Guy Friend is trying to out-gift me, if not by quality, by quantity.
He was in the major dog house recently, I mean really badly. And he knew it.
So on Christmas Day, he came over (to the house! And Jesus, Guy, don't smell so good if you don't want me to ka-pow! my arms around you & sniff, even in front of my mother.) and dropped off not one, but 12 gifts, one to open every day until Epiphany on January 6th.
I'm cutting him a ton of slack, because coming up with a gift more awesome than The Who cufflinks is going to be pretty damn difficult. My girlfriend collective all said to open all of them at once, dying of curiosity. I won't, though, because Guy took the time to write a little message with each day assigned to each gift. I'll honor that and not ruin his surprise. It's really very sweet.
That said, today was Day One, Gift One.
The tag read, "A gift of relief for the holidays."
An Rx sample acid reducer! Nexium is the elusive crown jewel of the office sample closet at Balderdash & Verities. When the office gets them, they disappear pretty quickly. So way to go, Guy! Narcotics would've been more relieving , but you know, his morals aren't that loose (rats!). I don't have acid reflux, rarely get indigestion, but it's good to know the remedy for it is on board should the need arise and the next time I'm having a belching fit, I'll pop the little purple pill and cross myself in thankfulness.
Admittedly, when I shook the box, it sounded like a pill bottle in a box. SuperJuls waited up with me until midnight last night, 2 minutes after which I opened the first gift, and she and I jovially giggled and went to sleep.
Last week, I was prepared to nail a copy of Martin Luther's 95 Theses to Guy's forehead, to which I alluded but took the original ranting post down yesterday because, as he is wont to do, Guy humored and charmed his way back into my good graces (I am nothing if not a sweetheart, and a sucker when it comes to him) over the weekend. Most of that blog post was regaling my disdain for the Roman Catholic church, which I still loathe, culminating in a harsh dig on the Church from my rogue-Lutheran perspective and essentially portrayed Guy and his clan to be robotic ritualistic elitists. I'll try and summarize the highlights of that post here, with the understanding that I have since forgiven Guy, pretty much, but I feel he still has some major sucking up to do.
The last communication by me to Guy had been on December 20th, the result of utter aggravation after our last dinner date. I was so heatedly mad that I told Guy what I missed most about my late father was the fact that he'd handcuff anyone who upset me (or any boy who eyed me) to a doorknob and would leave them there until they started to cry.
I had said in my blog this, a week ago, Sunday:
I'm the first to criticize my own Protestant denomination, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Anyone with an historical knowledge of my blogs is fully aware that I take issue with the depths of the LCMS's conservatism and am the black sheep/rogue Lutheran/Hindu/Buddhist/Liberal/Crazy Insane Drummer of the congregation, about which I make no bones and refuse to apologize. While I check myself regularly for the mark of the beast, it's not there and I still firmly consider that I am one of the saved by the grace of God with Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Yes, the fundamentalist nature of my branch of Protestantism is a huge pain in the ass sometimes, because everything is so literal and Biblical, denouncing reason, rationale, science, logic and, dare I say, the evolution of the progressive human mind, which I believe God didn't just bestow upon us so that we'd fuck things up while He shakes His Almighty Head with a facepalm. But if anyone should facepalm, it's ME. It's taken me quite some time to realize, given recent events, Lutheranism isn't as set in its ways as some other Christian denominations, and that considering the 1500's, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was kind of a rebel punk, like that baby hippie in the manger who's got a birthday coming up in a couple days, Jesus.
Having had dinner with Guy Friend this week, to which he almost BROUGHT HIS SISTER for protection from my wily seduction, the subject of my church, my minister (who is considered one of my platonic guy friends, whom Guy has met, with whose family my family had dinner last night) and my band came up. For being as interested in the shenanigans going on within the walls of St. Paul Lutheran, I had no idea Guy huddled in as deep a contempt for Protestants as he clearly must. I can't think of any other reasoning.
(By the way, Pastor Dave really hates being mistaken for a priest when he's wearing a clerical collar. I can't say I blame him. Too many people in this world call him "Father" to his face, even when he's with his obvious wife, daughter and nieces. At the day school Christmas program, parents who, um, don't realize their children are enrolled in a Protestant Lutheran school, and don't attend our church, called him "Father," which, according to him, made him want to say, which he told me, "I ain't your daddy.")
Perhaps "pestering" is too strong a word, but I certainly have invited and tried to encourage Guy to come to one of our contemporary Saturday night services (held twice a month, at which I play drums/percussion) for like 3 years, to see my band and better understand what I do and why I love to do it. I went so far as to infer that it would be alright if he brought the missus, the church being more neutral territory (read: I probably wouldn't spaz out) than Guy having brought her (uninvited and unanticipated) to my 40th birthday party in May at my house, where she felt so threatened by me and disgusted to the point of almost crapping her khakis, after she was done harshly criticizing 2 of my singers' wardrobes to their faces, after her impolite promulgation that she was going to "empty her bladder," after which she proceeded to insult the name of my parakeet, she almost dragged Guy by his balls out of my house and gasped for sanctimonious oxygen.
My dinner date with Guy Friend on Tuesday night was fun and chatty but felt rushed. I can only imagine how strange it would've been had his sister joined us, which she didn't because she'd spent the day in the ER with Guy's mom, who busted a rib. "Oh, hello, Third Wheel. Allow me to explain ME. I'm kind of in love with your brother and I don't give a damn. What do you think I should do about that?" He was wearing The Who cufflinks I gave him for Christmas the week before, which looked nice. They were as badass as he could get while still dressing appropriately doctor-like. I presented him with Part 2 of his Christmas gift, which was Neil Young's autobiography. He still hadn't gotten me anything for Christmas, never mind that I'd emailed him a link as a suggestion as to what I wanted this year that wasn't like the book about my least favorite band which he gave me last year. Only 9:00 pm, I asked him what he wanted to do after dinner, implying that we could go elsewhere for post-sushi merriment. He wanted to go home, enduring an extra half hour at the restaurant sitting with his jacket on while I lingered over my beverages and talked.
(Had things worked out and we'd eaten much earlier, he was thinking of going downtown to the Park West to see Graham Parker play live. Already knowing this, having seen the venue schedule, I'd spent some time familiarizing myself with this musician and his library vis-a-vis some musicologist friends and critics. Alas, it was too late, as the show started, I believe, at 7:30 pm.)
Pulling the car aside in the alley behind my house, we talked a little while longer, during which he said I was "rambling," when in actuality, I was waiting nervously for him to forcibly shut me up by kissing me. During our farewell hug, I said, "I love you, you know," stroking the back of his hair. His response? Nothing. I didn't even get a Han Solo freezing in carbonite "I know." I was nerve-wracked, but I'm fairly certain he just allowed my proclamation to be uttered without acknowledgment. In any event, it was an anti-climactic ending of an anti-climax. There is no louder a din of disappointment and the piercing of eardrums as awkward quietness after one has lowered her guard enough to be totally vulnerable. For all he cared, I could've just said, "Onions ripen in the spring, especially when it is raining." The conviviality of the evening had been smashed to smithereens with zero chance of recovery, which was literally killing my buzz.
There are things that could be much, much worse than frequently being at odds with the state of hyper-conservative Lutheranism.
How so, you ask?
I COULD BE AN ELITIST ROMAN CATHOLIC. YEOWCH!
His suggestion that we get together do "do more stuff" was A++. His follow-through of "with other people" was unheralded and met with exterior indifference and an interior bummer. Once his lips were within shot, I smacked upon him a non-reciprocated, cold pursing. If there'd been a priest hole in which to climb out of the car and in to hide, I and my wounded pride would've scampered away. I began to gather my things, disregarding my leftover vegetarian sushi which Guy threw in the back seat.
The subject of my band (and my pastor, on whom Guy has a strange, curious interest) came up again, and I asked, again, if he would come and see us play. He intimated that no amount of coercion, neither by virtue of my alluring green-eye batting nor the extension of an agape Christian-to-Christian olive branch would loosen the noose of his seeming anti-Protestantism. In other words, no, he is never coming to a contemporary service at my church, either with or without The Short Blond Protector/Deflector. The invitation remains open, we don't spritz you with holy water when you walk in, it doesn't matter what you're wearing, and we don't discriminate our Communion to pre-approval or scrutiny.
Guy's rigidity extends to his misconception about pop/rock music being played in a house of worship, preferring the bland repetition of the chants to which he's grown accustomed, which in Latin, I believe, translate loosely to "Where's the fucking bar?" There's this rock band comprised of solid Irish Catholics who play to tens of thousands of people in one sitting and reap outrageous profits while often revisiting their roots in Christian-based tunes. Apparently *we* aren't justifiable, but U2 is. (Ed. Note: That was the subject of one of my texts to Guy on December 20th.)
My only mindful, reasonable and intelligent token of responsibility can ultimately fall into the lap of a mortal named Joseph Ratzinger and his legion of hysterical sinister virgins who prance--bejeweled, infallible and holy, or, more simply, The Pope and All His Minions, who are successfully convincing impressionable relic worshipers that, while the Catholic church no longer sells indulgences, you pretty much still have to buy and earn your eternal salvation. Some 600 years after Luther effectively nailed it, for Christians anyway, strict Catholics spend more time gathering gold (though they claim it's all in the name of altruism) than they ever do paying remote attention to what Christ Himself told His followers. (Hi! The Beatitudes!) The Vatican is worth somewhere around $500 billion dollars, and is funding trials and re-trials of hundreds of child molesters in their befuddled inner circle and half of the world is still starving to death. (Which, to me, is one of the largest problems within *any* organized religion.)
You realize, Chickie Babies, that, if you're going to choose the path of Christianity as your spiritual walk, which, hey, you know I'm totally open-minded about religion, it makes more sense to follow the Savior directly than it does to continue to finance tongue-tripping antiquity, fables and Men in Beanies who waft an Italian shrine with choking incense, pray to dead people and think there's a waiting room to get into Heaven. Comparatively, my Lutheran church might seem a little bare-bones and minimal, but "the church" is the people, not the building; the Spirit, not the symbolism. My pastor isn't entitled to God-bestowed upon perks that aren't likewise extended to me because I participate in the music ministry, nor to the un-involved congregant who simply shows up to worship. There is no pyramid of salvation in our version of Christianity. We all have an equal shot at eternal life, which God promised us, if we believe in and love Him. That's essentially it, no bullshit. No amount of "good works" will earn you any bonus points in the express lane at the gates where St. Peter scans your preferred customer card, nor will God admonish you for any particular sin He deems unforgivable, because they're ALL forgivable if one repents. In my educated opinion, anyway, we'd all be better off if we quit judging ourselves and one another so harshly and nitpicking "sin" to the point of absurdity.
If by reading this, you deem me a hypocritical harlot in no position to champion religious practices because I have feelings for Guy and have half-assedly acted on them, I, unlike Mr. Ratzinger, am not claiming holiness or purity. Not even close. I sin, you sin, Mr. Ratzinger sins, ministers sin, Billy Squier sins, and unlike Guy, I am not in denial about my unconventionally intense attraction and find guilt to be sort of useless. I texted him that just because he's breathing, it doesn't mean he's living. It's worthy of mention that I don't conspire solo in the intermix of (very little) action in the Guy/Annie relationship. He's just as, if not more involved in instigation. But he's chickening out and I'm getting bolder. That imbalance of interpersonal power unsettles Guy, who, for once in his life, seems to have been in charge of something instead of being at the mercy of All That Estrogen. He apologized again for being "old and boring." I keep insisting that he isn't, yet we only get one go-around in life, & for being as smart as he is, he's being really sorta dumb. I might be younger but am wise enough to understand chemistry and the thrill of reticent release and ego-boosting that comes along with a friendly pairing with the opposite sex. But while my patience has been perpetually even-keeled, and Guy's not even at baby steps (he's barely sitting upright), I was pissed off enough to send him verse 2 of Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell" after I settled back in at home, which probably came across as more psycho than I honestly intended.
My last text to Guy was 3 days ago, and I'm just hanging in the down-low as the influx of the stress of Christmas comes upon me and the flurry of familial obligation and celebration have me scrambling outward for anxiety pills. In the text, I told him that even my atheist ex-boyfriend came to see me drum (and sat there stone-faced, and in hindsight, I wish he'd been struck with lightning), and the tone I was iterating was that of being both rejected and insulted. I said that if he meant to upset me severely, he succeeded, unapologetic. I am trying very hard to *not* feel like *I* fucked something up, because uniformly, those friends in the know assign the responsibility to Guy, not me.
Naturally, just hours after I posted my viscous rant, while out with Luke for some pre-Christmas zaniness at the Polish store, Guy started texting me pictures of his increasingly horrible holiday tie collection. An ice-breaker, or an "Are you still mad at me?" He said that he finally finished my Christmas shopping, was headed out to dinner for his sister's birthday, and I bid him adieu. Late Sunday night, I told him that it's true that it's really hard to stay mad at him for any length of time. 'Cause it is. (Damn dimples!)
Christmas Eve was totally merry (read: stressful) enough within my own immediate family gathering, having my brother & nephew over with Luke, my mom and myself. It wasn't until after I got home from my church's 7pm service (Oh snap! I hugged the pastor!) that I noticed I had a voicemail on my phone which was like a 10-minute pocket dial, during which I got to hear a decent portion of A Very Guy Family Gift Opening. It was hysterical (to me). He was embarrassed and apologized, but I rather enjoyed being a token, vicarious member of the family for however brief a time, and it saved me the trouble of planting a bug in his house (or wherever the hell he was). One of those "Oh, to be a fly on the wall!" moments when you actually get to be a fly on the wall.
On the original blog post, Best Male Friend, under the guise of "God and/or Satan," said this, and I DO love the new nickname for Guy's missus:
"Remembering the birthday party aftershock, Guy made some pretty big flubs, maybe purposely. Either he didn't warn Lady GuyGuy that you were kind of pretty, kind of smart, and kind of talented, or he did and she did a really shitty job of trying to outwit you, which, as we all know, is close to impossible...or he was going to enjoy probably the only occasion in his life where 2 women were getting catty over him. In either case, I'm sure the cold church snub hit you right where it hurts the worst, which sucks. Maybe better that you don't play in bars, though, where Lady GuyGuy would throw beer bottles at your head. Guy's totally unfairly threatened by your pastor for some reason. He can't have it both ways--be possessive & critical then blow you off."
I wholeheartedly agreed with BMF and appreciated his quasi-complimentary comment. I said something afterwards to the effect of the fact that Guy couldn't just come out and say "I'm really sorry I hurt you," but instead, humored back into my forethought, in which he never really left. I'll update the gift haul until Epiphany and see what he has in store for me. I told BMF (and he agreed) that it is all very thoughtful, and that I told Guy I was very touched, but if one of the gifts is "six geese a'laying," I feared they would suffocate. Maybe next time Guy lands totally in the dog house, he can take a cue from his fellow Irishmen, U2, and do this: