Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Enough Salt

Early morning. Burning eyes. Stale taste on my tongue. Hair matted on one side of my curly head. In a few years I’ll straighten and style my hair, like I gelled and styled it when I was younger. But right now I will simply place a hat on my head and head out. Today I’m skipping school for “religious reasons” a fancy way of saying that I’m going to volunteer at my church’s large youth conference because there are so few people willing to do it that they need every able bodies 16 year old they can get.
It takes 23 minutes to get from my house in Beaverton to the church on Rocky Butte; we take Burnside to Sandy to Fremont, a virtual tour of Portland. Everything is run down, and “shabby” as my mother would call it. She calls many American things shabby, perhaps because things here are shabby compared to her home, in France. But then again, she doesn’t say it in a derogatory way. She simply states the fact. The stores along Sandy are all shabby and rundown.
The church is… different looking. You have the ultra modern looking domes on one side, a large open grassy field with a classic white steeple-and-all church (affectionately known as the chapel) on the other side, and then on the hillside behind it there are the Bible College and its dorms, a former military base that still looks architecturally militant, were it not for the couple of metro guys lounging about in their skinny jeans and scarves. Yeah, real militant.
I walked into the church, where just the previous night we had difficulty squeezing everyone into the lobby. I imagine I can still smell the musky, over powering smell of thousands of colognes, perfumes, deodorants, breath mints, and sweat. But when I take a deep whiff, all I really smell is the odor of coffee coming from the café. A few steps later I bound up the stairs to the lounge, taking two turquoise carpeted stairs at a time. The brightly colored “staff lounge” looks like a rainbow vomited on the walls. I scan the people present and yawn unintentionally.
That’s when I saw them. One was sleeping on the couch, his drink still in his hand, inching towards a nice spill on his pants. The other looked up guiltily as if he’d been caught cheating on a test. I walked over and sat down with the whine of springs in the cheap cough. I quickly took the cup out of the sleeping guy’s hand and began making small talk. All the while, I was nudging the sleeper enough to wake him up. This was gonna be fun.
We talked for a bit about the previous night, about the injuries to property and person that was sustained by the madly rushing people at the opening of the sanctuary doors. All the while my brain was churning, thinking, planning. I had figured out what was going on the second I has stepped in the door. Now I needed to clinch the deal.
I offer James his drink back. We talk and as we do, I explain that it was Jean who was actually about to take it from his hand, I just sat down before he could do it. I know that’s no the truth. Jean knows its not the truth. But this will be a better lesson for him then me simply calling him out and having him become all defensive. So as he mumbled a reply and begins to redden, we all make our way over to get some breakfast. I talk to Mollie, she’s one of the heads over the food, who I took the time to meet last night. That comes in handy now, as she heats a griddle just for us, to get us some better breakfast.


Basically the same story but from a different perspective. :D

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