't have the time, the patience, or the room for someone else's God theory, good news or not ... and when strangers come up to me, I frown, shake my head, and point to my ears. "Poor guy is deaf."

I figure if they DO have $100 grand for me, I can fake a miracle.

10:33 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Candy said...

He was just looking for a holy hummer.

His wallet was out cause he heard about the 2 dollars.....

10:36 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

Will there be lobster? Cause Holy Shit I love me some lobster!!

10:53 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

OMG! I don't know why I haven't stopped by here before, You are hysterical! I just read a few of your other posts too. A riot. I will be back. Stacie
(I think I found you thru mama duck?)

11:07 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

I know where I'm going when *I* die. I'm going to play clarinet for an all-girl's jazz band in New Orleans.

I wish I had your quick-as-a-flash wit, Bucky. Mine's more 'esprit d'escalier' - 20 minutes after I left I would have thought of a FABULOUS retort.

11:27 PM, November 03, 2005  
Blogger Ern said...

Very well told, Bucky. A fine piece of writing. And seriously, the seafood buffet line KILLED me!

Also, Nilbo the Wise has such wise perspective. They don't mean to be adversarial at all, they are really acting out of love (most of them). It's just so hard to express love in that way without having it come across as judgemental.

12:09 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger PlazaJen said...

I used to have a big margarita party every year. A Jehovah's Witness had the misfortune to knock on my door the day after the aforementioned party. Yours truly was feeling all the pain I'd stopped feeling the night before.
Me: Open Door.
Standing there: Woman, three kids.
Me, Squinting: "Yes?"
Woman: "Do you believe that Jesus loves you?"
Me: "No."
Shuts door in her face.

I've never shut the door in ANYone's face but for that incident, and let me tell you, while no time is the right time to get someone else's belief system shoved at you/down your throat/implanted in a chip under your skin? Being hungover and in great pain is not a good time. Much akin to doing laundry, I'd say!

12:22 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Zombie_Flyboy said...

I think you did good Bucky. I've had this kind of thing happen to me before.

It's akward and not much fun.

My main thing is to live, let live, and everyone leave me the hell alone.

I hate it when people decide to barge into my life, be it do gooders, salesmen, neighbors, or whatever.

I always try to be polite though and it usually works. If they keep on bugging me though, there comes a point where I just say enough is enough and hit them in the face with a big five gallon bucket of pig shit that I keep beside my door just for this very purpose.

2:21 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

of course, I'm so far behind in the commenting, I'm still thinking about the fact that for some damn reason, the laundromats here attract strange guys too - mostly the ones who want to stare at me folding my thongs. Must be a Michigan thing.

Nils: I do the "don't speak Englush" routine, and just stare at people - I have found people get out of your way when I do that.

Bucky- I'm going to borrow your sace to blatantly promote the fact that it is not only Linus the cats' birthday (he is 4) but it is also my birthday, and mine has a 4 in it too.
I have no plans, so all suggestions are welcome.Somehow I figure this crowd could come up with something suitable.

6:46 AM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LoL That "what about purgatory" line had me cracking up. I think you restrained yourself very well. I always hate getting into those kinds of conversations. I never know what to say. Now, I'll just think of you.

8:25 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Susie said...

What Nilbo and Ern said. Christians are taught to share their faith -- "the great commission" we've called it -- go ye into all the world and preach the gospel. Trouble is, so few of us truly have the gift of evangelism. Some have it -- Billy Graham. Most don't. I don't. But that doesn't get me off the hook from sharing my faith. So those of us without the gift must find other ways, use our other gifts, to communicate the same message, the message of God's love. I suspect we won't go too far wrong if we try to follow Jesus' example. He didn't badger people, He didn't corner them and threaten them with hell, try to bully them or shame them into believing. He spoke, and people came to Him to listen. He carried Himself and lived His life in such a way that people wanted to be close to Him, to touch Him, to ask Him "Who are you, why are you the way you are?" Then He told them about God. THAT is an even taller order than preaching at people.

"Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary use words."
St. Francis of Assisi

8:36 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

A coworker of mine once had just "turned a corner" in his life and was eager to share. We talked for a while, and it was a good conversation, although it was getting a bit tiring -- then he "challenged" me to attend the church he goes to the following (or any) Sunday. "I challenge you" -- those were his words, and with those words he took off on that horse and rode it for all it was worth. I was pregnant with my third child at that point and tired beyond belief -- just the thought of what it would take to get our family up, nicely dressed and out the door on a Sunday morning exhausted me. I think I made some sort of disbelieving snorty sound, stopped short of telling him where to shove his challenge, and pretty much held my tongue after that. He only brought it up one other time (when I was even MORE pregnant with our third child). To be honest, I remember trying to be polite, but I don't remember exactly what I said to him. He hasn't challenged me again.

9:13 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh and whfopera, Hubby used to hold my panties way up over his head in the laundromat and loudly ask "ARE THESE YOURS HON?"

The man is over six feet tall. I hated when he did that.

9:15 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

actually, if i had a husband to do that, I would be on the floor laughing my ass off.

10:00 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger eclectic said...

In college, I once returned to the laundry for my should-be-dry-now whites, only to find that some creepy soul had invaded the dryer, selecting and carefully folding only the bras and unders, and left them neatly stacked on top of the dryer which still contained the remainder of the load. Gaaah! I immediately re-washed them and sat there horrified the whole time.

10:38 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger hemlock said...

WOW. I had no idea such restraint was possible!!! Nice work Bucky.

I just walk away and ignore....

..I don't need to be saved in no public place thank you very much.

10:42 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Katy Barzedor said...

M_D - I just couldn't! Somewhere, my dad is lookin' down at me, goin' "Wow...she DID pay attention to me sometimes."

CKelli - I think it's good for us to practice our senile behaviors now, so they're second nature when the grandkids come around.

Opera gal - I will have to go check it out. I love the way he writes.

Mrtl - I'm working on my entry right now...

Nilbo - you make a very valid point, and made me look at this in a way I had not before. I do understand, deep down, that these folks ARE offering me a share of what they believe to be treasure. But I still feel like they approach the subject with too much doom, gloom, and guilt. I would've felt better about the whole exchange if any one of them had cracked a smile at my obvious playfulness. I just don't think Jesus was a grim, humorless dude, and I don't think God sits around and devises punishments for even the smallest slights.

Jess - and he would've gotten it, too, if he hadn't harangued me. I charged him three fiddy.

Eclectic - I vow that there WILL be lobster, right next to the scallops and the jumbo shrimp.

Stacie - welcome to the Cotillion! Make sure you wear a helmet when you come in...not really for safety, but so you match me and everyone else here. ;)

Jim - can I revise my answer? I think I wanna be in your jazz band.

Ern - Well said. I just get pissy when people are judgemental. Then I feel the need to judge them back. Adn boy, do I look silly in them black robes.

PlazJen - hard to feel Jesus' love when you're pukin' and your head feels like a Mexican hat dance in a minefield.

Zombie - do you have any pig shit you could spare? I'm fresh out.

Opera gal - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! to you and your kitty cat. Does he dance dance dance and dance dance dance?
I think everyone should offer suggestions, but mine will be to drive to Windsor and tuck dollars in the ass-crack of buff strangers at Danny's. But that's just my advice.

Jen - always glad to help people be a smartass. :)

Susie - you're the Christianest person I know, and in a real, down-to-your-bones way, not in a fakey I'll-show-them kind of way. To me, you actually live, or at least attempt to live, your life by the examples of Jesus. Why can't everybody be like yooooou?

CKelli - Yeah, my hackles would be up at the "challenge" too. Dude, it's not a contest or a sport - it's faith, and doesn't have to be contained in a certain building.
And at least your hubby is holding up your CLEAN undies...

Opera gal - heh, I think I would crack up, too.

Eclectic - oh, you poor, poor dear. Has the trauma subsided?

LeafGirl - yup, some things are private. I also would not be pleased if someone demanded I bathe myself in a public place. Sure, maybe a bath is a good idea for me - okay, no "maybe" about it - but it's something I prefer to do in private. So it is with my spirituality.

10:46 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger hemlock said...

P.S. I once trained someone to replace me at my first post-university job before I moved on to bigger and better things.

On the last day she gave me a card. On one side it said "Thanks for being a great teacher... yudda...yudda...". On the other side, it started off "I'd be a murderer if I didn't share my faith in the Lord..." and went on and on and on.

A murderer???

Nope...not winnin' me over with that technique.

10:47 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wooo -- lobster AND JUMBO *shrimp*

11:31 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Opera Gal said...

eclectic - i think i may be a little sick - that is so creepy and disturbing.

BFE - been there done that and was thoroughly bored - I like my men to look like men, not boys. Danny's is a snoozefest - too many 18-year olds that look pre-pubescent. how about having all our fave male bloggers?

and no, he isn't unless dancing is something he does while slepping. I have to go get him toys today.

thanks for the warm fuzzies, though.

11:35 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

For some reason, this reminds me of the time some Jehovah's Witnesses paid a visit to my grandmother's farm. At some point in the visit, my grandmother was going to turn the dogs loose on them. They left shortly thereafter.

12:13 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Squirl said...

I'm with Susie that the best way to show your faith is to live it. I don't feel that people have to be in a specific building on a specific day to be loving, spiritual people. The folks who continue to harrass you after you've asked to be left alone are not doing their Faith any favors.

12:23 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Nilbo said...

Happy Birthday, WTF! I'd be glad to dance for you. Although, you have to promise NO MORE FLIRTING WITH ME.

1:43 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Torrie said...

Once when I was moving and loading boxes into the truck a woman walked by and said "don't forget to bring Jesus with you!"
We were rolling on the floor laughing.

1:43 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Bone Machine said...

"Who do you think is driving the truck?"

3:07 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Effie said...

So--was it BETTER or WORSE than getting hit on by a smelly yucky old man in the laundromat--or maybe of equal wrongness?

4:04 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So, there were a lot of really cruel responses to that on the tip of my tongue, but the little shred of decency that's lodged itself in my brain where I can't quite get at it kept stoppin' me and sayin' "Hey, that guy's all fucked up and in a wheelchair. You really gonna tell him to bite your alleged scrotum?"

Coffee. Everywhere. It's that little shred of decency I've also been trying to kick out of there.

Thank you.

5:21 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Trucks, flannel shirts, baseball, cap... hell for a second there I was tryin to remember when it was I propositioned you at the the laundrimat!

I am so beyond that "i'm here on a misssion line though"

5:37 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

whfropera - i wasn't staring.. honest. Okay, i did sneak a little peak, but....

5:42 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Kranki said...

The 'seafood buffet' line slayed me! You rock.

6:35 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger LadyBug said...

Bucky, that was one of the most delightful combinations of crude humor and thought-provoking insightfulness I've ever read. Thank you.

6:56 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Yeah for restraint! I used some today an didn't kill my boss! Go us!

10:17 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Amanda B. said...

Bless your heart Bucky. That's a crappy way to spend the afternoon. Sounds like you did VERY well though. Rock.

10:22 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger Schmootzie said...

I once told one of those assholes, "I fucked your savior"

That shut him up.

Landromats used to be my fav place to pick up chicks, or at least stalk them. You could lean the crotch against that machine on spin cycle and fantasize about the babe across the room...

11:48 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, I couldn't have said it better myself. Seafood buffet, I love it. (although, do you think they'd have a veggie buffet for me?) ;)

I do accept religious people having their own views, and good for them. But I've spent a large part of my life deliberating the issue, and I'm an atheist for a reason, so I'd like to be left the HELL ALONE when I'm on my own in public please. Ahem.

6:50 AM, November 07, 2005  
Blogger Maven said...

I loathe being approached by evangelists; and what I dislike even more than that is when they ask very pointed questions about MY relationship with God or MY perceptions of the bible. Personally it's no one else's business.

I am so impressed with your quick wit and your restraing, Bucky... Me? When I've been approached, and usually before I've even had my first cup of coffee in the a.m., so I let them go on a bit before I realize what their agenda is, and when they ask me if I want any "uplifting literature," I simply say "No thank you. Have a nice day." And leave it at that. Anything else after that, would be worthy of a verbal smackdown.

4:51 PM, November 09, 2005  

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