I try to be very tolerant of other people’s beliefs. I know they are very personal. Very important. I also try to not talk about religion or politics on here. If you know me, my personal opinions are easy to figure out. But this story does involve uptight religious people. Be warned.
My hometown is very religious. We have regular religious protesters on the biggest intersection in our downtown. They are always going on about judgement day and the apocalypse.
There used to be an old woman that sat outside all day and would stop us to tell us we were going to hell. Because all teenagers were going to hell. I can tell you that at that point in my life the worst thing I had ever done was ride my bike on the sidewalk (which is totally illegal in that town).
I generally politely ignore these people unless they refuse to accept my polite ignoring. It happens. And then I just make a joke and keep on walking.
But there is a bead store in my hometown. Just one. And you guys should know that I am freaky into beads. Like, borderline hoarder.
I was on a trip to my home town sometime last year with my brother, T, and friend, C. We were all itching to look at the pretties in the bead store. My father knew the woman that owned the bead store and he warned us that she was a “religious nut.”
I should also let you know, I was not on drugs that day. So I can’t even use that as an excuse, like this time.
So, we walked into this bead store and I saw an old woman behind the counter. I tried to make polite conversation with her. So I said “Hello.” And then asked “Is this your shop?”
I had never been into this bead store because it is closed my two days off per week.
The woman behind the counter said something that sounded like “My name is on the door but God owns it.”
I sort of thought I had misheard her. And anyway, I was being polite, remember?
We started talking about my father, who is a local character. She knew who he was based solely on my description of his appearance. But he also has a pretty popular nickname.
T and C weren’t saying much and I sort of wandered away from the owner to look at the stuff. I found a few things I liked and was talking about them with T and C. We walked around the whole store a few times and I had about 5 semi-precious stones in my hand.
We made our way back up to the front and I picked up something else I wanted. It was a green onyx heart. I actually had been looking for one for a little while. I turned to the shop owner and said, “I can’t believe you have this! I’ve been wanting one.”
She looked at me sternly. “That is part of the display and not for sale!”
I shrugged and put it down.
But now I was on the shop owner’s radar. She came over to me. I towered at least a foot over her.
“Do you have items to purchase in your hand?”
“Did you not read the signs?” She pointed and I saw at least 5 signs hung in various places that all items for purchase are to be placed in a basket.
I had not seen the signs. I swear. I said, “No. I didn’t. I’m sorry. I’ll put them in a basket now.”
I got a basket and put the 5 things that had been in my hand into a basket. “See? It’s fine. They’re in a basket.”
“How did you not see the signs?” She demanded.
“I ask myself that all the time. I am oblivious.” I joked.
She was not amused. “These baskets are to prevent theft.”
I looked at the basket and then at her. “But, it’s not like I couldn’t steal it out of this basket. I mean, I’m not stealing.”
“Excuse me? What did you say?” She yelled.
I didn’t realize how angry she actually was until that moment. And T and C, who had been talking in the corner, suddenly fell silent.
I looked over at them and they looked from me to this old lady. It was some sort of silent standoff. The seconds ticked by. I wondered if she was going to call the police on me.
Finally, T asked her a question about something and she went to help him. I didn’t say another word until we had left. But I heard her saying something about young people today and sin and hell. So, there’s that.
I am happy with what I bought, but it would not have been worth getting strip searched over.