God has one screwy sense of humor; I think that it is very dark, if not nearly absurdist, which makes me chuckle, as one who grew up with a very sardonic mother and watching The Ren & Stimpy Show and MTV’s The State with my little brother. Anyway, at Mass this morning, a lady sat next to me. (That does not happen too often.) She originally had been sitting on the opposite end of the pew, but moved down when a family entered into that pew. Her body language seemed open to me, and she even laughed when I quietly corrected today’s lector who read immorality as immortality. Example: “Avoid immortality.” I resisted the temptation to hold her hand during the Pater Noster (I keep my hands to myself during Mass), but may have too eagerly shaken her hand while giving the sign of peace. As Father was giving a homily on vocations and our need to sacrifice, I was thinking about how to ask to her out as soon as Mass ended. Once the Ite, missa est had been pronounced and the last hymn sung, I introduced myself, but then she walked away. As always, a dear and well-meaning parishioner tried to engage me in chit-chat, so I told her that I would be right back, but I first had to ask out the mystery girl. To which she said, “Don’t miss this chance!” God bless, you, dear lady. Crossing myself with holy water, I quickly pounced right outside of church: “Hey, ____________, you seem devout: do you want to have coffee sometime?” (Really, I need to write a collection of Catholic pick-up lines. I wonder if Tan Books would be interested?) She started to hem and haw, which I took as a sign that she was overwhelmed by my dark and brooding Catholic charms. Trying to reduce the anxiety, I acknowledged the awkwardness of the situation:
“I know it’s awkward asking you this right outside of church, but, uh….”
“Well, I’m, uh, you see, married. I misplaced my ring, but I think I know where it is.”
“Okay, I did look at your hand, so I wasn’t being careless.”
“Well, it was nice meeting you.”
“Okay, well, yes, it was. Bye!”
Maybe I should just become a priest.
BTW: the title of this entry will be the title of my forthcoming collection of short stories.