I glanced out of the driver’s side window of my car, toward the bus stop, just in time to see 230 lbs. of frustration and insecurity, packed in a flowery muu-muu, wielding what looked to be a King James Bible like it was a set of nunchucks.
On the receiving end of this doxology is a frail man in his early 40’s turning cheek after cheek after cheek.
The only other witness to this vehement, and rather physical, sermon is a boy of around 13, clutching his own leather bound weapon of salvation. From the look on his face he appears to be a little angry, a little confused, a little embarrassed, and desperately wondering what in the name of heaven he’s supposed to do with the 5th commandment. (4th, if he’s Lutheran or Catholic). I’m not even sure that was an original commandment, or if Moses just penciled that one in himself as a last ditch effort to try and keep Moses Jr. in line.
Honor doesn’t seem to be at play anywhere in the scene, and as emotionally expensive as this barrage seems, I doubt if Ma Kettle has to wait until Sunday to reload. Laying my judgmental cloak aside for a moment, I wonder what sort of detour along life’s road could have created this quivering mass of dissatisfaction. Perhaps it was a justifiable explosion, culminating from circumstances of which I had no knowledge. Or, maybe she was actually this tightly wound all the time; a result of an episode, or series of episodes, during her childhood. But, try as I might, I couldn’t make myself imagine that this colorful train wreck had ever been a small child. There simply wasn’t enough sugar and spice for that to have happened.
And what of the man? Did he invite this sort of abuse, or had he just sacrificed enough of himself that no one was left inside to feel the stampede?
But, most of my concern is with how the boy will process his experience. A number of conflicts are at work here, and though, as I noted before, he is armed, I’m not sure he has enough ammunition to fight the battle.
As I drive on, removing myself from such an ugly scene, rinsing my spirit and restoring it to its original condition, a blue compact makes an illegal turn right in front of me, crossing my path, testing the limits of my brakes, and patience.
While I was gripping the wheel and gritting my teeth, the car sped on, oblivious to the situation, not knowing my contempt; and all I could do was spit and swear.
He’ll never know how lucky he was that I didn’t have my trusty copy of the Old Testament.