The "Oh Shit I'm Outta Here" Moment
Sometimes, though, it creeps up on you, rather than strike you like a lightning. Like I used to hang out with this group of people for ten years. A year ago, a few of us got together at a bar to celebrate one of the girls' birthday. It was right after I separated from Mr. Goldie. Everyone in the group was totally accepting of me. They were even giving me dating advice. So, we're all talking, beer is flowing, when one of the guys says to me:
"There's just one thing you need to know - if you go out with a black guy - that's it for you. No white guy will want you after that."
Being a programmer, I was curious about the logistic of it all:
"How're they going to find out?"
He looked at me earnestly. "News travel fast."
I'm standing there, still trying to process what I just heard - is it still the twenty-first century or have I somehow hopped into a time machine and caught a ride back? - when my friend offers these parting words:
"Don't you worry. There are plenty of white guys that are hung, too."
By then, it was midnight, and I had to work the next day, so I left. I don't remember thinking anything pompous on the way home, like "I will never associate with these people again, I swear!" But somehow, I cannot bring myself to go out with that group again. I've tried a few times, and I just can't. I've given up trying. Good-bye, group.
Or take my church. Thirteen years I was a member of this church.
Then, as I wrote a few posts ago (which was actually also two years ago), my younger son and I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar. We bought tickets through my son's eighth-grade Sunday School class, so we sat with like forty people from our church. Two rows full of my fellow church members, the priest and his wife in the center, parish council members next to them, and so on and so forth, all the way down to ChinchillaBoy and myself sitting next to the aisle.
By that time, ChinchillaBoy had proclaimed himself an atheist and stopped going, but I was on the fence still. I would say to myself, I've been in this church for so long. My kids grew up here. I have friends here. A social life. How can I walk out on all this? But back to the show. So we're sitting there watching Jesus Christ Superstar, and the kid who played Judas was absolutely amazing. I mean, really it was a young kid, a short scrawny young guy, and he was an absolute genius. The singing, the acting, he was excellent in every way. His name's James DeLisco. So, finally, the show ends and it's the curtain call.
James DeLisco comes out and the audience goes totally batshit. He gets a standing ovation. Except in our two rows, everyone's sitting.
I look at my fellow Sunday School teachers and I see something odd. They're doing like these little motions with their butts. They're lifting their butts an inch or two out of their chairs, then bringing them down again. What the hell? And then I realize. They want to give James a standing ovation, too, but they're afraid to stand up in front of the priest and parish council, because it's Judas.
You don't stand up for Judas.
So of course, I stood up. So did ChinchillaBoy. And, two minutes later, so did half the people in my row.
After that, I had no problem leaving this church. I cannot explain to you exactly why, but I suddenly no longer cared if I'd see those people ever again, or not.
I'd like to close with a profound bit of wisdom, but I don't have any. You can youtube Delisco or something, if you'd like.