Image source: betanews.com
Our contempory culture is in the midst of a growing sociological divide. New walls go up every day, it seems, not so much between classes, as between values and belief systems. The best way to tear down walls, according to Mother Teresa, is to “start with the person nearest you.” And the best way to do that is to risk actually getting to know them.
Chris watches as 12:00 appear on his computer monitor. “Yes!” He jumps up, rips a microwave meal from his backpack, and reads the instructions aloud: “’Obsessive Compulsive Gourmet. Remove from box, poke holes at 1/4 inch intervals in counter-clockwise pattern. Microwave for 143 seconds, remove plastic, stir vigorously for 5.3 seconds, then replace plastic in exactly the same position it occupied before…’ “Jeez!” he shouts, then looks up. “Sorry, God. Does that count as cussing?”
Heather in the next cubicle snorts, “Um, no.”
“Hey, Heather,” Chris nods to the wall.
“Hey, Chris,” the wall replies. Heather’s head floats into view over the top. “Hey, is that Obsessive-Compulsive Gourmet? Those are great! I’ve got Grungy Man Beastloaf. Wanna swap?”
Chris takes the package from her and reads the directions: “’Heat until package disintegrates. Eat whatever remains.’ Cool. I’ll swap.”
Heather fishes, “So, Chris, it’s Friday and I’m having a few humans over for a, you know, little sock-hop. It’s pretty great. We get totally insane. You’ve never been over, so I thought you might wanna—”
Chris panics. Flashing back on his beer-pong days, he mutters, “Oh, uh, well, I mean, hmmm…” His eyes glaze over as he imagines Heather’s “little sock hop”: The golden calf orgy scene from C. B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. In Cinemascope.
“Chris? Chris?” Heather’s voice snaps him out of it.
“Oh, hey, that reminds me,” Chris replies, “We’re having Fellowship Night at my place on Wednesday. It’s a lot of fun. We study the Bible and, you know, get kind of crazy. Want to come?”
Heather panics. “Oh, uh, well, I mean, hmmm…” She envisions Chris’s “Fellowship Night”: the monks from Monty Python and the Holy Grail chanting while hitting themselves in the faces with boards. In SpamScope.
“Oh, hey, sorry, Chris,” Heather says to her skittishly hopeful fellow-cubicle-ee.
“So…?” they ask in nervous unison.
“Um, sure, I’ll come,” they reply in sync.
“You will?” they say in unison. “Great!”
They chuckle nervously. In unison.
“Holy crap…” Heather mutters to herself.
“Holy Spirit…” Chris mutters to himself.
“What have I gotten myself into?” they say…