Weirdest play date everJanuary 18, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
On the heels of all this nonreligious introspection, I had probably the strangest play date ever. It’s been challenging to make friends here. The neighbors are nice, but I don’t see them much when its cold outside. It’s taken me a few months to get to know some of the moms at Liam’s preschool enough to suggest a get together. I also wanted to see who Liam played well with. One mom actually turned out to be a young grandma, and her granddaughter was always giving Liam big hugs. She’s small for her age, too, and her grandma was very friendly. So it was settled!
Right away I gathered she was pretty religious. Which is totally fine with me, but I wasn’t sure how she’d take it if she found out I was on the other side of the spectrum. I successfully dodged an invite to a Christmas Eve service at her church. But I knew I’d probably have to come clean at some point.
So I had her over yesterday. The kids played wonderfully, no fighting whatsoever, and her granddaughter was very polite and well mannered. I think she was a little taken aback by Liam’s occasional outbursts… Like, is he all right? Its funny to see your child compared to other kids his own age. I was a bit envious of this little girl’s composure.
So we’re chatting, and I mentioned that I’d been to Italy for an art class, and had in fact painted and drawn all of the artwork I had hung up in the basement. She gets up to take a closer look, and I’m thinking “May dey! May dey!” Because I have one piece I did in college, one of my favorites, but the religious and political statement could be, um, offensive. The assignment was to take three interior spaces and combine them into one drawing. I chose a catholic church, a porn shop, and an abortion clinic. So there’s a pregnant woman at the alter, a doctor in scrubs peeking his head out of the waiting room, people in the pews on the left side looking over at young men perusing the gay porn section on the right. Awesome, yeah?
I’m frantically talking and trying to distract her, and she doesn’t say a word about it. Whew! But then she sits down and sees another painting, a copy I’d made of the third eye from Tool’s Aenema album. And it sparked this conversation about her son, who is obsessed with Tool, and the unfortunate path he’d chosen of drugs abuse. And she asked me, almost pleaded with me, what is their message? She’d puzzled over it for years. And I’m thinking, how do I put this delicately? Because Maynard James Keenan is no fan of organized religion. Their early stuff was pretty heavy, dark and visceral. But their more recent albums were more political, more philosophical. Most of all, I wanted her to understand that the band doesn’t necessarily promote drug use, and while they have much to say about the hypocrisy of religion, each person may interpret their message differently.
That seemed to ease her mind. But then it started her on another discussion about creationism and how she believed the earth was only 6000 years old. I’m nodding, all the while with a pit in my stomach. I had to come clean, tell her I didn’t agree. That I was one of those nonbelievers. I was tactful, wincing all the while. But then something interesting happened. We had a very intelligent, non- confrontational debate about religion. She was very fervent, quoting a lot of scripture to support her passions. And I gave her my more scientific, pragmatic arguments. We talked about the movie Contact, a film we both liked but probably for different reasons. She thought I was a lot like Ellie, which I took as a nice compliment. We talked about the meaning of faith, and she had a lot of interesting points.
Suddenly she looked at the clock and realized she had to go. She had only meant to stay an hour. In the midst of cleaning up and calming down disappointed kids, I told her I hoped I didn’t offend her. She laughed and said the same to me, and then gave me a big hug.
Here’s the thing. I really like her. Sure, we are complete polar opposites politically and spiritually, but we’re both raising only children that get along great. She’s well-travelled. And she loves sushi! Later that evening we texted each other, laughing about what a weird play date we had. I’m hoping she’s game for another play date soon. And next time we’ll just talk about cupcakes.