Sunday, June 29, 2014

Volleyball, Jesus, and Recharing My Batteries

Marz has just left, biking off to the Global Market this morning to watch Mexico play the Netherlands in the World Cup.

She supports Mexico, as will most of the people there: it's a largely Hispanic neighborhood. 
"Mexico is kind of like the home team," she said.

But the first thing she said to me this morning was, "I have to wear green and red, do we have anything green?"

I didn't think so, I said, not the right flag green, but Marz dug around and came up a Trek in the Park T-shirt I'd brought back from Portland, which, you can see, she covered in an old red U-shirt.

I'm not going. 
I am tired of crowds. 
I worked two days at the Convention Center this week: it was fun but draining to be around thousands of energetic girl volleyballers and their parents, who looked shot by the end of the day. 

"Where's the nearest bar?" one frazzled mother asked me at the end of my first day.

As I remember from working in libraries, people aren't all that good at asking questions. They ask for what they think they want, but you have to decipher what specifically they really want.

Turns out this woman did want a drink, yes, and she wanted it to be close by, yes, but she didn't mention her third criterion until I'd directed her to the nearest bar:
"And do they serve nachos?" 
 Lucky she asked. They do not. But another bar just one more block away does.

I don't mind this at all--I'm like that too. I just have to brush up on my question-deciphering skills. It's kind of fun: what do people really want?

The second day I worked, besides the national volleyball tournament, a Jesus revivalist group was gathering. 
They seem to know what they want: 
"to love and serve the Lord by discipling nations," 
according to their literature, which also states,
We knew we didn’t want to have only catalytic events, but desired to help people with the process of being a revivalist. 

They may know what they want, but I find their language hard to decode. They write, for instance, that on this three-city tour, they are "asking God to take off the limits within your city." 

Marz could translate this for me, if she weren't off watching soccer on a Sunday morning. I'm confident "limits" means things like this weekend's gay pride festival, but does it also mean things like limits on gun ownership? 
Smoking bans? 
Skimpy volleyball outfits?

I don't know: evangelical culture mixes up issues in ways I can't quite make sense of. It's weird to me to see pro-gun T-shirts at a religious event, for instance, because in my liberal Catholic experience, Jesus wouldn't like guns.

I myself am worried by the skimpy, skin-tight volleyball shorts on girls as young as ten. 
The uniforms guide the eye like nectar lines on flowers and are really sexy, more than I expect the young girls even realize. To me, they make the girls look too ...violable.
 The convention center is even required by law to have an undercover child protection officer on site because these events are known to draw sex offenders.

Anyway, after two days of Jesus and volleyball, yesterday I went into the Thrift Store to restore my energy sorting cards & stationery in the cool, quiet basement. They were short a cashier, however, so I ended up cashiering all afternoon as well.

I wish I could have stayed in the basement, where I'd gotten into a conversation with one of my colleagues in stuff and in words: she's a fiction writer. 
I was telling her it took me years to realize I'm not a writer of fiction: even when I was a kid I wrote nonfiction, like my 3-issue magazine The Horsemans Monthly [click on title to see examples].

Good one-on-one conversations energize me, unlike working with the general public. I'm afraid I was a cranky cashier, though I don't think I took it out on the customers. 
Actually, I was pretty nice: when it started to rain, for instance, I gave away three broken umbrellas. I try to practice kindness because life is brutal, but it's true that kindness is also a pretty good business strategy---one of the customers was so happy I gave him an umbrella, he put a couple bucks in the donation box, which is more than the umbrella was worth.

I hear people yelling, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!" 
 from down the alley: Mexico must have scored.

Yep, just checked the live report on the Guardian.

Sweet... and I'm really glad I'm home alone.  I'm going to sit here with my coffee and read my coworker's blog.


Zhoen said...

Living in our ambiguities.

I can't write fiction, either. No facility for creative lying, only the occasional deflective lie, as needed.

I love crowds, for a while, then I have to be alone, or with just one person.

Fresca said...

I was surprised how bad I was at fiction, and how little I enjoyed trying to write it, since I do like to read it.

Me too, Zhoen--I love crowds, not sure I made that clear. But like you, only for a while.

Anne Lippin said...

love the "kindness is also a pretty good business strategy"

LauraB said...

WAs going to tell you has a summer story contest and the theme this year is FAN FICTION_ which I know you kinda like- but now I see you REALLY don't like writing fiction..but I do love how you write your blog!

deanna said...

I, too, can enjoy a crowd for only so long, and I can't write fiction, although in grade school I could (didn't think about it too much then, I suppose). I wrote novels that my teacher read to the class.

The evangelical group likely has members (if anyone's anything like I was) who see opportunities in gathering to "disciple" people to please God. I guess I've come to think God might prefer folks stay home and do good in whatever small ways they find. He does seem to be more pleased with kindness and love than with showiness. That's my two cents, anyway.