Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some advice for those feeling the need to confess their sins

If you have a friend whom you can trust, young man, and you have been stupidly involved in three meaningless sexual relationships this summer, and you got in trouble with your parents over it, and you need to talk it out...well, that's a good thing (talking it out, I mean, not having meaningless sexual relationships and getting in trouble with your parents). And it's a good thing to say, out loud, exactly what you did wrong and to ask yourself why you did what you did and what you can do to stop it. If you went to band camp and schtupped a girl about whom the only thing you can remember is, literally, that she wore a purple dress and played the trumpet, then I agree that you should ask questions about what that episode reveals about your own character and should talk over, with a trusted advisor, strategies for ensuring that in the future you make better decisions. And if your feelings on the matter run deep enough that you cannot adequately express them without the occasional, or even frequent, "s---" or "f---", why then I agree that it's a good thing to let it out and face up to the strength and depth of your own self-loathing.

But, dude -- don't do it sitting in a coffee shop where six other customers and two baristas are having to listen to it, in a voice so boomingly penetrating that the guy two seats away (which would be me) can't fully drown you out even with the fourth movement of the "Little Russian" symphony cranked to full volume in his headphones.

I swear, if I didn't occasionally meet young people like Daniela and Daniel and David and Stephanie, Ferris Bueller's maƮtre d' would have nothing on me in the weeping-for-the-future department. I ask you, people of my generation and regional provenance: can you imagine having so little consideration for the persons around you, even in junior high? Can you imagine what our parents would have done? Or, more importantly: if I had pulled a stunt like that when I was this kid's age (approximately 19, I'd say), then every adult in the room would have interrupted to say, "What are you doing having that conversation here? I know your momma taught you better than that, 'cause I know your momma and I know she made sure you know better." Meanwhile I'm sitting here trying to figure out whether I should go over to that table and say, "Guys, I really don't think this an appropriate place to hold this conversation." And as you see, I haven't decided to do anything about it yet -- I'm just blogging it. Which may say as much about me as the fact that these two are having the conversation in this time and place, says about them.

UPDATE: Okay, I was literally just standing up to go talk to them when the girl starts talking about how she wasn't sure that the things she liked about him outweigh the behaviorable problems he has. So (a) this isn't a guy trying to talk through his issues with a helpful friend; it's a boyfriend/girlfriend sexual honesty session, carried out in front of a captive audience. [searches for words, gives up] And (b) there is no way on God's green earth I'm getting involved in this. Call me coward, baby, but I have sat myself right back down and ain't gettin' up again except on tiptoe.

(sigh) Guess the rest of the day belongs to Toby Mac, since volume is now the preeminent consideration in my musical selection.


At 12:23 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

These are Extreme Days, to be sure.

I'm trying to decide if I was likely to overhear a similar conversation at Sterlings (the student coffee house on campus) and decided while I might, I haven't, and it would be more likely a group talking about someone else's behavioral problems, not their own.

Sorry, dude.


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