December 21, 2009
I'm not a singer by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason, probably because of the holidays, I've got choirs on the mind. We've been listening to a lot of Mormon Tabernacle Choir lately, or MoTab, as my people like to call it--kind of like JayZ, but a lot more wholesome.
Last night, as Jared and I were hucking dirty laundry at each other, saying things like, "Get your skanky underoos off my side of the bed!" he suddenly changed the subject and said, "I bet your church had an awesome choir when you were growing up."
That's when I froze, dropped the underpants on the hardwood, and said, "I'm sorry, but we can't stay married for another moment, Jared. You know nothing about my childhood. It's like I'm sleeping with a stranger."
In other words, St. Brigid's choir was horrendous.
Actually, it was beyond horrendous.
Every single Sunday, I'd quietly pray for a miracle. More specifically, I'd pray that Jesus would show his face to the choir and say, "Please, my brothers and sisters, please stop singing. Sing no more. I command ye to stoppeth your singing. Fill your mouths with these loaves and fishes so that ye may stoppest your voices."
And when that never worked, I prayed for an invisible walkman.
And when that never worked, I thought about bagels.
See, my church was tricky. It had a huge vaulted ceiling, dark wood, red carpets, super intricate stained-glass. There were fancy statues, and a beautiful, booming organ. All signs pointed to a heavenly chorus of voices--and all signs were horribly, terribly misleading. If there had been a literal sign, it should have been a big, yellow arrow, pointed straight up to choir loft saying, "CAUTION: VERY ELDERLY PEOPLE ARE SINGING UP THERE, AND THEY'RE DOING IT WITH GUSTO."
I still remember one Christmas Eve service in particular--I must have been nine or ten years old. The choir was belting out their rendition of Oh, Holy Night, and I was squirming around in the pew, trying to will my ear canals to collapse shut.
Finally, when I couldn't handle it for another second, I leaned my head into my mom's ear and whispered, "Mom, it's like I'm chewing on a tin-foil ball."
And she was like, "Amy! Shhhhh! That's rude!"
So I turned to my father and said, "Hey Dad, remember that time you made me lick that 9-volt battery?"
"It feels like it's still on my tongue."
He nodded again and said, "I hear ya, Squirt."
These days, we live far away from St. Brigid Church, and have settled on a street with moderate-to-severe drainage issues. It's funny, but every time my neighbor's cat gets lodged in the underground drainage pipe, its hissing and screaming brings me right back to my childhood days, and I just can't help but look up at the sky and say, "Really? You could part the Red Sea but you couldn't give a girl an invisible walkman?"
Some things will always be a mystery...