Tonight was Caoilte's school play, which turned out to be more of a "Christmas carol church service" with 15 minutes of "school play" thrown in for good measure. Why do I continue to fall for these ruses? Perhaps if I'd grown up here in Ireland I'd have known to expect it.
I spent an hour and a half in an unholy crouch position, never knowing when I was going to be expected to stand, sit, or whatever else, and I did it proudly in the front row in my yellow Michigan hoodie, Guess jeans, and a pair of orange and white Reeboks. They really should include more pertinent information in the permission slips, like, for example, that you might want to put on something other than what you cleaned house in today. I'm sure everyone wondered who the heathen was. Well, until Caoilte, in his Roman toga, announced in perfect Standard American English to emperor Augustus that he was fairly sure a census would reveal that some buggers have been engaged in some serious tax-dodging, a statement which elicited knowing smiles and nods all around.
It didn't take long to take in the surroundings, the church is fairly small and I was able to entertain myself quite well watching the teachers, who both had long brown hair, lean over the candles that burned at the end of each pew to tell the kids to shut up and stop fidgeting. I found myself betting on which one's hair would catch fire first, but the evening passed without any incendiary action occurring.
I was subsequently beaten to death (metaphorically, of course), with a seemingly never-ending series of "lesson/prayer/response/carol/lesson/prayer/response/carol" until, out of nowhere, I suddenly had an image of that red Ikea kitchen we both love put where the altar was, and then I couldn't get it out of my head, which meant I spent the remainder of the evening trying not to break into a fit of giggles every time the reverend turned his back to do the washing up. I mean sort out stuff on the altar.
The production of a felt-lined wooden bowl at the head of each pew by a lackey in black rayon caught me completely off guard, and though I had two tampons in one pocket and a tube of chapstick in the other, I decided that it would probably be better not to add these to the communal pot. I was quite pleased with that decision when I saw the lackeys present the reverend with the bowls, and even more so when he went up to the altar and held them up to god, and again I had to stifle a fit of the giggles as I imagined god peering down into the bowl to see who'd given him what for Christmas and going "WTF?!" Man, who knew church could be such a hoot?!
At the end of the ordeal we did what everyone else seemed to be doing, and joined the queue to get out. There is a gauntlet, apparently, that one is expected to run before being allowed out the door, and this includes a formal goodbye and some sort of conversation with the reverend. I wasn't listening to the people in front of me, and when it was my turn the only thing I was really interested in knowing was where he was from, since I had spent most of the service trying to pinpoint the origin of his British accent. Turns out he's from London. It took us a further ten minutes to get past the clot of over-70's having a natter (and blocking the exit), and ten more again waiting for them to actually make their way to their cars so I could get out of the lane that was being used as a parking lot for the event.
Next event: the Easter play. I'll be sitting in the back and yes, I'm taking my iPod.