so, yesterday i’m at a small church in palo alto, california (right by stanford), to do a middle school ministry training day for a small group of episcopal youth workers. the room we’re meeting in is a nice lounge-type room: a couple furniture groupings at either end, and we have a circle of padded folding chair in the middle. not a fancy room, but not bad.
in the corner of the room, i spot a box with a label on it that says: carpet first aid kit. i kid you not. really. i’m totally serious. it said that.
a few minutes later, when we sat down to get started, the associate rector came in to greet us. here’s a fairly close transcript of the conversation that followed:
assoc rector: i want to wecome you to our church. i’m the associate rector here, and oversee youth ministry. i’m sorry i can’t join you today, because i’ve just returned from a week in hawaii.
— commentary: hold on. she can’t join us because she’s just been lounging her lazy butt on a beach in hawaii for a week? that’s why she can’t join us? oh, excuse me — everyone else who’s here is able to be here only because they’ve worked 60 hour weeks. end commentary. —
assoc rector: you’re in the newest room in our church, completed about a year-and-a-half ago. it’s called the kennedy room, named after an important family in our church.
— commentary: uh, can you say ‘donation’? end commentary. —
assoc rector: we don’t allow any food or drinks in this room. when you have your lunch break, you’ll need to eat outside. also, i’ll need to ask that you watch your volume level, because there’s a tai chi class down the hall, and a choir making a recording in the sanctuary.
— commentary: nothing against anglicans/episcopalians. i have quite an affinity for ’em these days, and wouldn’t be shocked if jeannie and i end up in an episco church someday. but, really, can you imagine that previous sentence being uttered anywhere other than an episcopalian church? end commentary. —
marko (attempting sarcasm): can you tell us a little about the carpet first aid kit?
assoc rector (missing sarcasm): sure! [pulls out box, opens it] this won’t be an issue, since you can’t have food or drinks in here. but this has all the stuff you need to clean up a spill on the carpeting.
marko (re-attempting sarcasm): could you tell us what we should do if we have an actual human first aid need?
assoc rector (not sure how to respond — a little laugh enters her voice, but she plows forward with an answer): well, i’m not sure where a regular first aid kit is. i think there’s one over in the kitchen. you’d have to check.
marko (trying to let her off the hook): thanks!
assoc rector: have a great day!