19 March 2009

Holy, Holy, Holy

The closest coffee shop to home is Peet's, down at the bottom of the hill. This is fine with me, because of all the chain coffee shops, I find Peet's to be the most acceptable. BUT, there is something really weird about my Peet's, which is that, for some reason I have yet to understand, it is always teeming with male seminary students.

Now, before I get too far into this post, I want to make it clear that this is not an anti-religion post, nor is is an anti-Pastor Jack post (because, Marcus, you are my baby cousin and if you start blowing hard I can always just tell you to shut it, or distract you by talking about my love affair with If Lucy Fell, or I can bring up the topic of degnoming).

What I want to talk about here is the super weird culture that this creates in the coffee shop. First of all, it is full of dudes hugging, offering to buy one another drinks, and talking about how much they love one another. There are really large, really well-worn bibles on most of the tables. You hear the words, "secular," "outreach," "blessing," and the phrase, "God's will" a whole lot more than you do in most other contexts. There is also a LOT of conversation about mission trips, particularly to Mexico. These conversations are often interrupted by the appearance of yet another seminary student, or sometimes a pastor, and conversation ceases for another round of hugging, I-love-you-man-ing, and discussion about what everyone's mothers and sisters (and wives!) are currently up to. Sometimes the hugs are preceded by an enthusiastic clap shake--you know, the shake that starts like a low-5, but ends in a vigorous shake. Weird.

I don't hate these guys because they are Christians, or because they are evangelists (although I am careful about what I read in front of them because I am sort of terrified about them noticing me and starting a conversation with the phrase, "Do you know G--?"). I sort of hate these guys because, if they weren't seminary students, they would be philosophy majors. They would have equally annoying conversations about Nietzsche and Hegel and Kant and his cows. Instead of having spiky hair and wedding rings, they would all wear black and sport tribal tattoos. They wouldn't carry around bibles, but they would carry around really beat up notebooks that they might journal/do pen and ink drawings in.

Both groups of guys are sort of annoying, but in totally similar ways. I'm more used to hanging out in coffee shops with the Nietzsche guys, and I'm less worried about them trying to convert me (I've got mad philosophy skills that I can shut them up with anyway), so I can tune them out more easily. But I find it almost impossible to grade the huge stack of student essays I have in front of me with the chattering of seminary guys in the background.


qwanty said...

Wow, this made me laugh. Did you know the BS has a degree in philosophy?

I don't think I could go there for fear of being chatted up about my salvation. Plus, there was that one time I became one of the fold because I was tired of being pestered and I knew it was required if we were ever going to make out. And it worked! We made out on a number of occasions! The other part didn't really stick, though, and I've since gone back to being sort of sinny. Anyway, I'd hate to get myself mixed up in that sort of "conversion" again.

Now tell me -- who is this G-- character you reference every so often?

Marcus said...

Well, q, since you do not know who this G-- fellow is, let me take a moment to convert you.

His presence can only be felt and seen by the types of people who meet up for fellowship at coffee shops. If you don't roll in those circles, you probably haven't felt or seen him aside from the countless times you felt guilty after make-out sessions, because your experience of guilt is what embodies him best. He lives in the Western World exclusively, and only visits Eastern or third-world countries when do-gooder coffee shop fellowshippers make their way down to Mexico or Korea and thus fill the land with the Holy Spirit (residing within them) as they travel and help the lost. He's easy to get to know if you take a few minutes to read and fully understand the Bible, which is conveniently located at local trendy coffee houses on the counter next to last Tuesday's business section. His primary concern is to beat out Satan for the eternal rights to your soul, which is quite an uphill battle considering how fun sin tends to be, especially for regular visitors to this blog, which, it seems, attracts sinners more than most.

In conclusion, you need to head to the nearest coffee shop, pick up a Bible, wait for a seminary student to notice you, strike up a conversation about G--'s relevance to a postmodern world, and plan out the best way to eliminate poverty in Mexico while hugging every soul patch who walks through the door (without making out with them, if possible) until you feel secure about the afterlife. And while you're there, try and ignore the young woman hiding behind thick-rimmed glasses and a first-edition copy of Alice in Wonderland, because she'll be judging you, what with her advanced degrees and her perfect ideology and her mindful universalism and her red-headed niece and her unexplained love for all things Cusack and her forward-thinking blog, all of which are more significant in her world than your eternal soul.

Marcus said...

Oh, and the "word verification" tag for submitting that comment were the letters "r-i-g-h-t-e-o-u-s-r-e-s-p-o-n-s-e." I found that worth mentioning.

Old Man Duggan said...

I was going to find lyrics from some pithy song about turtleneck-adorned philosophers, but then realized I don't write songs, but surely would have written a song about them if I had.

qwanty said...

Oh, Marcus. Dear, sweet Marcus. Your comment made me laugh until I cried. It's a good thing I have this gigantic stack of porn on which to dry my eyes.

First of all, I'm trying to remember the last time I felt guilty after making out with someone. If we go back many years to my wayward high school days, I'd have to say that the feeling post make-out -- particularly with a nice member of some Western religion -- was typically one of self-righteousness. If one could bottle the feeling of telling a would-be abstainer that tonight is not the night he is going to lose his virginity, one would have a poorly selling, sweaty smelling vial of self-righteousness.

Second, while I will acknowledge that KRD has a love of Cusack that few can fully grasp, I would bet all of my sad graduate student paycheck that she loves me just as much -- eternal soul included. And I'd bet everything else that she cares MORE about my eternal soul than the young man who "saved" me so that I was finally holy enough to feel up.

KRD said...

It's true. I do love Qwanty at least as much as I love Cusack. And Spader, for that matter.

Need evidence? OK. Once we were in a weird car accident together and, in the middle of the car spinning around and moving across three lanes of freeway traffic, I took my hands off the wheel and grabbed her hand. I am pretty sure I was thinking about her eternal soul in that moment.

Marcus said...

Stacks of porn? I assume that you're buying it to keep it out of the hands of those coffee house seminarians. They are all addicted to porn, and the first thing they ask each other when they meet for a latte and a hug is "Dude...so, how's your thought life?"

First, if the two of you were in a car accident together, you should be very, very afraid, since G-- was trying to wax you at the same time. I can only speculate as to why he failed, but suffice it to say, I won't be setting rump in any vehicle that contains the two of you unless we're on our way to a Rick Warren rally.

Second, if you don't feel guilty after making out, you are past the point of saveability. Benny Hinn couldn't even save you now. Why, you ask? Because the only thing worse than taking away some Western religion boy's virginity is making him think you're going to take away his virginity, but instead sending him on his way with a sub-inguinal tummy ache. Not cool, man.

Second, Cusack love has to be conditional to be defensible. Gross Pointe Blank or Natty Gann? I'm chugging that kool aid right beside you. In fact, anything found here is fine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qz5IURSlVk0
Until, that is, you get to the last four movies - America's Sweethearts, Serendipity, Must Love Dogs, and Martian Child. See, Cusack being Cusack (AKA "mailing in neurotic line readings with a perplexed look and scruffy hair") is not okay. It's wrong. It's sinful, as we on the clouds call it.

And girls holding hands = lesbianism. Also sinful. I don't think there's anything I can do here. G-- knows I tried.

qwanty said...

Spader? I hardly neuter!

And as for you Marcus, I will respond once I stop laughing.