Friday, March 03, 2006

Does God really love everybody, or does He just not want to hurt their feelings?

OK, obviously the title is a joke, but I've come across some people lately who have truly tested my ability to be loving. Scratch that... they've tested my ability to be civil and refrain from verbal or physical assault. Here's a quick look at three winners I've encountered this week:

1) Checkbook egoist -- I'm at the grocery store in the express lane. I'm fourth in line, and there's a kind-looking lady in front of me. We wait a few minutes before she finally gets her turn and gets her items scanned. The total is rung up, and she then open her purse, gets out her checkbook and starts writing grocer name, date, etc.... Huh!?! You've been in line for five minutes, knowing you were going to write a check, and you wait until everything's rung up and sacked before opening your purse? In the express lane? Yikes, I guess the big city rush has gotten to me after all.

2) Lane schizo -- Several times a week I'm stuck in heavy traffic, and there's almost always that one driver... you know the one. Every 30 seconds he's changing lanes, back and forth, back and forth. He's all over the road and it's getting him nowhere, because we're all stuck in this together. By the time we all get moving, he's put an additional two miles on his odometer with all the sideways motion. Sometimes this guy makes me laugh, sometimes I get a little angry, but I haven't been reduced to honking at him yet.

3) Mr. personal space invader -- I was doing deadlifts at the YMCA, and the power rack happens to be setup right in front of a bench press station. I kneel down and prepare to pick up the weights for my first set, and the guy in front of me finishes his bench presses and sits up on the edge of the bench. This puts his face literally eighteen inches from mine, and we're eye to eye. I don't move... I can't move, I'm about to lift extremely heavy weight off the floor repeatedly. He just stays there.

I think, surely he's going to move. After all, he has to rest before his next set, so he'll probably walk around or something. I stay in my crouched position, hands around the bar, ready to lift it off the floor for my set of 15 repititions, which takes a while. Finally, I start my set. Up, down... eye to eye. Up, down... eye to eye. Every time I put the weight back on the floor, there he is. As I exhale to begin each rep, I literally see his hair flutter from my breath. Of course, two men this close never make eye contact, so every time I come down I have to find some other place to look. Anything but straight ahead. This is unfortunate, as straight ahead is a good place to look when you're deadlifting for a long set.

Around rep #8, I start thinking how cool it would be to say something every time I crouch down to put the weight on the floor. Something like this:

Rep #1: "Hey."
#2: "How's it going?"
#3: "This is heavy."
#4: "Still here?"
#5: "Poodle."
#6: (Burp loudly)
#7: "Excuse me."
#8: "Mmm, tacos."
#9: "Am I done yet?"
#10: "Danka."
#11: "Mamasaymamasan-mumacasan"

And so on... if he's there next week, maybe I'll try it.

Did Jesus ever get exasperated with people like this? The woman at the market who scrambled for her denarii? The donkey-rider who kept cutting people off in Jerusalem? Maybe in some scroll, hidden deep in a cave, is a written record of the time Jesus said, "My child... I have given you a brain. Use it."

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