So there I am at the school bus stop, making small talk with a neighbor bus stop dad. Although his small talk is more like my big talk: “My wife is on a mission.”
Funny, I think, I am on a mission, too: a mission to eat all the Girl Scout cookies in our house before The Husband has a chance to find out where I hid them.
“She’s in India,” he rudely interrupts my internal Thin Mint reverie, “her mission,” (again for emphasis), “is in India.”
“You mean, like, Indianapolis?” I inquire, while simultaneously wondering if five Samoas are the same number of calories as one sleeve of Thin Mints.
“No, I mean India. India, the country? Way over,” here he gestures up into the invisible airline globe of the sky, “over past Europe?”
Why why why would anyone want to go over past Europe? Europe has Danish modern furniture (all designed by Virgos), sexy British accents, sumptuous Italian leather shoes, Swiss mountains to ski, and chocolate mousse made by French pastry chefs who studied how to make chocolate mousse to perfection for an entire semester. Europe is as good as it gets.
“Our church sent her on a mission,” says Bus Stop Dad proudly, “and she happened to get India.”
He says this with the same aplomb as someone who happened to get run over by a car but realize that they didn’t really need that second leg and an artificial one is nearly as good and really makes you appreciate life more.
Not me. I appreciate life with two healthy legs.
Because I am me, I decide to mess with this poor deluded Bus Stop Dad. It is too delicious of an opportunity to pass up. “Hey, did I ever tell you that I also went on a mission?”
He gives me a look, a look that can only be described as a chunk of curiosity stretched with disdain and rolled in splinters of pity. “You?” he chokes and sputters, “You went on a mission?”
Of course I did. I look Bus Stop Dad right in the eye. “Yes. India was full. My mission was in Paris.”
Bus Stop Dad does not know me well. He nods slowly, without so much as the faintest trace of a ghost of a whisper of a smile of recognition flittering across his serious mouth. “Wow,” he says, impressed, “wow.”
“Paris,” I deadpan, “had only 95% Catholics, so the other 5% are what are referred to in religious credo as ‘lost souls.’ It was my mission to convert them.”
“Convert them to what? Baptist?”
“No, no. Convert that other 5% of them back to being Catholics.” I finally laugh out loud, unable to hold it in any longer. Why is he not getting my joke?
“Oh, look, the bus is here!” exclaims Bus Stop Dad, not even attempting to mask the relief in his voice.
“I just made that whole thing up,” I confess, as if I know anything about being Catholic. Bus Stop Dad shoos his tiny doll-like daughter on the school bus, her banana-color curls eclipsing the garish hue of the bus' exterior paint. “I didn’t really try to recruit people to become Catholic.”
Now he regards me with another look, the look you give someone you see standing next to you in line at Starbucks when they sneeze and you back away so you won’t catch their cold. He is giving me the look of “I don’t want to catch your brand of crazy.”
Don’t worry, Bus Stop Dad, it’s not contagious.
p.s. A new day means new votes! Please VOTE FOR ME (the legitimately allowed and actively encouraged) once a day. I am up to number 23 now!