Sunday, July 15, 2007

St. Christopher, Cover Your Ears

Jennifer recounts some road rage on the way to Mass, prompting my own memories of church-related ira viae.

First. Our city has two north-south freeways, connected by various east-west throughways which weren't designed to be major thoroughfares and so have some eccentricities. The freeway entrance we use the most is a two-lane street with the fun feature that the right lane will take you southbound (leftwards) on the freeway, while to head north (rightwards) on the freeway you must be in the left lane. There's a tiny sign telling you this, right before the intersection where it can do no earthly good, and your first time through you will end up going the wrong direction on the freeway and turning around at the next exit.

Unless, upon getting to the intersection and discovering you're in the wrong lane, you come to a complete stop and signal your forlorn hope of changing to the correct lane, thus preventing all the cars behind you who wish to get on the freeway from making that light (and it's a long cycle). When the light at last turns red, you may cross lanes and get on the freeway, while the drivers stuck at the light behind you curse you and your progeny, yea unto the fortieth generation.

Now as the driver immediately behind such a deeply confused person, I felt it not uncharitable to sound the horn a few brief times, in the hope of conveying the complex sentiment that "While I sympathize with your predicament, one which all of us here shared on our first journey through this intersection, I--speaking for myself and for the drivers of the thirty cars behind me--must insist that you resignedly accept your fate, continue through the intersection to your fated southbound direction, and make a u-turn at the next exit."

But no. The minutes dragged on, my lane unmoving. The light turned yellow, then red; the offending driver crossed the intersection into the northbound lane and continued onto the freeway, and those of us behind him sat to wait for the next green. Upon which I lost it, and began banging on the steering wheel, and hurling imprecations (moderated for the ears of the amused children present) for several cathartic minutes.

Then the car next to me, in the blessed northbound lane, honked, and from the corner of my eye I could see the driver gesture at me. Furious, I turned toward this interloper into my private road rage moment, and saw--Sister Mary W., pointing and laughing at me, then banging her own steering wheel in imitation. Then laughing her head off some more. Much worse than being piously reminded that the Lord sees all, is being made forcefully and empirically aware of the fact that Sister sees, if not all, quite a lot.

She laughed at me the next few times we met at church, too. Aaagh.

Second. Our church is downtown, where parking is scarce; there are a dozen spaces for parishioners in the so-called "parking lot" in the alley behind. Almost late for Mass, I swung into the (one-way) alley in the remote hope of an empty space. And mirabile dictu, there it was! Waiting for me. So I wouldn't be late for Mass.

Then suddenly a smaller car swung wrong-way into the alley from the other end. I hit the brake, and the little car zipped neatly into the one empty spot. I didn't honk; but being human, several less-than-flattering thoughts about the driver were just beginning to crystallize in my head, when I saw him jump out of the car and sprint toward the sacristy door. Oh--good morning, Bishop.

I guess if there's anyone with a good reason for rushing into Mass right before it starts....

I didn't even block in His Eminence's car with mine.

2 Comments:

Blogger sophia said...

Too, too, funny!

4:27 PM  
Blogger mrsdarwin said...

Parking is indeed a problem downtown. I didn't know there was a lot behind the church, but since we're always just in the nick of time to any Mass, this new-found knowledge probably won't do any good.

7:50 PM  

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