Friday, 24 January 2020
You do not want to stop and have a chat. You know this person will hold you up, talking about this and that, and sharing their problem at a time when you can least afford it. And you are too polite to say, "Why don't you go away and pester someone else and leave me in peace!"
So what do you do? You pretend not to have seen them. You turn the other way. Pretend to be looking at some goods in the shop. Or better still, leave the shop in a hurry to avoid them all together!
Well ... that happened to me the other day. Just before Christmas it was. I was in this huge department store and I was wandering about in the men's section looking for a new shirt when I suddenly saw up ahead our priest, Father Mirth.
That's not his real name actually. I call him Father Mirth on account that he is the most miserable priest I have ever met. I always thought that priests should have an air of hopefulness, inner peace and joy which they share with all they meet. Not him. He is so miserable he would not raise a smile at a funeral.
I reckon when they recruited him as a priest, miserableness must have been the top quality in the job description. He fitted the job perfectly since he was the only one to apply in that year.
Anyway, I had been avoiding Father Mirth recently. Certainly since my Christmas confession on account of me being honest. He was telling me about his sermons on Sundays and I let it be known that I found them sleep-inducing. I got caught in a trap, you see. Had I said I liked his sermons very much I would be telling a lie - and in a confessional too! Had I told him the truth, which I did, this led to him avoiding me and me avoiding him ever since.
And another thing ... I had confessed that when the washing machine broke down, and I forgot to ring the man to come and fix it, I then put my socks and other clothing in the dishwasher instead. I mean ... it is all water and soap is it not? My wife did not see it this way and got very upset. We had a row. Why can't women be more reasonable? To make things worse Father Mirth sided with my wife when I confessed and said I should apologise to her, and as a penance I had to buy her something nice.
And now there he was. In a department store only a few feet away from me. How could I avoid him without making it appear too obvious that I was avoiding him?
I tried to get out the store, but the exit was right where he was standing. So I quickly picked up a hat from a shelf, put it low on my head. And stood very still pretending to be a store mannequin. That way, hopefully, he would pass by and not notice me.
That didn't happen, did it? He walked towards me and said, "Hello there. That hat suits you and matches your bow tie perfectly!"
I smiled and mumbled confessing, "I was joking ... I thought you'd think I am a mannequin!"
"They don't make mannequins as ugly as you!" was his quick reply.
See what I mean? He is totally miserable and has a way of showing it.
And for the record, I am not ugly at all. Someone once described me as a sex symbol for women who do not care.