Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is that a Wheelchair or a Crazy Magnet?

My close friends say that I’m a crazy person magnet. It’s somewhat true. Strangers say things to me that I would only tell my best friends. In the grocery store line someone will tell me about the special meal they are preparing and why. Waiters will pull up a seat and tell me they are considering dropping out of college. A 70 year old lady at the pool flashed her tits to me ( Oh yes she did and they were outstanding. I know 45 year olds who would be thrilled to have this lady’s rack).

My son, who likes philosophy says that my problem is that I view everyone as “I-you” and no one as “I-it.” I disagree. It’s the red hair. Red heads are by definition mutants. Freaks. Crazy people look at the hair and they see a fellow outcast. Throw in a wheelchair and you have a perfect storm.

Today’s crazy sightings were the flower delivery guy and the wedding site grounds manager. The flower delivery guy – a smooth customer sporting a grey parka and a Borat-style accent says to me:

“Do you get deez flawerz fram your boyFREN?”
“Highly improbable” answer I.
“Well den” he leers “ I weel like to be your boyFREN,.”

Now as much as I love a man who’s missing a tooth or two, this feels a bit sudden to me and I hate to rush into things. I have Kathy on hold for which I’m grateful particularly when he asks me :

“ Do you not have sam wan to help you here?”
“Yes” I reply “This is her on the phone now.”

I don’t know what scares me more – the thought that he was buttering me up for a tip and that was his best play ( for once in my life, I stiffed him) or that he was some kind of wheelchair predator.

Later in the evening I go a wedding rehearsal for this Sunday’s upcoming nuptials where once again, I’m officiating. The wedding is taking place in the heart of the ghetto and the grizzled groundskeeper smells like he lives on one of the nearby streets. Again he is a tooth or two short (swoon) and he has nautical tattoos on his forearms – or at least they appear nautical – they are faded beyond recognition and so is he. After the rehearsal he asks me about my ministry and I explain that I’m ordained by the internet. I am pretty sure this guy hasn’t heard of the internet and he continues to refer to my ministry as though I’m L. Ron Hubbard, despite me insisting I just like marrying people. He himself started a church in his livingroom but ultimately decided to expand to a “sidewalk ministry” which shifts locations periodically. Yep. He’s a crazy man who talks about Jesus on street corners and of the 15 people at the rehearsal he found me.

Then comes the inevitable question about the wheelchair, my answer and the surprising response.

“God chose you for this ministry. You are god’s hand and you bring a great gift to all the people you touch because of how you accept death God chose you because you accept death without complaint.”

“Well I wish I’d gotten that memo because I would have complained like a motherfucker if I had known I could avoid this.”

“God gave you that sense of humor too.”

“Did he give me a sense of humor or did he make human beings so silly you have to laugh at them?”

“You see? Your ministry is so important. People need to hear what you have to say. I hope you can keep preaching for a long time to come.”

At this point I give up trying to convince him I am not a preacher, I have no ministry, I’m not a cute crippled servant of the lord and I just shake hands with him and say “ see you Sunday.”

“I’m not working Sunday.”


“Maybe I’ll just stop by and say hello.”



Anonymous said...

The wheel chair levels the playing field in the minds of people of limited intelligence or low self esteem. You’re seen as approachable, beautiful yet damaged in their view. I think if the circumstances were different, say it were a year or two ago, both of these men would feel intimidated by you. Still, I almost feel the groundskeeper might have something there, in a ghetto street corner Jesus freak crazy man kind of way.

Taking Christianity out of it, this blog is a place where I for one feel a spiritual draw. Whether you know it or not you’re still teaching, and you’re moving all who read your words. You exhibit courage and vulnerability; you share the happy and the sad. There’s a lot to be learned in your writing…Like a manual for life with a foundational message that reads, ‘Cherish every moment’.

Megan Lynch said...

I don't know about red hair, but my wheelchair-using friend swears wheelchairs attract de crazies. He's got MD and he's told me all sorts of stories about being buttonholed about one thing or another. Like people with disabilities don't have enough to worry about...

Complain, joke, be dolorous - I'll read it all.

Anonymous said...

It is the red hair.
And being beautiful but approachable in you case makes a trifecta.

The wheelchair is probably an added dimension. Quadfecta?

I used to dye my hair red and I learned all kinds of things about people that I didn't really need to know and a lot that I really enjoyed. They confide secrets, dreams, misdeeds... Suddenly I was the worlds confessional. Pretty funny usually. Scary once in a while, like when the bum that had wet his pants asked me if I had ever been scared in my life, I mean truly scared? I told him he was doing a pretty good job of scaring me now!

Anonymous said...

The church of Carla! I'll be your first convert!


Anonymous said...

Put me down for number two.

My trip to Vancouver was never meant to be as I spent 1 1/2 hours in the dental chair this evening hoping to set aside a need for a route canal. Something out there must have been telling me to stay home. I wonder what will come out of this as I believe Karma was involved somehow.

This latest blog tells me that you are back to being Carla. My son has a friend in L.A. in the entertainment industry who would love your sense of humor. I talked to my son today and told him to be sure and introduce his friend to your blog. You would love him as your minds think alike.

Love to you.

Pat H.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Carla. I haven't laughed so hard in a lo-o-o-ong time. Much needed laugh therapy/ministry after spending the weekend in Carson City, NV where the snaggle toothed crazies living in hovel mobile homes are adamantly for McCain, where a woman with cats everywhere said she was undecided but that God would guide her and by the way, how does Barack Obama feel about partial birth abortions? Where the brand new Carson High School campus has a whole building just for Naval Junior ROTC -- all built with proceeds from casinos, which pay the bulk of property taxes.
YOU are back, girl! love you, love you, love you. Sandy

Anonymous said...

ok, i have to begin by making a confession ... my 1st love had red hair.

i was 5 yrs. old & in the early 1950's my family lived in a rambling old stone house in a town called Ettlingen, in the wrack & shambles that was Germany after the war. it had a big swimming pool, a little vineyard & many rooms. we got the house because we were Americans & had won the war. so because of the lots of rooms we had a young woman living with us, (she must have been all of 25 altho to me she seemed as worldy as Cleopatra). She was from the Sudentenland in what is now the Czech Republic ... a German national, former allied concentration camp inhabitant & now displaced person as the Germans were being made to pack up & move back to Germany ... in what must have been a fascinating turn about she somehow ended up working for the American military. her name was Alice, she spoke 7 languages & she had flaming red hair.

exotic, beautiful, intelligent & cultured ... i didn't have a chance. in my defense i was only 5. if i'd met her later i'm sure i would have been able to use my charms to devastating effect but since i was basically a kid i went with my strengths; i talked a lot & i was cute.

i'm sure she knew i was smitten. she was as kind & gentle as someone can be who senses improbable helpless love in the air. i, for my part, was as brave & undemanding as i could be under the circumstances & in my innocence hoping that the in spite of the difference in our ages & the differences in life experience she would wait the 15 or 20 yrs. until i came of age. alas, it was not to be.

still, i have no regrets.

& the story has a happy ending as far as happy endings go ... she married an American army officer & moved to the US of A the last i heard living in Seattle, Washington, a town i really hope appreciates a red-head.