Originally written May 12, 2010
Hi, all – had a 90-second encounter this weekend that I’m still pondering and continues to make me chuckle. It was bizarre and absurd (and, I think, sweet, but I’m still trying to figure that one out…)
No judging, now. I’m not trying to start a fight or anything, and if ANYONE attempts to start a serious debate about this, they’re missing the point, and I’m out of it. GET IT? Nooooo snarkiness allowed. I’m relaying this experience for the sole purpose of giving anyone who cares to read it a smile and/a laugh.
I’m not the least bit offended by the conversation or the person with whom I had it, so don’t anyone get the wrong idea. My final disclaimer is that I am all about religious people who are uplifted by and vocal about their spirituality, as long as along the way, they aren’t insulting others or keeping others down on their way to being so uplifted.
Okay, down to business.
Lemme set the scene. Sunday, Mother’s Day, on the train coming home from NYC. Sitting at the window, empty seat beside me. I close my eyes in an attempt to snooze. Round about Phili, I opened my eyes to find a woman seated next to me, and the following conversation (as accurately as I can remember it) took place.
Her: Oh, did I startle you? Is it alright that I’m sitting here? You are bee-yoo-tiful!
Me: Of course you can sit here. And, I’m sorry what else was that you said?
Her: Oh! I said you are beautiful!
Me: Oh! Well… um…thank you! So are you… (Bizarre enough for you, yet? Men, get your minds outta the gutter. It gets much less romantic after this)
(A few generic pleasantries take place, among them noting how beautiful the sunset was at that moment…)
Her: GAWD’s miracles.
Me: (smile, and non-committal nod… I mean, to what/whomever you attribute the things that take your breath away – that’s cool. I’m all about the appreciatin’.)
Her: You DO believe in the Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ, right?
Me: (taken aback) Pardon?
Her: You DO believe in Christ our Savior, right?
Me: No…but you’re still welcome to sit here.
Her: (Audible gasp, eyes WIDENING, looking at me as if I had snakes slithering out of my ears…) You DON’T???
Me: Well, no. I’m Jewish.
Her: You ARE? I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Jewish religion!
Me: Well, I’m not the one to ask. I’m pretty uneducated on the subject.
Her: Really? Well, so, then are you a Jehovah’s Witness???
Me: (Smiling…) No. No, I’m not. (At this point I’m trying to think of how I can compress this into a fb status update…)
Her: Oh, well, but you don’t believe in Jesus Christ???
Me: Well, I believe he existed, but not that he was the Son of God…
Her: What? Who do you believe the Messiah is?
Me: According to Judaism, the Messiah has not arrived yet.
Her: Well, who DO the Jewish people believe in????
Me: Jews who are religious believe in…well…you know…GOD.
Her: (The light bulb goes on over her head…) Oooooooooh… I see… well, maybe (she’s getting wistful, now) just maybe Jesus will show YOU the way and save YOU. He saved ME. Maybe He’ll open YOUR eyes to all the miracles He performs all around you. (nodding her head, as if she is CERTAIN this will be the case.)
Me: Yes, well, I hope you won’t think me rude if I close my eyes again?
Her: Oh, no – you go on ahead.
Me: Thank you… (closing my eyes.)
No more than five minutes later, I opened my eyes, and the seat next to me was EMPTY. Empty, I tell you. No sign of my friend in sight (or sound – she was LOUD.) Apparently all I need to do is close my eyes, and awkward situations will go away, right? Right? I can hope, right????