Today, after a workout at the gym, I went to Reconciliation (a.k.a. Confession, for you pre-Vatican II Catholics out there). There were tons and tons of people waiting to get shriven, and it took about an hour before my turn came up I didn't mind, really, as it was some very welcome quiet time to actually sit and think about things for a change. While the average time in the confessional was between two and three minutes per person, this particular priest and I got on like a house on fire (a little infernal humor there the confessional itself was hotter than hell and I felt really sorry for him stuck in there listening to one penitent after another), and we ended up chatting for several minutes. I would have felt worse about making everyone wait while we spoke of this and that, but the other confessional had opened up in the meantime, and the backlog of perdition to be expunged had lessened quite a bit. Perhaps the priest was just a little relieved to have a bit of human interaction I'm not a lifelong Catholic, nor a particularly traditional one, so I don't have that conception of distance and hierarchy that many Catholics my age and older tend to have. In any event, it was a very personal, warm, beneficial instance of the sacrament, and I felt positive about the whole thing. Which was nice.
Alas, my calm was shattered a bit later in the afternoon, when some gormless, feckless, witless jerk pulled out in front of me and caused me to squeal my tires
they (the tires) actually smoked on the pavement. He was very apologetic, as well he should be, for I very easily could have killed him, and I didn't want even his
death on my newly absolved soul.
When I got home, I bit the bullet and decided this was my day to meet the obligation I had undertaken from the Australian Red Cross to doorknock in my neighborhood and request donations. This combined two of the things I hate most in the entire world: talking to strangers and asking people for money. But I had agreed to do it, so I did it. It was not fun. And our neighborhood is almost entirely vertical. So I guess I got a second workout into the bargain, which is probably a good thing, despite how it felt at the time. Interestingly, the first person to ask for a receipt (I offered one to everyone, but most people said not to bother) had a Buddha statue on her porch I couldn't help thinking there was a dissonance between practicing nonattachment to material things and wanting to take a tax deduction for one's charitable donations. But hey, none of my business, really. She donated, and that was a good and generous thing to do. I also noticed at one house, in a plastic shopping bag just inside the door, a leather whip. One does not ask, and one is happy not to.
After that, it was time to put up the whiteboards I'd bought earlier in the day. Our three lives are now so intimidatingly complex that we've had to adopt a whiteboard system to keep straight who is supposed to be where, what messages have come in, and what should be purchased on the next trip to the supermarket. In the process of putting up the boards, I noticed on the packaging what is now my absolutely most favoritest our-lawyers-made-us-say-this warning message I have ever, ever seen:
CAUTION: Do not ingest or inhale magnets. Attraction of magnets in the body may cause serious injury and require immediate medical care.
What I like the most
about this warning message is the assumption that one would, as a matter of course, ingest (or inhale!
) not one, but TWO magnets. And they're not small, either.
Then we ate a nice magnet-free dinner of my concoction (with some help from Old El Paso, an ever-reliable brand when one is in a bit of a rush), and dashed out of the house to hear a concert by the Illawarra Choral Society, which Houston used to conduct but does not anymore.
Now we are home. I have not written one word today on the novel. And it's so, so close to completion. If my soul were still dirty I'd be consumed with self-loathing. But I'm squeaky clean, so it's a bit harder to wallow in negativity. I should probably go to Reconciliation more often. It seems to be good for me.