Thursday, February 01, 2007

Part I. God-zilla Girl Came to my Sunday School Class

Two weeks ago we had a guest in our Sunday School class. During "sharing time" (which is more like group free-for-all-talking time) she announced she lived about a mile from the church at a residential care center and was looking for rides to and from church. Now ... as soon as you read "Residential Care Center" what age popped into your mind? Someone in their 70's or 80's? Wrong image. Here, I'll try and use some of my descriptive phrases ... She's a big woman. Big like an old tree stump that you can't get out of the ground. Solid looking. Tall - or at least taller than me - my guess is 7'10'. Brown hair with gray in it. A walking gait that reminds me of ... Godzilla. eeeeClunk, rrrrrrCrash her legs go as she slowly moves forward. And her age? I'd guess within 10 years of mine. So this woman - my contemporary - is living in an assisted living place. Hmmmm. Why? I immediately think. Several people ask for clarification on the location - of course miss "If I Know I Must Inform" (Moi) pipes up and gives the EXACT location. (It's on a major corner and less than a half-mile from my house.) Sunday school ends and I leave for "Big People's Church" (and they don't like me calling it that, so now I've renamed it "The Solemn Service", but they won't be too thrilled about that either) without making any contact with Godzilla Girl. Anyway - I don't talk to her and I go to The Big People's Service. After the service, as I'm leaving, I see her sitting in a pew with another class member. I stop to say "Hi" and tell her that on occasion, if I'm in town, I could bring her HOME from church. "What about bringing me TO church", she asked? "Oh, I go to The Connection (Praise & Worship) Service, then Sunday School, then THIS service", I say. "So I don't think that would work out." "You go to two church services?" she asked. "Yes, I'm a really bad person and need to spend lots of time with God on Sundays", says the sarcastic one. Of course she just stares at me .. the humor *whoosh* right over her head. "I'd like to go to both services," she said. "What time do you get here?" "Oh, about 5 minutes 'till 9am", I replied. (Or 8:55, if you're not time challenged like me) "That would be great! Then the staff wouldn't have to make a special breakfast for me and I could sleep in until 6:30", she informed me. "Great ... if you need a ride, AND I'm in town, let me know. Here I'll give you my number." She handed me her church bulletin. As she did, she asked if I could pick her up THIS coming Sunday. I hedge. "Uhh, I don't know if I'm going to be here this weekend (a blatant LIE as I knew I had symphony tickets)", I stuttered. Since I was standing IN THE MIDDLE OF CHURCH, I thought better of my answer, and fessed up. Yes, I would be in town, I could bring her to church. So I dutifully bent over the bulletin and wrote down my name and phone number. Mit Moi, 555-4374 She looked at it, looked at me, handed it back and asked me to add the date and time I'd pick her up. 1/27 8:45, I scrawled on the paper and handed it back. She looked at it, looked at me, and said, "Can you add the year to the date?" With the beginnings of the perma-frost smile I took back the bulletin and added "07" to the end of the date. While secretly thinking to myself, "The year? What do you need the year for? It's not like I'm making a commitment to pick you up in 2008 now is it!" Slowly I extended the bulletin for her inspection. "Uhhhmmm, you know, your "8" in 8:45 is kind of sloppy. Can you make it more clear?" Now I must interject here - I have NICE handwriting. People ROUTINELY compliment me on my handwriting. My perma-frost smile got a little tighter. "Sure", I said as I snatched back the paper and made the two circles of the 8 a little darker and more circle-ly. Once again I extended the information to her. AND ONCE AGAIN she looked at it and then me and said, "That's really messy now! Can you just do it over again?" I must interrupt this story to remind you. "Hello! Red-head here! Not patient, in church, with neat handwriting .... dealing with someone who clearly isn't .... me or you." Slowly I take back the bulletin while glaring at the class member sitting next to her. In my VERY BEST drafting print I write "8:45 AM" on the paper. I smile, I hand it to her, tell her I'll call on Thursday to confirm and quickly exit. Thursday night arrives. As I walk in the door, I pour myself a glass of wine, and sit down on my couch to look at Gourmet Magazine. Within minutes my phone rings. As I lurch off the couch, I try to remember if I put the cordless phone back on the receiver - in the hall, behind the hall door on the floor ... or if it's still sitting on the kitchen counter. Of course I must do this quickly - because after the 3rd ring the answering machine will pick up. I locate the phone in the kitchen, look at the caller ID, see the name of a business and answer while thinking, "... if this is a local telemarketer I'm hanging up!" "Hello?" "Hello, is this Mi-Mi-Mit Moi?", said the voice which slowly emerged from the phone. "Crap", I think ... people who know you, NEVER use your last name. I almost said "No" but then the stumbling voice went on, "This is Godzilla Girl, from Church. I was calling to see if you were still going to pick me up." Moi: Oh, Godzilla Girl! Hi, yes, I'm picking you up. GG: On Sunday, right? Moi: Yes, I'm picking you up this Sunday. GG: What time? Moi: At 8:45 am. GG: So you'll be here at 8:45? Moi: Yes, At 8:45. GG: Where are you going to pick me up? Moi: There's a lobby, right? I'll pick you up in the lobby. GG: We have a foyer. Moi: Okay - I'll pick you up in the "foyer". GG: On Sunday? Moi: (with just a touch of irritation) YES on SUNDAY. AT 8:45 AM. JANUARY THE 28TH. GG: What do you drive? Moi: A SUV. I'll get out, I'll come in and get you. Then I used the "Okay, nice talking to you, time to say good-bye" voice: "Alright, Godzilla Girl, I'll see you Sunday, I hope you have a good Friday and Saturday. See you then!" It wasn't a vocal clue she picked up on. GG: Uh, Moi, where do you live? Moi: Just down the street from you. GG: Your prefix for your phone number isn't familiar to me, why doesn't it match everything else? Moi: Oh, when I moved here they gave me one of the new pre-fixes, but I'm here. Just down the road. GG: How long will it take you to drive here? Moi: Maybe 5 minutes. GG: So when will you leave your house? Moi: (biting my tongue) "Welllll, since I need to pick you up at 8:45, I'll leave here at 8:40". I turned on the "nice talking to you, time to say good-bye voice" again ... "Okay, See you Sunday!" GG: How long will it take us to get to the church? Moi: Maybe 5 minutes. GG: Isn't the church PAST your house? Moi: Yes, yes it is. So maybe it will take us 7 MINUTES to get to the church. I PROMISE, WE'LL BE ON TIME. Using the "nice talking to you, time to say good-bye voice" again, "Alright, God-zilla Girl, I've got to go, I have stuff on the stove" .... <--- outright lie GG: Oh. (sad sounding voice) Okay. I just had one more question I wanted to ask you. Moi: (Feeling like a heel) Sure, that's fine. One more question, what is it? GG: I just wanted to know how long you've lived here if you had to get one of the NEW phone numbers. Moi: (suspecting this is a trap and I'll never get off the phone) I've lived here five years. We'll talk ALL about it WHEN I PICK YOU UP ON SUNDAY AT 8:45 IN THE MORNING! Goodbye." Because I'd totally given up on the verbal, "Nice talking to you, time to say good-bye voice" queue. Oh how I was not looking forward to Sunday morning. Just from the phone conversation I was pretty sure this wasn't going to be a, "Pull-to-the-curb, leave-the-motor-running, run-in, run-out" type pick up experience. And I was right. I left the house at 8:40 exactly! I was at the Assisted Living facility at 8:43 (2 minutes early). There was a car parked next to the curb. It was picking up an old lady in a walker. Sitting out on the bench leading to the "foyer" was a hunched-back gnome of human flesh. Because God-zilla Girl was fully mobile, I parked in a parking space and not curb side. I jumped out of the car and walked into the "foyer". Sitting there, right in front of me was God-zilla Girl staring straight ahead - with NO recognition. I walked toward her and called out, "Hey God-zilla Girl! I'm here, let's go!" I turned around and started towards the door. I was half way through the door when I realized ... no God-zilla Girl behind me. I looked over my shoulder ... and there she was. Doing the "rocking-horse" to get out of the chair. You propel yourself forward, then back, forward, then back ... and all the while, your butt achieves a little move altitude from the chair. About the third time you hope you've gained enough momentum to "spring" out of the chair. I stand there and wait. Which is when I realize I'd never seen her walk previous to this ... and I see the "Godzilla-gait" for the first time. Immediately it was clear this would take more tactical planning than I'd originally thought to get through the morning. -Next Part II, Walking with Godzilla Girl

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