Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Park The Cynicism at the Door (today only)
I will never forget driving up to the white clapboard community center in tony North Arlington and seeing Miss Moira walk out in flowing red silk Chinese pajamas. She looked at me and said, “Where are your pajamas?”
Ha! She’s knows me better than that.
What I failed to realize was that I had to do some yoga with the bambini!!! No phoning it in. Scary! But none of the adults batted an eyelash. They all put their mats on the floor and heaved to. We reached for the moon, the teacher banged a gong, everyone chanted, Ooooooooommmmm. I’M SERIOUS!! Even the wee ones.
I put Sweete Daisy Faire in this absolutely hilarious pair of lace fringed lime green pants—au couture doncha know!—with a pink leotard garnished with a tulle flower. I am crazy. It’s confirmed. Let’s just say my daughter was the only one who looked like Isadora Duncan.
The kids were so fer cute!! All angelic blond and red ringlets and a Very Attentive birthday girl who was grooving to the swami muse. Part way thru, mid stretch, Moira came up to me and whispered, “I'm getting you back for Chuck E. Cheese.”
That was Nick’s 5th birthday party and Aunt Moira has never quite recovered. Even Nick was stupefied. He was just going on the PBS ads, you know? He didn’t realize the whole carnival horror sequence that was in store for him. That was our one birthday capitulation to The Man. All other birthdays have been homegrown wackedelic Mommy psycho events. As it should be. And so it is written.
OK, so THEN, keep that cynicism at bay, on Sunday it was Scout Sunday. Nick loves it. It was 6:30 a.m. and he was already dressed in his full regalia (Mass insn’t until 9:00). He even voluntarily brushed his hair. Nick’s all about the “costume.” So’s Mommy.
Mommy piled into the shower to wash away the collective greasy film of Weekend Frumpadelia. Oh yeah! Then I grudgingly put on Work Clothes and we trotted up to the church. Nick sat in front with the other scouts and I sat in a tightly packed pew. Apparently my patented Don’t Sit Next to Me Radar was faulty because a man and his kid sat next to me. I was obsessed throughout Mass that everyone would think we were a family. I am so mature.
Mass started and lo and behold, there was a young, extremely telegenic priest in residence. Hmm. He introduced himself as Father Kane and said that he was formerly a parishioner and he had spent the past six months as a chaplain in Iraq. Lump begins to form.
He was really tall and attractive—sorry to write that about a priest, but HEY, we all read The Thorn Birds. Keep it real!
Sooo, he conducted the Mass and it was really beautiful for some reason to see this tall handsome man with such a pleasant and happy countenance manage all the steeped rituals of the Mass and talk to us like he wasn’t bored out of his tree, you know? Like he made connecting thoughts and related things to one another.
He talked about a sacred oasis in Iraq where Abraham used to rest and how they would take soldiers there. Then he told a couple of stories about the troops and how much it meant to him to minister them. He told about receiving the confession of one of the soldiers who was badly wounded.
Kids, I was moved. I mean here’s this young man taking on the sins and burdens of a fellow man. For some reason it was all resonating with me. Then he said, quite completely earnestly and guilelessly, that he reminded the troops all the time that people back home were praying for them and that our prayers were so important and they were keeping them safe and helping them. Lump reaches critical mass.
Then he looked out into the congregation and said that was it was so nice for him to be home, with his parents and family, and he looked at the scouts and said that he used to sit there just like them, as a scout, in those same pews, when he was a little boy. FORGET IT. It was a very emotional moment.
When he was finished, he turned to walk back to his chair and there was this palpable moment in the church when everyone wanted to clap, but you know, you’re not sure if you should, and then there was just this totally spontaneous burst of applause.
The weather was gorgeous all weekend. Nick made a fort across the street at our neighbors’. Ian and Daisy played out in the backyard. I made a plump oven stuffer roaster for dinner last night. It seemed like Norman Rockwell was waiting in the wings somewhere, all crinkled smile and knowing calm, watching us try to carve our own names into the suburban ideal.
Tomorrow: Cynicism will return in all its bounty. And look for an EXCLUSIVE money shot sent to us from a point FAR, far on the compass… |
Cynicism is another word for reality