Sunday, March 06, 2005

in the dark with a guy

After a particularly horrid week, I decided to treat myself to a seminar on the history of churches here in Savannah. Now who of the people I know wouldn't mind being schlepped along to a boring history presentation? Hmm, Forrest lives only a few blocks from Independent Presbyterian Church, where the seminar was to be held ...

Oh drat! It's already 7 and the doors are closed.

Forrest and I walked up the church steps and tugged on the massive front doors.


What about the two side front doors?


Forrest: "Do you know where it's supposed to be?"

Me: "I thought there would at least be a sign."

We walked around to the side of the building. The lights were on, surely there were people inside.

The side door ... locked.

The basement door ... locked.

What about that one down there? Dare I try? ... the others had been locked.

Gasp! The door actually opened.

We walked up the dark staircase, searched the deserted hallways for signs of life, and finally stopped and pressed our ears against the back door of the sanctuary.

Forrest: "Are they speaking english?"

Me: "I don't think so."

We peaked through the half-closed blinds. The room was filled to capacity with a total of three individuals tuning the newly installed organ.

Sheepishly, we slunk back through the dark corridors to find our way back outside. Boy, did I feel ridiculous! My first time visiting IPC and I was sneaking around in the dark with a guy!

Well, the night wasn't a complete waste of time. I was at least able to organize my box of pictures. While Forrest looked through them, we exchanged tales of our travels. We both agreed that should I move to Rome, I ought to get a Vespa moped so that I can maneuver through the suicidal traffic on my way to meet with my next 'English as a foreign language" student.

Speaking of the English language, together we came up with two sayings that ought to help native English speakers express themselves better. Both involve coming up with an excuse for not doing something.

The first one was: "I'm sorry. I can't do that. That's something Catholics do."

Ha, Ha. You're shocked aren't you? Probably not as shocked as I was when I first heard it. That phrase actually came about thanks to my mother.

When I was a little girl, I asked my mother once or twice, as we stood in line at the grocery store, if we could get a jar of marshmallow cream. All the kids at school were talking about how wonderful it tasted. Couldn't we try it? I don't remember asking again after the first two negative responses, but everytime we stood in line ... there it was ... mocking me as it sat snuggled up against the Wonder Bread.

Reminissing on old times with my mother recently, I jokingly commented how she had a knack for bursting my bubble ... I would see some shiny new gizzmo and wished to purchase it with my allowance.

"Oh, honey, you don't really want that. What would you do with it?"

With that, my mother had successfully channelled my logical side and changed my mind. So instead I just bought grape flavored bubble gum. (Hey, if you saved two wrappers and sent in a dollar bill you could adopt a humpback whale. My whale was named "Salt and Pepper.")

The recent conversation turned toward the marshmallow cream.

"I should have just told you that we don't eat marshmallow cream because Catholics do."


"Well, when I was little it seemed as if everything we couldn't do was because Catholics did it. We couldn't drink alcohol and we couldn't dance ... But as for the marshmallow cream ... well, I just didn't know what you would do with it."

The second saying is a direct translation from the Japanese: "I have something." Pure and simple. I have somthing. "Do you want to go see that movie with us this weekend?"

Sorry, I have something.

"Would you like grits with your breakfast?"

No, thank you. I have something.

It's so versatile. It could mean you have plans, or you have an allergy ... or it could mean you hate that movie, or that grits disgust you. But it remains polite all the same. Sure you may get some odd looks, "What?"

Hmm? What do you mean, What?

And then quickly change the subject. They'll figure it out.

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