Saturday, July 21, 2007

Witching (and Wizarding) Hour

I'd never been to the mall at midnight until last night. Only one of the four or five doors at the entrance was open for the Harry Potter fans trickling in to pick up their copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Security guards on Segways eyed those entering the building, watching to make sure they headed straight for the escalator that would take them to the Borders Express upstairs.

The mall was dark and warm, the air conditioning having been turned up a few degrees for the night. Silence reigned, except in the small area outside of the bookstore, where chaos seemed to have taken control. There had been a celebration leading up to the witching hour, and salespeople dressed as witches continued to call out numbers for prize drawings. Since I was there only to pick up my preordered copy of the book, I didn't try to snag one of the little blue tickets needed for the prize drawings.


At the stroke of midnight, the crowd (not huge, but still too much for the small mall store) massed together to find their way to the registers to make their purchases. Incomprehensible instructions were given, which seemed to cause shifting of the crowd, but still, no clear lines were formed. Then, an imperious security guard began ordering people out of the store. A young girl nearby explained to me that customers were being taken in order of the numbers on their little blue tickets.

It was 10 past midnight at this point, and only a few people had left the store with book in hand. I had no idea where to obtain a ticket. Even if I came up with one, I'd be the very last customer served. While I could have abided an orderly line, the chaos in the store and the ill-will of the security guards made staying unpalatable to me.

I left.

I drove across the highway to Walmart, where peace and order marked the early moments of the new day. A simple line had been constructed outside. Bookmarks, posters, cupcakes, candy and wristbands were distributed to all who waited to enter the store, just a few people at a time. I waited no more than 5 minutes before gaining entrance. I was guided to a customer service desk where 2 clerks with stacks of books assisted with purchases. 5 minutes later I was home and beginning my journey into the final tome in the Harry Potter series.

As for Borders Express, I'd probably still be waiting in that mob right now...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tearing My Hair Out

With settlement on my home purchase just a week away and some of the finer details unresolved, I'm tearing my hair out. To add another cliched saying to this post, it never rains but it pours. I have a vacation coming up in September. I'm desperately trying to get ahead at work so that I won't be BEHIND when I get back. Add into the mix medical appointments (routine, but time consuming) and the impending settlement, and, well, things are stressful! And now Mom isn't feeling too well.

My sister has been wonderful - she lives near Mom and does all that she possibly can to help her. I think Mom might have to go back to the hospital again soon. She's been dwindling physically and mentally. She recently asked my sister about my brother's wife, who died 6 or 7 years ago. I guess Mom had forgotten that she was gone, and she cried when my sister told her about it.

Putting it all in perspective, the settlement stuff will fall into place, or it won't. I'll be warm and dry and well-fed either way. I'll get stuff done at work or I won't. I'll make every effort to stay on schedule, but, if I don't, it will be there when I get back. It's the people we love who count, and all of the other things can go hang.

By the way, it really does look like I've been tearing my hair out! I've got the worst case of the frizzies ever, and I can't seem to conquer it. Any suggestions???

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Making Sunday Pudding

Looking at my last post, I realize that I left out some critical bits of information. I've grappled a bit with my own religious affiliation in recent months, and I even considered converting to Catholicism at one point. I had to examine what I believe about God, the church, divine revelation - the whole lot.

I know many sincere Catholics, and I respect and admire them. I'm far too ingrained in protestant ways of thinking to convert with ease. Pity the poor priest who might have had the task of instructing me!

The Pope and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church are probably convinced that he actually does represent Christ on Earth, and that the Catholic Church is the only path to God. I am not convinced of that, so I obviously would not make a good Catholic. I respect those who do believe these things. Their beliefs are at least as reasonable as some of the things Protestants believe. For the record, I don't completely swallow the Protestant KoolAid, either.

I was raised in the Methodist Church. What I believe about God and faith could not be summed up neatly in a booklet about Methodist doctrine. I don't believe exactly what any one denomination believes, swallowed whole in an undigestible mass.

I guess the Pope's recent statements irked me a bit. They struck at the core of my sectarian and religious beliefs about freedom. However, as part of that freedom, every religious group has the right to define itself without intereference (as long as it does so peacefully). We each choose our religious, political and personal affiliations. More important, we choose just how much influence each of those thing has on who we are and how we go forward in life. I guess, in the end, the proof is in the pudding.