Sometimes I just need to take a “time-out” from humans at some point in the day.
During lunch, instead of going to the staff room, which had become a nightmarish brew of burnt popcorn and the latest gastronomic atrocity from Lean Cuisine, I decided to sit in the church hall and read my book.
It’s quiet in there and it smells like incense and candles… Church-y
And it's a good place to get hid.
I settled in a cozy nook in the church hall with my book, enjoying the silence, until I heard the shuffling of Hush Puppies. The church ladies had arrived and were set to prepare some sort of mailing.
Church ladies are scarily organized when it comes to mass mailings, and they will talk smack about you after novena if you can't tri-fold a letter correctly.
There were four of them, about 118 years old apiece and dressed for JFK's inauguration, each of them taking a seat around a large work table.
Outfitted with wet sponge bottles, envelopes, letters and those rubber finger tip thingies, they set up and plowed through their chore with military precision.
I sat reading my book, but not really reading it.
I closed my eyes and got lost in the sound of the paper being shuffled, folded and stuffed into envelopes by eight busy little old lady hands.
The rhythm of envelope seals being glued shut
The creaking of their wooden chairs as they shifted to and fro and their whispered chatter.
I sat there blissed out, enjoying the peaceful sounds of their task.
I found myself being soothed by the music of their routine, hoping my lunch break would be finished before they were.
Please God, let them have 11,086 letters to stuff...
When it was time for me to head back, I smiled and nodded to the ladies.
“Oh, dear, one of them apologized, I hope we weren’t too noisy”
I had to chuckle
“No, not at all, I enjoyed the company”
“Peace be with you, dear” she said
“And also with you”
I caught myself saying that response from Mass and quickly following it up with a “thank you”...
but it ended up clumsily falling out of my mouth.
“I've caught myself saying that part, more than once.”, she laughed, sharply noticing my cover up.
As I was walking back I was thinking how funny it was that I broke from my lunchtime routine today only to get caught up in another.