22 minutes ago
Saturday, 29 October 2011
My boorish barney with a Bible-pusher
Before my own memory starts modifying and embellishing the event in my own favour and against the Bible Lady, here is my best word-for-word recollection of the conversation.
(There were actually two callers, the one I talked to being middle-aged, the other much younger - presumably a 'novice' there to learn the ropes).
BIBLE LADY: "Good morning. We are asking around the neighbourhood for people's views on the Bible. Have you ever....."
ME: (starting calmly and with a cordial self-satisfied, 'I-know-it-all' smirk) "Actually I've read the Bible six times cover-to-cover in three different versions - and each time it gets more and more preposterous. It's the reason I lost my faith." (Oh, too clever by half! - and why did I say "lost my faith" instead of "discarded", which I am always telling others to use, and which would have been nearer the truth?)
SHE: (After slight delay - of surprise? - But she smiling also.) "Oh, why do you find it 'preposterous'."
ME: "Well, for one thing, Jesus fell so far short of a 'good example'. He said nothing about having love for animals. He even ate them, for Christ's sake." (Even if it was a valid point, it wasn't the best idea to pull this one out of the hat first. And to top it off with a blasphemy wasn't so savvy in the circumstances either).
SHE: (staying calm, unlike me.) "So are you a vegetarian then?"
ME: (voice rising) "Yes, and have been for fifty years!"
SHE: "Oh, I was a vegetarian for twelve years....."
ME: (starting to shout) "Well get back to it then!" (oh dear!)
SHE: "You really love animals?"
ME: (showing additional signs of frustration at this going in a direction I didn't want.) "YES!" (and then adding, just in case she was going to write me off as a rabid animal-rights terrorist-sympathiser) "And I love people too!" (Oh cringe! Was it really necessary to say that?- Then, trying to drag it back.....) "And I've read the Koran nine times - and it's the same old shit!" (My voice now quivering and getting higher-pitched.)
SHE: (her calm enviably sustained - her young companion looking on, dumbstruck) "I was wondering if I could just leave you with this leaflet......."
ME: (practically shrieking like a banshee) "NO YOU CAN'T!". (I slam door in her face).
And that was it. The whole mini-exchange probably lasted less than one minute tops, but it got my heart pounding like mad. I was, more than anything, annoyed at myself for rising to the bait, letting my blood pressure shoot up. Even after I'd got back upstairs, looking out of the window and seeing them walking to the next house, I felt an intense urge to call out to them - "And I suppose you think that the earth is less than ten thousand years old and that Adam and Eve really existed - and with the dinosaurs!" (Even now I half-regret I didn't.)
I didn't get round to knowing what denomination they were peddling, but it's a fair bet that they were J.W.s.
It would be too easy to say that I was only mad at the lady herself - even though that was indeed the case. But not so much for her pushing the Bible. It's the fact that she kept her composure while I, in that short time, completely lost it. I feel embarrassed, ashamed, even sullied by my own reaction. How much better I could have dealt with the situation if I'd also maintained my own equilibrium. But it pains me to have to concede ultimately - she was the one who'd 'won'! (Damn and blast it!!!)
But BEWARE, Mrs Bible-Lady - my dander is up! If you ever so much as dare to come round here again, I'll present such a model of self-composure, and then you'll see how I can really give you 'what for'. Just you wait! HAH!!!