I have often joked that I have a life-long, and occasionally successful, mantra of “Must. Control. Sense. Of. Humor.” Depending on whom of my social circle you ask I am either brilliantly successful in doing so or wildly hilarious in my failures. Sometimes, and generally unintentionally, I am cruel in these failings, so I do keep trying to keep my warped wit on a tight leash until I have had a chance to really read the crowd.
Last night on my way into work I stopped by the corner store. I had parked my car and was readying myself to mask up and deal with people. Yes, I do essentially ‘people’ for a living, but as many have observed people sometimes make this *very* difficult! Also, this time of year is one of the busiest in the Hospitality business in Central Florida which adds a few interesting wrinkles to every situation. Thus, I sometimes spend a moment fortifying myself before wandering into the social fray.
As a result, and thanks to my basic spiritual routine, I was fairly grounded and centered when the apparently nice smiling young lady holding a small pile of what looked to be shrink-wrapped thin trade paperback books stepped up to my window and waved and indicated she wished to speak to me, I took it with an openminded calm. Now this is the same corner store that some times has random emaciated and, well, rather methy looking women sometimes pop up next to ones vehicle like a toaster strudel inquire about donations or… work opportunities, which I try to be polite in refusing but they way they often suddenly tap urgently on my window when I am pulling my head together and placing phone in pocket and mask on face and not really paying attention to the world outside my vehicular bubble often puts me more than a little out of sorts!
She seemed reasonably nourished and lacked the frantic/hostile energy or Eeekey vibes of these other ladies, had a friendly smile, and so far this seemed a different type of encounter entirely. So I rolled down my window.
“Excuse me Sir, may I take a moment to Pray for you?” she asked.
I smiled back her and said “Thank you, but no thank you.” She seemed a little surprised by this response for a moment, I am guessing she had counters for people getting hostile or being cautiously interested but she wasn’t really prepared for a polite refusal and after a moment of standing there staring into space with a confused “oh” face, she wandered off to her next potential recruit.
I went about my business at the corner store with only a faint sense of regret and missed opportunity.
Because quite honestly there have been times in life where I have been quite willing and able to bring to such an moment the Full Zelda (Spellman-raising-her-sister-Hilda-from-the-dead) Energy it richly deserves…
I can see myself, still smiling and polite, replying with a kindly…
“Only If you let me pray for you first, my dear.”
Opening the car door, with Siouxsie and the Banshees still playing on the car stereo in the background, I would stand by the open door and smile benevolently at her. Slowly raising my hands up, arms perpendicular to my body, elbows bent upwards at a 90 degree angle and palms facing up to the sky I would take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, tilt my head slightly back and ecstatically shout my prayer to the heavens…
“Thrice Holy Hecate! Gorgo! Mormo! Thousand faced Night! Glorious golden-haired maiden who delights in wandering over the rough rocks, the baying of hounds, and the remnants of offerings! Come unto us bearing torches, come unto us crowned in serpents, come unto us wielding the keys to the cosmos! Our Lady of The Crossroads, Mistress of the Earth and Skies and Seas, Queen of Phantoms, Goddess of Witches, Nurse, Guardian, Guide, and Savior! Be, Be Here, Be Here Now! Protect and guide this young woman upon her journeys this night! By the Holy Dead, By the Holy Spirits, By all the many Holy Gods, Bliss and Blessed Be and So Mote It Be!”
Now, admittedly, the temptation towards such behavior is the sort of thing that can get one talked about. Especially when enacted at the corner store near ones home. But given the neighborhood I live in I’m reasonably certain that it would have only earned a concerned look from the Security guard, and my partner and I have been there often enough and are seen as that quirky friendly older gay couple who come in all the time. Plus I probably would have felt bad if she had recoiled in horror, dropped her publications, and ran screaming into the night… or perhaps fallen to her knees in terrified fervent prayers of her own. I also had to be on my way to work, and didn’t have time to file a report had she decided to beat the proverbial hell out of me with her stack of publications on Gods love and kindness.
So last night, for good or perhaps ill, I kept it on the inside.
More misadventures and general rantings soon my friends, I promise!
Bliss and Blessed Be,
Pax / Geoffrey