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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Oh, the people you meet and the places you go

Well, today was quite the strange one. Almost, like I had gotten trapped in a Seinfeld episode. I went to prayers this morning to find our chapel overrun with nuns, just one large sea of black. Fortunately they brough Poptarts, I hope they leave them behind. Later in the morning a large group of Secular Franciscans descended upon our friary for somesort of meeting. I decided that since we had obviously lost control of our friary, I needed to get out. Plus, it was a pretty nice day. I am learning that all this excessive Franciscan hospitality can be a real bother if you are an introvert. I like to be hospitable, just on my own terms.

Well, it turns out that God wasn't going to let me escape that easily. I decided to get away by going to a Ukrainian church festival up in Silver Springs, Maryland. After walking around the various booths selling Ukrainian religious and folk art, I wandered over to the booths selling food and drink. My persual of the beverages was interrupted by a gentleman who carried an open beer in one hand and wanted to know where I was from. I told him that I was from Washington, but he wanted to know my nationality and not American, but all the way back to the Old Country. When I told him that my ancestors came from Germany, he wanted to know why I was at a Ukrainian festival. I told him that I was interested in the culture. He then offered to buy me a beer. Oh the temptation of free beer. I really should have declined, but it was free. So, then he tells them to bring me a beer and adds, "the cheapest".

This strange gentleman then engages me in conversation for about thirty minutes. I can tell that he is not native to the US because when he talkes he is constatly touching my arm and makes sure his face is only about an inch away from mine. Needless to say, my personal boundary alarms were going off like crazy. He spent most of the thirty minutes talking about various other people who had come to the festival and expressing how amazing it was that the two of us just happened to run into each other. Most of these comments were interspersed with a liberal dose of profanities. Fortunately, he was a happy drunk. I'm also happy I spent a summer doing ministry with those with psychiatric disorders so that I wasn't bothered much by his inability to make sense. I was concerned when he approached two young girls claiming that he was a police officer checking for tickets. I was worried that he would do something that would get us both in trouble and worried that if I stopped listening to him [I didn't do much talking] that he might accost some less willing to put up with him. Still, after thirty minutes I could tell that our conversation was not going anywhere productive and getting quite repetitive, so I was able to excuse myself and escape.

Was there a purpose in the two of us meeting besides free beverages? I don't know, perhaps kismet. I'll have to think about this one. Still, living in DC gives you an opportunity to meet lots of people who are very, very different.

Ah, its good to be back in the silence of my room.



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