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Bursting With Joy

December 23, 2009

I went for a walk around town this afternoon in a part that I haven’t explored yet. It’s been a really long time since I’ve just walked unknown streets in my city, and it was a beautiful day to get out and explore.

As I was walking down one street, an old man in front of me stopped and got off his bike to go pee in the bushes beside the road. I paused to take a picture of a huge, bloated, black and yellow spider that was just hanging out waiting for a small child to pass by, and when I was done taking the picture (which didn’t really work, oh well) the man called out to me.

“Urghmurgh blourgghity blaarrgh burple.”

“Excuse me?”

“Urrghmfff raa reedle frmm JESUS CHRIST!”

“What?”

“Aaa phoon wurk JESUS CHRIST flum dum.”

Then I figured it out. He thought I was Mormon. I explained that I worked at the city hall and was not here looking for lambs.

“Mmmf pumf butterbaum, America is big! Japan is little. Snurrgle snorf phaw.”

This was pretty much the way the conversation went on for about five minutes. I would catch phrases here and there with things I understood, but most of the time I had no clue what he was talking about.  At one point in the conversation, he told me how safe Japan is because it’s an island country.  “If Japan was landlocked, we’d have the same problems as Iraq and Iran.”  I did feel a little uncomfortable because he was still there in ready position to water assorted shrubbery, yet, task forgotten, he was talking with me and seemed oblivious to the fact that he hadn’t finished what he had set out to do originally. Anyway, the conversation eventually ground to its final jerking halt, and I wished him well and set off again.

When I got back home, I ran into the man who lives up in the top of my building. This is the man who runs around the building in his pajamas. His wife just had a baby. At the same time, he had a car accident and was wearing a neck brace for a bit. He owns a takoyaki restaurant down in the bar district and gave me free food one time when I stumbled by his establishment. There’s a teen with an afro who works at his place and lives with him, yet I am unsure of their relationship. I am also unsure if the highly well-preened young man who wears sunglasses all the time and most definitely owns a hair dryer is part of this entourage or not. Anyway, I ran into this man, and the following conversation ensued.

“Oh, hey there! Long time no see. Woah, tomorrow’s that day, isn’t it?”

“That day?”

“Yes, Christmas Eve!

“Oh yeah.”

“Are you going to explode?”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, are you going to go wild and explode?”

“Huh?”

“You’re American, right? Wait! Were you Australian?”

“No, I’m American.”

“Oh, okay, right. So, you’re Christian, right?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Oh really?!? I thought all Americans were Christians. I’m Buddhist, so I don’t celebrate. Well then, if you’re not Christian, what else do they have in America?”

“Well, there are Atheists and Agnostics and…”

“Oh, so that’s what you are! Okay, I see.”

I guess that explains why I’m not going to explode.

I came into work the other day after lunch and found one of my coworkers reading a magazine on the table.

“Oh hey, how’s it going?” I asked, patting him on the back as I passed by to put my jacket on my chair.

“I’m reading about war orphans and refugees,” he said, turning a pair of glistening eyes upon me. My smile splintered. “It’s very sad.”

“Ye-, yes. Yes, it is. Very sad indeed,” I replied, feeling like a guy who walks into a funeral parlor and tells a joke about the weather or something.

“Isn’t there something that can be done?”

“Yes, it seems like there should be.”

“Who will stop it? Who will save the children?”

“Hmm, I don’t know. It seems like someone should be able to.”

“How about MANKIND?” he offered, with the most serious face I’ve ever seen.

“Yes. Yes, I suppose that would work,” I said, feeling very awkward about this whole conversation. I really couldn’t tell if he was serious about this or playing games with me, because he always tells me stories about Mormons living in the area and then turns to me with a big floppy grin and asks, “Do you believe in God, mister?” I don’t know, I almost laughed at this whole exchange, because it didn’t really seem serious, and that’s a terrible thing to do, because this really is nothing to laugh about and he may have been totally serious about this. I don’t know, I was just really caught off guard by this conversation for some reason.

Anyway, three totally unrelated conversations, except they all happened this week and they all had something to do with God.

Don’t explode, okay?

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