Worshipping the god of convenience
This morning, I came across a man who had kneeled down to pray on the sidewalk, facing a local 7-11. He was basically aligned with the center of the store, making it look as though he was praying to some previously unknown god of 7-11. The snatches of prayer I heard seemed to be in the “your unworthy servant” genre — perhaps he had spilled some of his Slurpy, or made a mess in the condiment area the last time he got a hot dog there.
Another guy I’ve come across more than once, in widely separated areas: an apparent “Jew for Jesus,” who intersperses his prayers with what seem to be Hebrew words along with long, seemingly memorized passages that, as in the preaching clip on the first disc Godspeed’s Tiny Fists, have scripture-like cadences, etc., but don’t actually correspond to any scripture verses I’m familiar with. He seems to favor bus stops, and the worst part is that he will stand right outside the door when people board, so that you don’t know whether to pause and let him on — and you are of course in utter dread of the possibility of him getting on and continuing his discourse. On the occasions when he has actually gotten on, however (sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t), he has not preached during the actual bus trip.
A favorite genre of crazy guys talking to the air: black supremacists. More than once, I’ve come across them on the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line (meaning I’m the only, or nearly the only, white person on board), and I’ve determined that they’re sufficiently confident that God will wipe out the white race that they have no interest in me in particular. On one occasion, however, a white woman travelling to U of C who was not familiar with that type of discourse essentially latched onto me after we both exited a car on which a black supremacist — in this case, one claiming to be the reincarnation of Moses, Jesus, Muhammed, et al. — was elaborating his views. While she seemed to be concerned for her safety, my main complaint was that I was just trying to get some reading done and couldn’t while he was talking — though presumably that’s the least I deserve as a white person.
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