[UPDATE: Sorry about the cartoon being cut off before. It should be fixed now.]
Alternate Title: Introvert Escape Route
I never really pondered what the words, “Skip to my Lou, my darling” meant…
…until we lived in Africa near a British family, who referred to our outhouse as The Loo. Now we had a song to sing on the journey to that amazingly scientific architectural wonder (that’s another post for another time–the science of the smell-proof outhouse, built utilizing principles which take advantage of symbiotic relationships in nature).
“Skip, skip, skip to the loo…”
Why am I, a mother who bans potty talk, bringing up this topic here on the world wide web? There must be a really good reason for violating my own sense of propriety in such a public way.
Well, actually, there is .
That really good reason would be this cartoon discovered at ASBO Jesus.
I currently am rather ambivalently looking for a church to be a part of (it’s not hard for me to be a part of the Body of Christ. Sometimes it’s hard for me to go to church.) Actually, I’ve sort of enjoyed visiting some vastly different churches. It appeals to the anthropologist in me to worship and learn and commune with different people in different ways. There is one thing, though, that I dread each week–Greet One Another Time.
It feels contrived. It feels fake. It feels awkward. Talk to me before church if you want. Or maybe afterwards (though you’ll have to be quick, because I probably won’t linger.) But don’t come up to me because somebody tells you have to, or because you feel sorry for me sitting there all alone. Or because I look grumpy. Or uncomfortable. Don’t smile the “I’m delighted to see you” smile. I don’t know why church greeting smiles drive me nuts. But they do.
I’m not anti-social. (Really 🙂 ) And I’m really not against greeting people. Or making visitors feel welcome. But it feels so fake and awkward to stand up and do it “on command” in the middle of a church service. I don’t need you to affirm that I exist in the middle of the service. Actually, I’d be more comfortable during the service if you forgot I existed. If you’re really interested in me, come sit beside me and talk for a few minutes before church. Ask me a few questions, and I’ll ask you a few, and we’ll make a connection. But don’t try to make me feel welcome in the middle of church just because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
In any case, after a recent visit to another new church (which I really liked, but which is too far away for me to attend every week, in good conscience), it dawned on me that I didn’t have to endure another greeting moment in the middle of church. Why not go hide in the bathroom during that part of the service?
Then, a short while later I discovered this cartoon. Surely it was a sign!
I don’t know if I’ll actually do this. The last thing I want is to draw attention to myself. And skipping to and from the loo when everyone is scavaging for visitors to greet might do that. However, picturing this cartoon during the next greeting time at church will definitely make me smile, and give me a vicarious escape from the factory-style socialization, enabling me to endure it without looking quite so awkward or grumpy.