Thursday, February 5, 2009

excuse me, Sister

They're trying to close down my high school. Enrollment at Our Lady of Nazareth Academy is down. Apparently, being a "Catholic school girl" has gone out of style since Britney got knocked up and went crazy.

The school is costing nuns money. That is never good. 

The news of the school's demise was surprisingly upsetting. I haven't been back to Nazareth in years, but the sudden thought of it no longer existing was like a stab to my bitter little heart. It's like hearing that your best friend from 4th grade is dead . . . or in a coma. Why didn't I try harder to stay in touch? How did all this time slip away? And, in this case, Why did I just toss out all those Alumni Newsletters asking for money? 

I am proud of my former classmates, though. Upon hearing about the immenent death of our alma mater, alumni have come out of the woodwork in droves. There was a big meeting last night to rally the troops and save the school -- Naz won't go down without a fight! 

And that is why today, I wrote a letter to a nun. 

Even at the height of my Catholic-schoolgirl glory, I was not too familiar with nuns. All of our teachers were regular people with spouses and kids . . . a couple were even dudes. I was a little uncomfortable penning my plea. Would the Sisters be sticklers for grammar? Would they ignore my message if I sent it from my gmail account? Do nuns really know how to access email? 

I decided to take an ass-kissing approach. This was not the time to point fingers and play the blame game. I suspect nuns are too wily to be manipulated by a "You're selling the time capsule of my young adulthood!!" guilt trip. I waxed poetic about how Nazareth Academy teaches their girls to lead a life of leadership and service (direct quote from the school's Mission Statement) . . . blah, blah . . . sisterhood . . . blah, blah . . . save our school . . . . blah, blah . . . Jesus is awesome . . . etc". 

And suddenly . . . I felt like a total asshole. Was there a time when I believed all the things I was telling this nun? Did I ever live a life devoted to "leadership and service"?  Do I even know what the eff that actually means? 

Lying to nuns . . . that can't be good. Shit, shit, shit. This month of karma boosting is already a train-wreck and we're not even a week in!

On my way home tonight, I was struck with a  sudden need to rack up some quick Good Deed Points.  Along the T concourse, I spotted Guitar Playing Man Who Is Actually Kinda Good. Normally, I breeze right by him with my ipod cranked. But tonight . . . tonight, I'm trying to save my high school. My high school that supposedly made me a kind and loving person . . . 

I barely even stopped to put the money in his case -- I just kinda stooped and dropped a dollar in while still walking. I don't even think Guitar Man saw me do it. Did anyone else notice? Did Jesus? He better have . . . I was gonna use that dollar to buy a Diet Coke at lunch tomorrow. 

Now here's the part where I love karma. When the train finally pulled into Lechmere, there was the usual mad-dash for the door . . . business men stomping on babies, blind people and crazy people scratching and biting their way off the train. Still riding my "good deed high", I decided to hang back and give my fellow passengers the right of way. And then . . . something happened that has never happened to me on the T before. 

This old, knarly looking rasta man suddenly jumps back, holds his arm out, and says, "No, no! Ladies first! The ladies, they always gotta go first!" 

He was probably hoping to cop a feel of my ass or something, I realize now. But in that moment, when a random stranger suddenly singled me out as a worthy target of his kindness . . . I smiled. A genuine smile. This is what humanity is supposed to do -- look out for each other, watch each other's back. Pass on a spare dollar, make sure everyone makes it down the stairs. 

Just when you think your school days are over . . . life teaches you shit. 

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