This week, I seem to have acquired a tattoo on my forehead that is only visible to opportunistic individuals. I've looked for it in the mirror. I've scrubbed my forehead repeatedly with St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub. I've applied cover-up and concealer to try to hide this immovable tattoo from the world. But, not matter what I do, it's there for those who are looking to take advantage of me to see.
|Cantoring 101: When the arm goes up,|
Background Information: Lainey sings. Not just in the shower or the car, either. Lainey sings soprano in the church choir. Lainey is also what is known as a cantor. This is a person who stands up in front of God and everybody and leads the congregation in song, as well as singing the psalm solo up at the ambo (the podium next to the altar). The reason you need to know this information will become evident momentarily.
I am a Catholic and this week lent began, which meant that I would be going to church at some point on Ash Wednesday to get ashes. My mother, being the dutiful Catholic mother that she is, e-mailed me the mass and ash service times for our church. (Ash Wednesday is a "holy day of obligation" - that's Catholic for get your butt to church. My mother's e-mail insured that I felt obligated to go.) Upon perusing the e-mail, I discovered that there were two services that fit into my schedule, an ash service at 5:30 pm and a full mass at 7pm. The ash service would be faster since there would be no communion, so that's the option I chose.
Normally, I don't leave work until after 5:30 pm (sometimes well after), but since it was Ash Wednesday I booked it out the door at five. I got to my car, raced across town, and made it into the church parking lot with five minutes to spare. Not bad for rush hour! We have discussed my lead footedness before, right? Yes, I sped, but I didn't get caught because I was going about God's business. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
So I hustled into church and found a seat in the mid-range not in the back rows, but not near the front either and there was my mistake. I should have hidden in the shadows of the back rows, but seated where I was the sucker tattoo was visible. Immediately, the closest opportunistic person honed in on me, in this case, the church's music director. It seems that the two teenagers who were supposed to cantor this particular ash service were MIA (missing in ashes) and the music director was actively surveying the congregation looking for an unsuspecting
Before I knew what hit me, I had been suckered into going up to the front of the church to sing music I hadn't rehearsed, when I wasn't warmed up and didn't have entirely church-appropriate footwear on my feet.* How did that happen? I don't even like our church's music director, so why was I doing him a big favor on zero notice? Was it divine intervention? Catholic guilt? I'm blaming the sucker tattoo.
|While super comfy and unlikely to rebreak my ankle,|
this is not church appropriate footwear.
*Since I broke my ankle I've been afraid of my higher heeled shoes. Hello, they turned on me and broke my ankle! Plus, I'm on my feet for 8 hours a day at work, so I've been using the "my poor ankle" excuse to justify wearing sneakers. Sneakers are not church shoes and they are REALLY not cantor shoes.
The next day, I once again failed to style my hair in such a way as to cover the sucker tattoo. I arrived at work on one of my only meeting-free mornings of the week and was immediately greeted by a colleague who needed something. The something being one hour of my time. The story was that his tire had a nail in it and he was supposed to visit his father in the nursing home after work. He was tapping me to cover his morning meeting so he could take the car to get the nail hole plugged and still have time after work to visit his dad.
Now, I know this co-worker very well, some might even describe him as my work husband. His story was legit as we have discussed his father in the nursing home on many occasions. But, what this story meant to me was that I would be giving up an hour of productivity in order to baby-sit a meeting for him. I really needed that hour of productivity and I definitely didn't need to be sitting in on another meeting. Yet, sucker that I am, I told him not to worry, I've gotcha covered, and sent him off in search of a gas station willing to plug a tire.
Are you an opportunistic person? Do you need an inconvenient favor? Apparently, I'm ready, willing, and able to help.
Written from purgatory while God decides exactly how long I will be burning in Hell for complaining about using the gifts He gave me to help my fellow man. It's okay, I hear Mr. Mynd has a room just down the hall from mine, so I'll have company.