- "...are you kidding? President Bush..."
- "...the Pope told John Kerry he couldn't..."
- "...Jesus died for us so that we..."
...but not enough to fully satisfy my voyeuristic tendancies. I needed more but I was hesitant to leave my chair. It was really comfortable after all.
Fortuantely for me they moved from their table and settled on the couch directly across from me. As they sat down the louder one politely asked, "Do you mind if we sit here and talk?"
"Not at all" I said, "but don't be surprised if I join your conversation."
I was feeling bold.
Sensing a potential ally the loud one invited me in, "By all means join us. Are you a Republican or a Democrat?"
"That's kind of a personal question when you don't even know my name" I replied.
Backpeddaling, the loud one explained, "I only asked because if you're a Democrat I want you on my side and if you're a Republican she'd want you on her side."
It was at that point I realized that these were not two like-minded souls mulling over the sad/joyous state of affairs. Rather they were polar opposites engaged in the most polite, and yet pointless debate in human history. They screamed stereotype. The loud one (Democrat) was vivacious with big bushy dark hair tousled in a devil-may-care attitude that I'm sure took her hours to perfect. She threw herself on the couch with arms and legs askew, confident in her own self-assuredness. The quite one (Republican) appeared very proper, she wore a modest ski sweater, turtleneck and had impecable posture. And her hair was perfect.
In fact they came across not as mere opposites but characatures, grossly exaggerated for the benefit of the viewing public (Me) so that there would be no confusion as to where they stood. I half expected Jim Lehrer or Charlie Gibson to jump in with a question from the audience or to notify them that their time had expired. These two were polished, determined, and not about to listen to, let alone be swayed by, the other's arguements.
Here is a sample of their exchange.
On The Bible
R: "I have been truly studying the bible for three years, right now I'm reading the Songs of Solomon. What is your favorite book?"
D: "I've read pieces here and there so I've probably read the whole thing by now but I don't have a favorite book. Besides There are so many flaws in the Bible and so many other sacred texts that I don't feel the need to be limited by just one."
R: "I was raised in a Catholic family but we didn't go to church a lot. Then, three years ago I was born again and my life was changed. Now I live every day for the glory of God and I strive to live his Word. I go to church regularly and I'm in a study group as well. Next month we are going on a mission to Africa."
D: "I've been in therapy for years."
R: "God is loving, righteous and just. He wants the best for us and only asks that we worship him by living his commandments."
D: "I think your God need lots of therapy."
R: "I won't tell him you said that."
On Spiritual Education
R: "My bible study group meets once a week. I also spend time discussing my faith with my husband and I meet regularly with our pastor."
D: "Have you read The DaVinci Code? It is the most enlightening book ever and it reveals all of the secrets the church has kept hidden in order to oppress women. I'll borrow (sic) it to you along with four other supporting books."
On Seeking Support
R: "You should meet our Women's Pastor, you would really like her."
D: "Why do you need a Women's Pastor? Can't you talk to a man?"
R: "I really appreciate having a Women's Pastor at my church. I wouldn't feel comfortable telling Pastor Bill that I am having trouble climaxing, for example." (I resisted the temptation to tell her that I could help her with that problem.)
D: "Don't you understand that the institutional sexism in our society is telling you that you shouldn't feel comfortable talking to men."
It was perhaps the most entertaining 30 minutes of my week.