I took a 12-week class at church and last night was our final session. It was to be a lovely celebration of our togetherness and our newfound wisdom, capped by a potluck dinner and the presentation of our final projects. It was...different.
Can you sense where I am going with this? Hint: it does not end with me feeling Oneness With The Source of All Good.
The potluck was great. Unlike many modern potlucks, people had actually cooked. Food. From scratch. There was a shrimp in dill sauce thing, a rustic pear tart, a vegan cheesecake made with coconut milk, a bounteous salad. I made my famous traditional Pico de Gallo, which is not a raw salsa, but a refreshing salad with jicama, oranges and cucumbers.
I had just dished up my whole plate when a lady from my class walked up to the salad table, plate already a-brimming. She stood there, surveyed the offerings, opened her mouth wide and produced three or four loud, percussive coughs.
All over the food. She didn't even attempt to cover her face or do a Dracula-cough thing. Nope. She just let her phlegm flag fly.
Have I ever mentioned that I am a bit of a germaphobe? Like maybe 1000 times or so? Yeah.
My soul shriveled up into a little black cinder ball of meanness and hate. If I hadn't already had my food on my plate, I would not have eaten. I was stunned.
Then it was time for final projects. The rules were pretty loose - anything you feel like creating that expresses what you got from this class. People poured their hearts into this. They wrote poetry, songs, gave speeches full of depth and passion.
Me, I did a powerpoint. No, there weren't bullet points involved. Or charts. I took some of my photos and put things I had learned from class on them as text and voila. I are computer jeenius.
During the presentations, I was sitting on a loveseat. Coughing Lady was sitting in a chair next to me. She put her wadded up bunch of damp tissues on the arm of the loveseat, where it tumbled down and rested damply against my leg.
Oh yeah, baby. There I was. A germaphobe. With a polluted wad of tissues resting on my body. Completely unable to do anything about it. I couldn't touch the infected germwad with my hand. I couldn't stand up and move, because we were in the middle of our Deep, Touching and Meaningful final project presentations.
All I could do was sit there and feel the dampness of her evil germy body fluids soaking into my pants. Every nerve in my body was jumping up and down screaming.
The irony is not lost on me. I come to this spiritual class to learn about my divine nature and I end up stewing in a pot of my own fears, prejudices and obsessions. Very funny, God. Very damned funny.
Finally, during one of the songs, I used my lyrics sheet - when I was supposed to be singing along - to flip the germwad onto the floor quick as a wink when no one was looking. (Yes, I cleaned it up later. Yeesh, people).
So my spiritual advancement seems to have stalled somewhere between "Horking all over the food" and "Allowing your germy tissues to get loose and visit other people." I may just go join a cult. A non-coughing kind of cult.