Monday, July 02, 2007

"Put a Sock in it!" Grrrrrrrrr

My sister says "the strangest things happen to you, Arlene." And she's right. I don't get up in the morning and think "what strange thing can I make happen today" but it seems to be a gift.

Yesterday, Bill and I went to church with Madison. She, on her own, has started going to church. We're so proud of her and disgusted with her parents. She wanted to bear her testimony, so we went with her. It was fun because it was our "home ward" both of us had lived in for awhile and we had lots of friends there. One of James' childhood friends is in the bishopric and that is always fun.

But, the strangest thing happened. We were sitting next to a woman who talked loudly to her husband throughout the whole meeting. He kept saying, "shhh...." Anyway, she bounced up to bear her testimony right at the first of the meeting and went on for 20 minutes about her daughter's move to Texas and the problem with the black movers who kept stealing things.
She actually said, "They stole her makeup. I mean, com'on. Does a black guy need makeup?"

Now. I got my problems. I'm a bigot in areas. But that just enraged me. I've known this woman for 30 years and like her. She's always been a little bit manic, but she was nutso yesterday. I leaned over to Bill and said "oh, honey, stop me if I get up and start to rip her face off."

It bothered the two black families who were sitting in back of me also. They got up and walked out during her testimony. Dang, that bothers.

She finally sat down, and others got up, but she talked even more loudly to her husband, excitedly, and leaned over to my husband and said, "Bill, why didn't you stop me, I can't believe I talked so long, why didn't you cut me off (making that hand gesture on her throat)?"

At that point, I leaned over and whispered loudly, "Helen."

She said, "What?"

I said, "Put a sock in it, I'm trying to listen to the speakers." And I made the cutting gesture. And sat back.

She jumped up and ran out. And the rest of the meeting was quiet.

At the close of the meeting, I was hugging my granddaughter and telling her how much I loved her and how proud I was and I would be back to pick her up after YW (I was going to my ward RS) when somebody grabbed my shoulder and I looked up into Helen's tear streaked face.

She started going on about how I'd ruined the meeting for her, all kinds of stuff that I didn't remember. I snapped, "GROW UP!" and turned away from her as Madison walked off, to say hi to some old friends. She gasped and was quiet for a minute.

But she wouldn't let it--or me go. She went on and on in my face. Luckily for her, I didn't lose my temper. Or she'd have two black eyes and I'd be in jail. I said, "Helen, I like you. But it was incredibly rude of you to talk out loud and I wanted to hear what that guy was saying."

She was off again. You guys, it's entirely possible she was on steroids, she was acting nuts. Finally, I said, "Helen, this isn't the time or the place to have this conversation. I'm leaving."

Now, she was babbling to Bill, also, and her husband was just traumatized, he didn't hear what I'd said to her (we're all hard of hearing LOL). He didn't know what she was bawling about. He kept asking me. And I was just leaving. He finally got that I'd hurt her feelings and when I said, "I have to leave" he said angrily, "yes, you do."

I left the room, leaving (My husband can be the sweetest guy) Bill there with her and her husband. I looked back and Bill had his arms around her patting her back as she cried.

I frankly didn't give a crap. But I was thinking, "drama follows me like a bad cold."

I'm going to send her a card with flowers apologizing for my blantant unkindness. I'm not saying I'm sorry. But I know this woman. She is not a racist, nor is she mean. (I am mean). She is a moron, obviously, but a ditzy, hyperative woman. She is kind at heart, I know.

She must be going through menopause and she is in remission for breast cancer and obviously having some mental problems. For me to have ripped her a new butthole, or to have taken her out in the back and beat the crap out of her, either with my fists or words, would have been to easy and have been my bad.

In fact, I think my unkindness was the more egregious error.

Although, I called her bishop this morning and he said he spent the rest of the day trying to reconcile the two black families and hours in the evening trying to get Helen, who did not realize what she'd said and was mortified, to calm down. He said he thought somebody needed to tell her off. Not in those words, but somebody needed to tell her, anyway.

Last night I kept thinking of all your guys crazy church stories and thought, "well, I sure have a good one now."


Scherer said...


I can't I've ever seen anything like that happen. I think I would have reacted the same way that you did and I cringe thinking about the day thr Bishop probably had. I think the bishopric should be given a giant red light to set off on the podium in these cases... or maybe a gong. It would be awkward to have to physically escort someone from the stand.

Barb said...

I do feel sorry for the Black families too. I hope that they can understand it was hear speaking and that from what you said that she is not prejudiced in general. It was like a description such as saying that a blue eyed person would not need blue-eyed contacts. Well, I know that is a stretch, but I think that is what she was getting at with her statement rather than being rude.

As you can tell, this woman is very emotional right now. If she is in this state of mind, there are probably a lot of things that set her off.

I hope that I have never been as manic as that. I have been very hyper though. I drove a professor crazy one time when the class was developing a survey to give people in the pulbic. After every statement, I said things like that was not logical. I was so crazy at the time and everything had to add up. I wasn't doing it to be mean. I had taken interviewing and also had classes where scientific method was discussed briefly. I also would always think Psychology studies were not measuring what they were supposed to as far as validity goes when I would go to would do their studies for extra credit. But I did not say as much to them. When we were going to do something another day, this mild professor prefaced it with how we were not going to go through "that again." He didn't name me by name, but I am sure it was insinuated.

Bear in mind, that I used to be as quiet as a mouse and not usually one to even comment much in my College courses. I am not sure if I was on meds at the time.

This was the semester that I had to leave the teaching college due to my ocd. I had to drop a couple of classes as I could not do the observations. This professor made an exception to let me stay in the class by doing a different assignment. I am sure someone must have talked to him about my condition as he had me in the office and was so nice. It was like he was trying to get me to open up or something. I can ramble on and on and on and on, but talking to a professor in an open way one on one was not something I was too capable of at the time.

I have often wanted to set the record straight that I was rather out of it at the time. That was not me! I may be an in the moment person at times, but not that exaggerated.

Another time, a group of friends were coming home from a singles conference and we were passing through Des Moines where my cousin lives. I think I kept saying over and over and over about how we should see my cousin Debbie. I ended up just calling her. At a restuarant, they had something for free like candy that we were allowed to take. I asked afterwards if it was okay that we took it because I was not sure if it was okay. The person made a comment like maybe I was trying to get attention. She was one of the nicest people. She has moved away. She made comments like how she did not want to babysit me with my ocd as I would ask questions constantly in those days if I was putting others at risk. Later, I would just avoid going places for the most part. She is a good person. She knew me for a long time before I went over the edge. She even complimented me at times for my ability to hold conversations with strangers when we went to someone's home etc. Yet, she would often say when I asked her a question with ocd, "What do you think?" People think I know! I do not know to a great extent and it is only by rehearsing what people have told me that I function if I can fit it into a box. But sometimes my mind is too vivid. I hope that I size people up in charitable ways and give them room for such moments. I have had people be more kind than I would have imagined. And this sister was so kind that she continued to give me rides despite the fact that I probably drove her crazy. I wonder if I should explain to her someone time that she hurt me some and that I was manic at the time. I am a very analytical person and for someone to think that I am simple is so upsetting to me. I can analyze full well when I am in my lesser moments. Given how much I am going on now, maybe I am manic. Or maybe you just really struck a chord.

I wonder if this will even post as it is so long.

Annegb, I think it is really important to really apologize to this sister when she is more in her right mind. Again, her reaction was not normal. Normal people don't go on and on like that.

Having been abnormal myself, maybe I would have to excuse myself from this jury. I would also be prejudiced to siding with my friend annegb who tells me I am not a freak when I so worry that I am a freak because of rejection from others. Thank you for not rejecting me!

Elizabeth-W said...

Barb's point about normal people not going on like that had me laughing. It seems every ward apparently has at least one unmedicated lady who says crazy things from the pulpit--it's just that way, probably from the beginning of time. I can image being stuck on the Ark for 40 days with one of those women. I'd have considered jumping ship.
Scherer's right. The bishoric should have intervened. And the husband needs to grow a pair (how's that for therapeutic for ya'? ) :)
AngieB if we were in the same ward, it would be BAD!!! :) Big hug!!

Barb said...

Elizabeth, I'm glad that I made you laugh!

Umn, I hate it when I sound needy when I speak of rejection. Yes, I am over-sensitive.

Annegb, I feel so blessed to know you online. I think that I may get to see the "real you" that sometimes people in your life don't always see. If we were in the same ward, we may not have even taken the chance to get to know each other. Seeing how you think and what you think about online, drew me to you. I do thank God for my online friends!

Melanie N. said...

I'm just glad I wasn't the only one who had a crazy sacrament meeting. The first person to get up was a guy we'd never seen before who immediately identified himself as an alcoholic schizophrenic. The bishop finally asked him to stop when he started to denigrate the scriptures. He opened the floodgates for every other unstable person in our congregation to utilize the open forum. It was sad; all the other testimonies eemed like awkward attempts to pull the meeting out of the toilet. Sometimes I think they should just end the meeting early.

Barb said...

I hate how I speak of the theme of rejection so much. I don't think I am needy though. There is a difference between being over-sensitive in needy. And difficulties with rejection are a common byproduct of people from dysfunctional homes. I also worry that someone may turn around and not like me after they have accepted me. This is common with people with parents with mood swings who can go from being loving to belligerent when they are in a drunken stupor and other ways that do not fit a pattern of normal parents moods. But hey, I understand this so I am not merely blowing in the wind. And I sabatoge some relationships enough to scare them off before they even start so they aren't really rejecting me because they don't really know me. All of this is leading to a little poem that I wrote.

I am shy to mention
that I need a little attention.
Not the center of attention
not contention or dissention
Just a little attention.

Ann said...

Girlfriend, you rock. What you said is funny as heck.

I don't think you were being unkind. Unkind would have been, "Don't you ever shut up?" or "I have never seen such an obnoxious testimony."

Call me callous, but IMHO you don't owe her an apology. If it would make you feel better, then go ahead. So, you ruined the meeting for her, but saved it for the rest of the people in the meeting.

Barb said...

Annegb, maybe you and Helen will come to laugh about this together as time goes by. Maybe this will be the start of closer friendship between the two of you. I am sure many of person has thought I was spacey(which I am often times) or even ditsy. In my younger years, I think I was disconnected from myself. But I think we will be surprised about what is below the surface. Also, I was a sweet person in terrible circumstances when I was young so my outside probably mirred my inside in many ways. Yet, I hope I am deeper than I seemed. I think that I am even unduly critical of my old self as being too sweet. In contrast, I also put her on a pedestal at times as it was so much easier for her to do good. Well, it helps not to have problems going places. I don't know how much any of us are our real selves here on this Earth.

annegb said...

You know, Scherer, I think you're right. I think he had his hands full. He said he kept thinking he should make her sit down. I heard some advice an old timer in the gospel give to a new bishop "If you must err, err in mercy." But stories are rampant on the bloggernacle about crazy sacrament meeting stories.

I don't know that I feel sorry for the families who walked out
, Barb. I respect their action. Had they been long time members they might just have considered the source.

I don't think she is racist, but she is famous for being rude, pushing people to get to the front, that sort of thing. I've always put up with her, mostly because I really don't see her very often and I felt she was basically good at heart.

Barb, you are nothing like that. You care about other peoples' feelings. She has blinders on and has offended many people through the years.

Melanie, been there. I think the most deeply spiritual people in the room have a responsibility to get up and change the subject in those cases. Actually, the person who did that Sunday was my granddaughter.

Barb, I LOVE that poem. I'm going to use it in the visiting message in our newsletter. See, you are Emily Dickinson :). But I doubt we'll ever laugh about it. I will, but she won't. LOL

Ann, you know, I think I was incredibly controlled. She doesn't know me well enough to know that she dodged a bullet. I could have slaughtered her with words or fists. But it was in the chapel, so I kept my cool.

What was funny was Bill's face as he's hugging her and remembering how she'd ruined this thing he'd been at recently. Patting her, looking just, I don't know, like he was having a Twilight Zone experience.

I took responsibility for my side of the street. That's all that mattered to me.

Barb said...

Annegb, I think I understand more with your recent posts why you reacted the way you did.

It makes me very happy that you would use one of my poems for your newsletter!

It's hot and humid here. It's a good thing I like the heat!

Tammy and Parker said...

I clicked your link from MMW.

You had quite the Sunday. We have our own unmedicated lady in our ward too. Every Sunday she used to race up to be first for her testimony......and that's all we got to hear was her testimony.

This same woman has been known to go through the neighbors' garbage cans and then rip them a new one for the junk food they eat and not recycling enough.

summershine said...

This reminds me of a recent RS testimony meeting in which the RS President did have to get up and stop the meeting.
It started when a sister talked about being tempted that week when some friends asked her for sexual favors.
Then a lady got up and talked for 7 straight minutes about her granddaughter having sex young and being molested by her father, and in the middle of that testimony someone else tried to turn it into a group discussion, announcing that she had been raped at 18.
I've never wanted to leave a church meeting in my life until then.

annegb said...

summershine, I love your psuedonym.

I have a friend who owed another friend money. Both relief society women. The woman owing wrote the check out and wrote "sexual favors" on the bottom of the check. I'm so going to do that when I remember to do it.

I actually think that sounds kind of entertaining.

What got me mad at that woman was her racist comments. Had she just rattled on, I would have been embarrassed for her and been more kind. When she kept going on about the black men, I lost it.

Thanks for visiting my blog :)