"Well aren't you just a big boy!"
I'd just rang the door bell of the rather palatial corner lot's brick coated home a few seconds previous when I heard an elderly voice sounding rather enigmatic and enthusiastic, about what I had no idea, from the other side of the large front door I was waiting patiently in front of. A few more moments pass and a rather stout woman, probably in her mid 60's judging by her short cropped silver hair and slowly sagging face, answered the door with a smile. She had a packet of catnip in one hand, so I immediately figured out the white and tan cat behind her was probably the "big boy" she was talking about.
Just another certified letter to get signed, so I quickly smiled, introduced myself with the letter service I work for, and asked if she could sign for it. Seeing who it was from, she was all excited, shakily signing the small two boxes on the green form, mentioning how she had three properties she was renting out and this letter was from her lawyers with a contract for a new rental she'd just purchased. I really didn't need to know all that, but you know how it is when you see someone signing for a certified letter. People tend to think negatively on them, usually thinking it must be to do with a bank filing for repossession. I wondered that myself since the place constantly looked in disrepair along the front walk, and it was nearly impossible to make it through the overgrown flower beds to the front door that morning. It was kind of nice to hear such a good bit of news found its way to her door.
I just gave her a happy smile at the news, and as I was giving her back the envelope after having taken off my own green post carded receipt, she stumbled out, "You know, my neighbors told me yesterday it was a shame the Mexican hasn't died yet."
I looked at her blankly, completely not following her statement, but I noticed her hands were still shaking, and looking at her face, I noticed an excitability in her eyes and a tinge of perturbed emotion in her speech I hadn't picked up on when she was explaining about the letter. Seeing my confusion, she quickly shut her door so her "big boy" wouldn't escape the entrance way of what appeared to be a very lovely kept home indoors.
"See, this place is too difficult for me to take care of my husband in. He has dementia, you know." Immediately my heart melted, making me reminisce of the final days of my grandmother's life on this earth. I was awash with pity, and not thinking, I gently patted her upper shoulder, giving her an understanding nod. It isn't an easy thing to see anyone, loved one or stranger, suffer from the disease. To live with that person and take care of them? A hero in my book for all the physical demand to care for the patient, and the emotional toll is unfathomable.
She picked up on my concern and continued, her story even worse,"Yes, he's been like this for five years now. He had a stroke five years ago to the day our only son died a year before. Followed by a heart attack a few months later, and now his mental state is just....gone." Her voice cracked, she was looking straight ahead as she spoke, and I know she was reliving those moments as she spoke to me about them. Her jaw was tight, but she kept trying to paste a smile on, saying,"I feel like I've just been bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball ever since. So I hope our move will help out, and get us away from that horrible neighbor who called my husband a Mexican."
I could see she really needed to vent. To have something as simple as a rental contract set off so much emotional out pouring, I didn't move an inch. I could just feel she wasn't ready for me to leave, so I figured I would use my ten minutes of allowed "comfort time" and try to let this woman get it all off her chest, even if it only gave her a day's relief. And she did keep on, and I kept meeting her face, and consoling, wondering how on earth she could be this lonely with a high demand husband, rental properties to keep track of, and apparently, atrocious neighbors.
"You know, my husband fought for their right to judge him by his skin tone. He is not a Mexican. He served in the Navy and fought for their freedom." Her voice was shaking in muted fury, and I agreed with her, "That's right. He's human. He's another human being who deserves respect from his fellow peers." Shaking her head vigorously with my own assessment, she went on,"Exactly. He is Filipino in heritage, but he was born here. He deserves better than that, but those folks next door are those...oh..."
"Yes, THOSE types. You know, they park their horrible looking pick up truck right there by our mailbox down there?" Seeing my recognition, she gave a wry smile, saying, "Yes. That is not our truck, but they park it in front of our mailbox. It took us getting the lock box kind of mailbox for them to quit taking our mail and throwing it around the street. You won't believe how many times I've complained to the local authorities, but they are with that Tommy Bates ministry. You know, the Pentecostal church that is on TBN? They have friends locally in the police department so we can't seem to get it towed no matter how many times we complain. And we're Catholic, so of course they call us cult members and put animal bones and the like in our box!"
Now, I can verify that her last accusation is true. I've seen some pretty disgusting things in that mail box. Rotted garbage. Empty beer cans. It goes on and on. I assumed it was just kids in the neighborhood, they have a tendency to do things like that. Knowing now where the source of it came from, and the ministry associated to the perpetrators, I could see why she wanted to move.
Tommy Bates ministry is huge where I live in Independence, KY. (For mod purposes, please don't worry about my giving away the city near my home). They are a global ministry now, and have made many appearances on the likes of TBN, publish a periodical called The Kentucky Voice (I deliver shit loads of them out here), and visits churches everywhere. He's a revivalist at his core, an apocalyptic sadist dreaming of his Heavenly wedding, and if you take the time to peruse his website, just use his name and add a .com after it, you will find a rather lengthy bio dedicated to him. It's waist high in narcissism, and ridiculous. Well, needless to say his ministry is very much saturated in the communities around here, and his fan club isn't exactly high society and non prejudicial people. If you browse through the publications they send out, you'll notice the only diversity you see would be in the business ads.
I didn't ask her what set off the feud, because I really cannot imagine anyone doing something so heinous as to deserve her husband being referred to as an illegal immigrant, and having atrocious refuse stuck in her mailbox on a regular basis. To see the hill billy truck (yeah, it's a junker), parked out in front of your home everyday as a reminder? Wow, the mental toll is huge on this woman, and here I am, first time ever meeting her in the six months I have been delivering her letters, and she pours it all out on my shoulder.
Well, I recommended she contact my boss about her mailbox being stuffed with nastiness. That is a FEDERAL offense, by the way, and I told her I would make mention of how this truck is always in the way of her box so that I am always having to pull over and walk her mail. Maybe there is something my office can do about it all, who knows. I could tell she felt better though receiving affirmation about her feelings, and I didn't offer her any shallow solace. No comments like, "Hang in there, it'll get better." Or my personal favorite, "This won't last forever. (What a horrible thing to say considering her own situation!)"
No, I just gave her a promise I would see if there was anything our office could do, and parted with,"Make the most of each day, and make sure your cat has a good time rolling in the nip." She laughed and smiled finally. Her cat is probably the only thing keeping her from being completely lost right now. But walking back through the overgrown lilacs and iris blooms across her walk, I really felt a pissed off attitude at the fact she had so little emotional support. And as I brooded for another good hour or so of my driving my delivery route, it occurred to me that there probably wasn't any true emotional support available within her religious scope anyway.
Would she even realize that there is more to emotional empathy than empty platitudes and divinely inspired suffering?
Which pissed me off even more.
She probably didn't even realize she was needing that little vent session, trying to amble by each day with the encouraging words of support from her local church's clergymen while bottling up her disbelief at her situation. Her mindset would tell her it was selfish of her to seek relief, and during the entire conversation, she didn't hint that she wished it would end, or that sometimes she just wants to give up. And that's because she isn't allowed to. I've yet to meet a Catholic who didn't find some reverence in the sacrifice of oneself for others. Not a one who didn't idolize the smallest of persecutions as proof of their stalwart faith. And it isn't just the Catholics who maintain this selfishly motivated suffering to get their pat on the back. No, every single branch of Judaism behaves this way. There is always a selfish satisfaction at the bottom of such desires, and I grow weary of such useless performances, especially by ones who are unwittingly performing them.
Christianity, and religion in general, requires one to be completely dishonest with themselves. Belief structures such as these encourage people to hide what they are feeling and kick a few delusional rationales over top of it all in order to be able to swallow down the vile angst that they are trained to suppress. It is sinful to acknowledge you hate someone or to be honest and wish that your loved one's tortured spirit needs to die and find some kind of peace. Even thought here is nothing wrong with having these feelings or acknowledging them, the suppressive brainwashing continues in teachings, and as examples between members.
How do they not figure out it is a natural part of the processes of life. You cannot FEEL wrong. You can PERCEIVE things incorrectly, but how you feel is how you feel, regardless of how you were taught to express them. God has said many things that are far worse than anything the entire planet could come up with as a whole, if you believe in that sort of thing.
I am glad I offered a tender touch and listening ear, it was well worth it. I know a good ten minute rant can help people clear their minds and move on with their day, and I genuinely hope she accomplished that and had a good twenty minute romp around the house sprinkling psychedelic cat weed for her "big boy". But at the same time, I know it was ultimately a wasted effort, or worse, she will go cascading into self hate and guilt for judging her neighbors who have treated her so atrociously. I'm sure her bishop can point out Saint So-and-So to give her a good lesson on turning the other cheek and not harbor any emotion of being wronged.