Tuesday, September 20, 2005

nice and polite me

Early Saturday morning, I went to my cousin’s house to serve as one of the sponsors in her daughter, Micah’s, christening rites. I was the first one to arrive, which prompted my cousin to conclude that I have finally learned to be on time. If she could only see my time card at the office.

The pastor requested that all godparents say their prayers for the kid, one by one. I wanted to tell them that I should be exempt from this exercise because I don’t exactly pray. I opened my mouth and went “ahhhh” and then they sort of assumed that I was just shy and needed cajoling. They said there was no reason to be shy; the ceremony would be less formal and more meaningful if godparents would pray for the kid, too. Oh shit, not again.

The pastor started out with the usual exhortation that the child should be trained according to the ways of the Lord. The christening—they called it dedication—was more of a pledge of commitment of the parents and godparents to lead the child toward God’s path. The little speech sat well with the guests’ sensibilities as they all punctuated it with mild applause and words of affirmation. Pretty perfunctorily, I should say. I felt like an alien in the midst of a cult ritual.

When it was my time to “pray,” I said: “I would rather say my wish for her. Micah, when you grow up, I hope that you would approach everything with a critical eye and an open mind. Never ever let anyone, or any institution for that matter, dictate to you what you should do and how you should live your life. I can’t promise that life would be easy. But when the difficult times come, I assure you that you will never be alone.” The baby just stared at me with wide eyes and twitched its arm slightly. I felt stupid for talking to her like that. I should’ve just said “coo coo, cutie-cutie baby-chukie pie! You wanna go pooh pooh to escape this farce?” I think she could’ve related to it more.

Later, during lunch, one of the godparents approached me and said, “Ah so you’re Sol’s youngest brother! No wonder you look familiar. We’ve been praying for you. So that you would find the truth!” With emphasis on find.

What a nice introductory spiel to start a lasting friendship.

“Which church do you go to? Or do you ever go to church?” she added. I swear, she must’ve taken a crash course on How to Piss Off People You Just Met.

“No, I only go to church on special occasions,” I replied.

“Special occasions? So God is just ‘for special occasions?’”

You have to be either stoned or plain dumb not to notice the derision in her voice. Since it was a beautiful morning, I decided to be nice. It was not the proper venue to be acerbic to some tactless bitch. So I politely turned away, rolled my eyes, and helped myself to some veggies on the buffet table. I doubt if she would understand me even if i had tried to explain my views. Besides, I don’t need to explain myself to anyone. So I let her think what she wanted as I silently pigged out on chopsuey.

------------

That night, after class, Erica, her sister, her friend, and I watched the gala performance of McVie’s play Bayan Bayanan at the Ateneo. Thanks, McVie, for having us as guests. Sorry we couldn’t stay for the cocktails.

24 Comments:

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Saint Eroica said...

that's why when i'm around people not my "kind", i just keep mum... useless to have a decent discussion with them cuz they have their own strong "belief" on their faith... just like you, me, others... we stick to our guns... ;)

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous fish bowl nomad said...

Hahaha! Amen!

Binwisit ka ng Kumareng Santa mo! Makakabawi ka... For sure, darating yan sa first birthday party ng bata...

.... bihis ka ng tipong Bro. Mike Velarde at ngisi-ngisian mo sya ala Alfred Neuman.

then make small talk and end every sentence with "Amen".

mwahahaha...

Amen.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

SAINT EROICA--exactly. that's also what i do when they don't seem to be open to hear out other people's views. i just shut up because i respect them. i have no right to deny their truth as much as they don't have the right to trample on mine.

what irks me sometimes is when they don't seem to respect other people's philosophies and views. a nonconformist like me is always branded as having no morals or evil. i wish they, too, can learn to behave accordingly.

FISH BOWL NOMAD--hahhaha! sobrang natawa ako sa iyo.

oo nga, 'tangnang kumare yan.

parang mas gusto ko fashion sense ni Bro. Eli Soriano, at gusto ko rin ang bunganga nya, puro "tarantado," "gago," at "putang ina" ang lumalabas. hahaha

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger rebel_heart said...

gawd.. people who question me about church make me squirm. It's k tho.. just know that just because you dont frequent church doesn't mean you love God less.

(: Take it easy mate.. def go for more plays+musicals. They're happy stuff for the soul (:

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger blue arden said...

gash, what a betch!

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

REBEL HEART--you're right. but it's ok, i'm used to it now. no point in arguing with them.

yup, theater does that most of the time.

BLUE ARDEN--bitch (my apologies to all female doggies) is such a mild word to describe her.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger bismuth said...

this makes me guilty. i missed my inaanak's first birthday last saturday. drat.

once, i was in a taxi. and this driver, apparently a mormon or something, started preaching to me about the end of days and where all evil come from. to make him shut up i recited bible verses to him, anticipated his every point. i think i pissed him off. heh.

 
At 1:57 AM, Blogger Nelson said...

I think it's really hard to explain yourself--and your views to people who already have their own beliefs and and views. Religion and faith are often hotly debated topics, especially among the hard core fundamentalists. I am fortunate enough not to encounter such people (or maybe I simply moved away from those people). Otherwise, I would end the questioning and the discussion once and for all by saying: "No, I don't go to church because I don't believe in it. And yes, I don't believe God exists. And yes, I will probably burn in hell, as you would have preferred. Pass the salt please."

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger dionne said...

buti na lang there's chopsuey to calm you down. gash!

 
At 9:43 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

BISMUTH--you're giving me an idea. since i know a lot about the bible (that's actually how i got to discover its flaws), i can piss off fundamentalists big time.

NELZ--haha! i like you.

i'll memorize that little spiel of yours and spew it out next time.

DIONNE--food always calms me. hehe

oist, pero i'm not really that violent. that incident at the pool was a rare outburst. i got really pissed cause she shouted at joyce. sobrang impolite kasi nun kaya nainis ako.

pero most of the time, behaved ako, especially if there's food around.

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger transience said...

i wonder what she would have said to me if i said i never went to church anymore. that i only go there to see sleeping churchgoers because it amuses me. what a fathead.

 
At 2:57 PM, Blogger oliver said...

The woman reminds me of some bus preachers who threaten passengers with damnation if they don't share their monetary blessings with them and their cause. Kaasar.

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger rmacapobre said...

religion and faith is personal.

fundamentalists. theyre either naive or deranged. it is seldom to hear it out of curiosity. what i do when asked i dont believe in the supernatural. and if they insist on the topic. i will engage .. *photon torpedoes targeted and locked*

^_^

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger rmacapobre said...

en anglais, on emploie le même pronom pour ça.

quel pronom? which or that?

français

y a-t-il une librairie qui vend des livres français dans les philippines?

 
At 6:02 PM, Blogger snst_blvd said...

i would've calmed down with chopsuey too. i heart chopseuy sooo much. haaayyy...

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

TRANSIENCE--she would've probably prayed for you on the spot so you won't go to hell...i enjoy watching church goers who try really hard (but fail miserably) to look holy during services. that really amuses me.

OLIVER—now that's annoying. why can't they just do their thing inside their churches? to each his own. You won’t see atheists and agnostics hopping from one bus to another just to preach their philosophies!

RMACAPOBRE--sometimes i find it exhausting to engage in a debate with them, my missiles notwithstanding. most of the time, it's futile.

En anglais, ‘which’ et ‘that’ fonctionnent comme un sujet ou objet, dépendant sur le sens de la phrase. On doit juste savoir si le pronom relatif est « definitive » ou « restrictive. »

En français, il y a un pronom relatif spécifiquement pour chaque cas.

On ne peut qu’acheter des livres français à l’Alliance française de Manille.

SUNSET EYES--long live the veggies!

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger DLAK said...

The last time I was Godfather for a child, they wanted me to write something in a bible and sign it. I wrote "Love life, its the only one you get" They looked at me as if I was insane and someone said it was a weird thing to write in the kids bible. Fuck em, you cant win.

 
At 4:34 AM, Blogger Jay said...

I would agree that it's just not worth the bother to try to have a conversation with someone like that, who just believes they're right and nothing else can possibly be. But I think you were great with the baby, and she will be lucky to have you as a godparent.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger bing said...

hi, bloghoppinghere...

some fundamentalists are extremists,too... i think it is rude to point out indirectly to someone you have just met that he is evil just becuz he has different beliefs. you are right,no use arguing, less talk,less arguments.

Abaniko is right... you write well.

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

DLAK--you just wrote the truth. and it's the nicest thing to say to a kid. let them see reality early on in life.

JAY--thanks. i'd rather let kids find out things for themselves rather than having adults always telling them what's right and wrong.

BING AKA JULIET--yup, it's better to shut up sometimes.

hey, thanks for swimming in here. hope to see you here again.

 
At 12:02 AM, Anonymous muddynights said...

hay naku. i can't stand it when people get all preachy. worse is when they make it appear na they are so concerned about you (even when you just met) and assume your life is a mess (find the truth? what made you even think i was even thinking such things)

i know the type. the presumptiveness makes me want to hit somebody with a frying pan.

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

MUDDYNIGHTS--right! they make you feel that you're the lowest piece of dung they've ever met and they'd tell you that they're concerned about your soul.

i should bring a frying pan next time.

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger sojourness said...

Geez, why can't people just leave you alone with that stuff? What they believe, everyone else has to believe it too.

 
At 12:15 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

SOJOURNESS--some people really love to shove their beliefs down my throat until i choke to death. and they believe they're actually doing me a favor.

 

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