Posted in annoying people

PDA (public display of anger)

I almost got caught in the middle of a street fight yesterday. I was simply waking two Florida brown dogs, Samson and his cousin Kennedy, pausing in front of a vacant lot for a round of sniffing. Suddenly, I hear frantic honking as a car stops right next to us. I wasn’t sure what was going on until another car pulled up next to him, rolled down the windows and unleashed an impressive string of expletives.

Though they repeated and rephrased their rant many, many times, the gist of their complaint was, “You almost f***ing killed us because you were on your f***ing phone.” The driver got out and challenged the other to step out of his car. The gravely-I’ve-been-a-smoker-my-whole-life-voiced woman spewed venomous threats and promises as her white t-shirt clad husband laid down the gauntlet for a fight.

The other driver wisely didn’t get out of his car or even roll down the window. He just drove away. The dogs and I just kept walking as the non-stop hatred flowed from the missing-tooth mouths of these upstanding citizens out in the middle of the street. I wanted to take a picture or a video, but felt it wise to just keep walking.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a public display of anger, hatred and fury such as that. Can you imagine what might have happened if they had a gun? Of it the other guy had stepped out of the car? Or if they had decided to deliberately smash cars to take out their frustrations? I don’t want to get caught in the middle of that.

Just learn how to chill, OK?

Posted in annoying people

Ghosted.

Yep, it happened again. Been there. Done that. And it won’t be the last time, either. But now, I have a word to describe the experience: ghosted. You’ve been ghosted when someone you know suddenly breaks off all contact with you and disappear, like a ghost.

My most recent experience was with an older woman who worshiped with us for about four weeks. A few weeks gets you a phone call and a post card. Three or four weeks, and I call to thank them for coming and ask for a visit. this person, pretty quiet on a Sunday morning, was hyper-talkative when I called. I learned so much about where she’s lived, her husband who died about nine years ago, and her recent experiences with churches that prompted her to visit us. She had grown up Lutheran, felt at home, and asked me, “Can I join the church?”

“Sure,” I said. “We’d be glad to have you. I’ll see you Sunday.”

That was the last time I talked with her. She never returned to worship. Did not answer phone calls or reply to voice mail messages. I had been ghosted. Just like that.

Her elder said to me, “I talked with her. She isn’t interested in coming to our church anymore.”

On my side of the equation, I was puzzled. Confused. Annoyed. Okay, I’ll admit it, angry. Why would you say that? Why would you do that? If you don’t want to worship with us, that’s fine. Go where you feel comfortable. I’m OK with that.

Maybe I need to imagine myself in her shoes. Her last church hurt her. We were her “rebound” church. Nice for a time, but certainly not for a lifetime. We were just a rest stop in her spiritual journey.

And that’s OK. We are here to proclaim, to serve, and to minister to all sorts of people looking for hope, light, peace, forgiveness or direction. They may stay for a long time. They may just stop in for a moment. We may simply be a stepping stone. A motel.

Some church will be blessed because we preached the gospel, we made her feel welcome, we recharged her batteries for her next endeavor. They will be blessed by her presence, her worship and her prayers. It’s like an assist in basketball or hockey. People keep close track of those things, because you can’t win without them.

Posted in annoying people

Motionless

2087561_fed-up1_jfxeaqbh63vorhnrwcs4oomcjs2ptt7hevj74cagwi5qbj2htjuq_757x567On the way home from the Orlando airport, I stopped at a McDonald’s on 436. (Yes, I know, two visits to McDonald’s in just a few months. Don’t worry; I worked it off.)

Not much of a line, not much of a wait. Order placed, money paid. One white car ahead of me at the pick-up window. Sweet. This won’t take long.

They get their drink and their bag, and they…just sit there. No movement. OK, maybe they are waiting for one more item. I’m in no hurry. How long could it be?

Much longer than I thought. Ten minutes later, with a line of at least a dozen cars behind me, no movement. Horns start beeping. People are getting out of their cars, looking to see what’s going on. One person gets out of his car and walks up to the car ahead of mine, looking in the window. Another guy demands his food from the payment window and roars off. I’m stuck in-between windows and can’t do that.

Now it’s been fifteen minutes, and still no movement. Won’t the car start? Have the people inside expired? Should we call 911? No one gets in or out of the cars, but suddenly, a blue car ahead of the motionless car, that I hadn’t seen before, guns it and squeals out into the road. The roadblocking white car keeps up, burning rubber out onto a busy 436.

So what was going on up there? Finishing up a phone call? Watching a video? An argument? Yelling at the kids? Simply oblivious to the world around them? Possibly all of the above. Just because they call it fast food doesn’t mean you’ll get out of there quickly.