My second day of being thirty-five years old! I feel like such a badass now. I think my voice has even dropped an octave! MAYBE I WILL FINALLY HAVE CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF A WOMAN.

I am of course kidding. Like I'm ever going to score, right?

I think I feel so good about 35 (so far) because I've never been cool, and now there's just no way in hell anyone's going to expect me to be cool. Why, it seems like a short time ago I was listening to the "alternative" radio station and feeling inadequate because I had no idea who the Buttmunches were. Now I don't have to care! I got other fish to fry, kid, but you go ahead and enjoy the hell out of your new CD, and I sincerely wish you the best of luck attracting the girls while dressed in those falling-down cargo pants with one leg rolled up. 'Cause I know when you're my age, sixteen-year-olds will be wearing stuff that makes you gag.

Sunday before last I went to services at First Baptist here in Mira Mesa, and today I decided to pay the Catholics a visit at Good Shepherd down the street. Now, when I went to First Baptist, I was greeted warmly at the door, and as a result of my filling out a visitor's card, received an unexpected visit to my apartment (yikes!) from a nice elderly couple bearing pamphlets, a card in the mail from the choir director, a voice mail from the pastor, a copy of their newsletter, and another call from the pastor asking if he could come by with pamphlets (thank you, got all the pamphlets I need from the first team!). As unnerving as this was, it is stereotypical Southern Baptist behavior; they really, really want you to make their church your church. What did I find at Good Shepherd? Yes! Stereotypical Catholic behavior! YAY! (And I mean this in as nice a way as possible. They're all good folks, at both places, and there are plenty of ways the Episcopal churches I've gone to have lived up to their reputation of being a "country club with a cross on top". But it's still kinda funny.)

In contrast to the extremely hearty welcome I got at First Baptist, nobody at Good Shepherd took the slightest bit of notice of me except when the liturgy required it (passing the Peace, holding hands for the Lord's Prayer). Visitor's card? What visitor's card? I think the assumption is that if you're there you are probably Catholic so you're pretty much all attending the same Church anyway. If you're not Catholic, well, once you come to your senses and decide to join, the phone number of the parish office is in the bulletin.

Though I'd braced myself for it, the natural absence of the Protestant hymns I'm used to threw me off a bit. As did the absence of a hymnal, until I realized that the big black book in the pew -- the one without a title -- had on its newsprint pages both the order of service for the Mass and the hymns. Which I sang, trying to put some enthusiasm in it but faltering a bit when I realized that I seemed to be one of maybe twenty people outside the choir who was singing at all. I felt like such a geek. The liturgy itself was almost identical to that in the Book of Common Prayer, with some minor differences in wording and a couple of delightful MAJOR differences in wording. ("This is Jesus Christ," the priest said, holding up the wafer, whereas during the Eucharist in an Episcopal church it's made quietly but firmly clear that this is NOT Jesus, it is a piece of BREAD. I love a good doctrinal dispute.)

Since the prevailing sentiment seemed to encourage leaving other people alone, I didn't have the nerve to ask anyone why one group of worshipers was sitting in a separate room behind a large window. (Plus, I would have been tempted to ask, "Have they been bad?". That sort of levity might not have been appreciated coming from a guest.) I think they were getting a translation into Spanish.

NOTE: SEF says, "The folks behind the glass had crying babies, Quiz. Did you really want them in the same room with you???" I saw no babies, but this makes wonderful sense. I've never seen such a thing before. THANK YOU SEF.

I'm glad I visited this church and the Southern Baptist church one after the other; it helps me to get clearer on what I'm looking for. The Baptists have such obvious zeal and joy, the Catholics have the liturgy and ritual and a sense of tradition. I'm often discouraged lately over where the Episcopal church as a whole is heading, but for me, at its best it still combines the best parts of what I've seen over the last two Sundays.

Visiting other churches that are very different from what you're used to is, I think, a very good thing. But it'll be nice when I find a home again.

Yesterday Angela gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble, enough for one CD. That of course meant I spent at least an hour and a half today deciding what one CD to buy. I had it narrowed down to three choices:

  • I, Jonathan by Jonathan Richman
  • VH-1 Behind the Music: Go-Gos Collection
  • Rocket to Russia by The Ramones
  • This was extraordinarly difficult. The Go-Gos are perfect summer listening, and I'm dying to hear more Jonathan Richman than just the Modern Lovers album I own and cherish. In the end I went for the Ramones though, because not owning Rocket to Russia anymore, as I haven't for years since the time I had to sell my vinyl for rent money, was like missing a piece of my soul. Now I am whole again. LOBOTOMY!