I had a garage sale last weekend which I spent a couple of hours each evening throughout the week setting up. This was our annual sale for my charitable crafting group and as I've stated before, there are many people out there that are all to willing to jump to conclusions when you run a crafting group with the purpose of donating items to your community.
Here are some things that I have learned in the last seven years:
People are astonished to learn that I am younger than 60, let alone younger than 40 (I only have four more months to be able to stun people with this fact).
People are amazed to learn that I am not associated with a church.
People are floored to learn that I am not only NOT associated with a church, but I am also *GASP* NOT A CHRISTIAN.
People are then suspicious because apparantly, Christians are the only ones who are allowed to be charitable. It is a REQUIREMENT that you must have the fear of God to scare you into doing good things apparantly. It is not enough that you realize you are a human being that feels it is the job of every human being to make life a little easier for other human beings.
What's that called children???? COMMUNISM!
So, because of what I do, I get a couple of emails a week from people who have found my group via the internet and start to put a religious angle on what I am trying to accomplish. Sometimes I respond to their emails by explaining that I'm not a Christian, other times the emails are so utterly offensive to me that I don't even go there.
So, you might say that I'm a little tired of the God Squad.
So when a woman found my group via the internet and discovered that she lived one block away from me, she emailed me and found out about our upcoming sale. NOw, when someone sends you an email with the signature tag line "Let his son-shine on you", it might be a clue as to what you are getting into. I, of course, try not to prejudice myself in these situations. I want to believe that I can communicate with people without having to start the conversation with the opening salvo of "So, it looks like you're a real Jesus freak. How's that working for you?"
Anyway, she was going out of town and wanted to know if she could come over and shop early. Not a problem! So while I'm out in the garage last week, she comes up my driveway with her son in tow. The child is about 10 or perhaps a little older and as she starts to shop, he begins to solidify my belief that I am currently in the presence of the most annoying child in the history of procreation.
Now, there are many reasons why kids can behave like he did. They can have a physical or mental impairment. They can have some sort of disorder that makes it impossible for them to realize that when your mother is talking to someone and you are way old enough to understand social interaction, you don't physically come between the two people and start shrieking questions. You also don't interrupt your parent every single time they open their mouth with completly inane observations. You also don't run into the back yard at a stranger's house and begin to crawl all over their dog who is tied up. (I looked in the back yard and as this child was two inches away from my dog's face being utterly obnoxious, my dog looked at me with the absolute personification of the phrase "WTF?").
As I stated, I'm all lightness and understanding when it comes to kids with problems. All a parent has to say is something like "Yeah, it can be hard to have an autistic child but we're managing." But in this case, mom not only didn't have a clue that this behavior was way outside of the social norm, she actually fed into it and encouraged his every interruption and laughed at his obnoxious behavior and simply DID NOTHING. As I tried to price things, this child would pick things up and insist that he wanted his mother to buy him a quilting applique kit because hey, if you're flying high with unmedicated ADHD, you OBVIOUSLY need to learn to applique.
I was ready to pull a Dog Whisperer move on this kid and just clothesline him to the ground and dig my fingers into his neck with a sharp exhalation of my breath. As Ceasar would say "I am the alpha dog and this is my house."
After fifteen or twenty minutes of the madness, mom gets around to mentioning my health issues and how I can't knit anymore. She then, as her short bus hummingbird of a child flittered around us, asked if she could pray for me.
I stifled a sigh and said "Sure". I wanted to tack on "You can also sacrifice a goat for me too, so long as you realize that you're doing this to appease your own self interest and it has nothing to do with me." But of course, I didn't. That would be rude.
"No," she continues. "I don't mean at church. I mean right now. Will you bow your head with me and we'll pray together?"
I think by this time, Junior was digging through my yarn bins, probably looking for something to eat.
"No," I told her. "That's not OK with me."
In retrospect, I should have told her "I think you have a lot of praying to do regarding your own family. Why don't you work on that first?"
She then continued on like nothing had happened and it took her another ten minutes to get the hell out of my garage.
I really need to develop a good comeback for situations like this. Something like "I'll pray with you now but you have to attend the virginal sacrifice this evening at midnight with me. Bring some firewood and a bottle of tequilla."
It's very easy to be snarky. It's a little harder to come up with something that truely lets people know just how offended I am by this behavior. They have no clue because their ego tells them that it is up to them to save the world.
They have no concept that perhaps, the world does not want to be saved.