I. (A dialogue between debboamerik
is getting her lunch out of the refrigerator. VPB stands in the kitchen doorway.]VPB:
I hear you go to a Russian Orthodox Church.DA:
Yes, I do.VPB:
Is it true that you have to pay to go to an Orthodox church?DA [mystified]:
But you have to pay to go to the Greek Orthodox Church.DA:
No, you don't. You don't have to pay to go to any
Christian church that I've ever heard of.VPB:
But they say you have to pay to be a member!DA:
Sure, but that doesn't mean what you think.VPB:
What does it mean?DA:
If you want to do things like run or vote for Parish Council, you have to contribute to the parish, and you have to be of age.VPB:
So do you have to pay to go to services?DA:
You don't have to pay to go to services at any
So... just to take Communion?DA:
NO! We let little babies
take Communion; how could they possibly pay
But you still have to pay to be a member.DA:
Yes, and not just in Orthodox parishes. Catholics do that, too.VPB: [looks confused, is asked a question by someone else, walks away]
II. (Scene on the Metro)
Three young black boys were sitting on the Metro near me. The oldest one, who was about 16, was acting much younger than the youngest one, who was about 11. I was meditating on the classic style of the youngest one's clothes. He could have been from any era from the 1930s up, dressed as he was, and looked equally cute and stylish. The oldest of the three was being noisy and singing, and trying to get the other two to sing along, which, after a minute or two, they did. Then the oldest one took out his phone and started blasting music with it. I caught the middle child's eye and gestured that they should turn the music down. He gestured back in a class-clown sort of "I don't know" way, so I tried to gesture headphones. Same response. Finally, I caught the oldest one's eye and said, "Hon, you're going to have to turn that way down or turn it off. The rules are that you're supposed to use headphones on the train."
At that point, a skinny young white man stood up and started yelling at them, telling them that I was right and that they shouldn't be talking so loudly either. I ignored him and went back to my book. After all, I
talk loudly with my
friends on the Metro, and I am 32 years old. The kids waited a second, and then, looking at me rather than at the man, turned their music off. I smiled at them. They started talking (in an audible undertone) amongst themselves, saying that the man had to have a woman speak before he would dare say anything, which I found rather amusing.
When I got off the train at Twinbrook, I saw the people who had been directly opposite me on the train at the farecard machines. The woman said, "Thank you for saying something to those men
! I was too shy to say anything myself."
"They were just boys," I said.
"The oldest of them couldn't have been more than 16."
"Oh... I was too shy to look, like I said..." I had this lady's number, and she knew it and was embarrassed.
"Kids are dumb," I shrugged. Anyone over age 25 would have agreed, so the woman did. I helped her and her husband work the farecard machines, and they gave me their trade-in farecards. Then I went to the grocery store.