Today was one of those days that happens to me more often than I would like, a day where seemingly every detail seems calculated to put me ill at ease. I do not consider myself a person of too many sensitivities, but the ones I have are fairly straightforward, I would think, and easy for others to avoid. But no, today was not a day where this happened at all, and I’m not sure what to think about it. The day began a bit oddly, as I carpooled to an entirely unfamiliar area in Kaizer (near Salem) to serve the elderly brethren who were enjoying the senior’s brunch down there. The conversation there started things off on the wrong foot, as the person I was with asked about a few stories, most of which involved having to explain why I don’t get along with the local pastor of another Church of God organization, or why I got thrown out of Thailand, or why I despair of finding a place in my life where I don’t attract unwanted drama.
Once I got there, I ended up helping out moving tables around, putting iced tea and lemonade into pitchers, setting up chairs, putting on tablecloths, and standing guard outside of a lonely door in which all of the people who entered were ones I knew personally already. This left me just barely in time to enter back into the room before the prayer and food service started, where I was a volunteer server. During my time serving I ended up sitting with a couple of couples who are in one case frequent and in another case occasional dinner companions, and sitting next to the paternal grandmother of a few young people I know very well, and have even gone on a fortress tour with (which not many people can say outside of my family). I get the feeling she knew far more about me than she was willing to say, but that just made the day more unusual.
The acts themselves were not calculated to put me at ease, as many of them hit rather sensitive spots. Aside from a lovely piano solo, every act trod on some kind of personal ground for me personally. This was, it should be noted, not the sort of event a single senior citizen would have enjoyed if they were paying attention to the continual themes about marriage and family. There was a married couple singing a romantic Lady Antebellum song. There were two sisters singing a song that wondered if the trials in life were God’s mercies in disguise. But what was most painful for me personally was a skit done by a husband and wife playing a total of five characters between them called “The Man Without,” where a man sought a princess’ hand in marriage, and after a lot of misunderstandings as his point was not clearly understood, the ending was painful, in that the fellow was rebuffed, and then immediately asked for the directions to the next castle. It would have been a painful skit under the best of circumstances, but the fact that it was from married peers of mine that made it more painful to watch, because it turned the awkwardness and pain of courtship from an honorable if slightly too formal knight into an object of mass ridicule, something I tend to take very painfully personally. By the time the event ended with a rendition of “Unless The Lord Shall Build A House,” in which I sang the tenor harmony as is my fashion, I felt thoroughly and personally made fun of, perhaps not deliberately, but certainly deeply.
After more help cleaning up, taking out things, and getting the room back to where it should be, I ended up driving two people home. It was at this point that the day rapidly unraveled, at least according to expectations. First my plan was to drop off one person at the place where I picked him up, at the border between Tualatin and Lake Oswego. Yet we got an invitation to his house, so I figured it would be fine to be sociable for a bit. I drank some iced tea sweetened with some sort of non-mango fruit like kiwi or passion fruit, chatted in an oblique way with the lady of the house about some of my personal troubles, showing herself largely friendly to my own wishes. Apparently I should be expecting future invitations to get togethers with young adults at their house, at least, which is nice. After adding some wood to my trunk for some work projects for the other two people I was driving, I ended up next going to the site of my dinner last night to drop them off at the car that belonged to one of my passengers, only it wouldn’t start, so after trying a long while to jump start his car, I ended up driving them to his house over near where I work, looking at his house and his lovely deck and flowers, and then did my errands and drove home. What a day, what a day. It’s hard to know what to think about taking that much time dealing with that much uncomfortable and unhappy material, not only for myself but for others as well.