Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taunting God

The church next door posts clever messages on the board out front every week or two, enticing people to come to church and strengthen their commitment to their faith. Today, the message read something like, "If you continue to use my name in vain, I will make your rush-hour commute even longer." I said out loud, laughingly, "God doesn't have the power to do that." Then I clasped my hand over my mouth and gasped a little, afraid that God had heard me doubt those powers and would decide to show me just how wrong I was.

I'm not a religious person. My belief in a higher power consists mostly of a sense of something much much larger than myself. "God" is the somewhat-tangible version of that, which I usually conjure up only when I'm feeling helpless and like to think that someone else out there has a hand in what happens in this world. It keeps me from feeling utterly alone. My rational brain says that "God" is what we make up to explain the things we otherwise can't explain, but my metaphysical brains says, "What if God really can affect even silly things like commutes? What if God can mess with us?" Since we can't know for sure, at least not in this life, I prefer not to take any chances. I'm sorry, God, for doubting you. For taking your name in vain. My rush-hour commute may be quick and easy these days, but there's plenty else in my life to mess with. Please don't. Thank you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I get one every year

If I'm lucky. I'm talking about my birthday, which is today. I've reached the age where I avoid answering the question, "How old are you now?" because I'm still incredulous that I am this age. From now on, I will answer with the age I feel, rather than the actual number of years I've been on this planet. So today, I am 26.

In any case, it's been a great birthday. Last night I went to the Morcheeba concert at the 9:30 Club with two friends. It was a good show, but I guess I'm so used to high-energy shows that a band with a more chill vibe just doesn't make the cut. They put on a great show though. In my next life, I want to be a bad-ass black woman with a fro-hawk and buff arms, like Skye.  

Today, I went to the Baltimore aquarium and had lunch at a local cafe down the street. It was a sunny, not-too-cold day - really, one can't ask for much more on a February day north of the tropics. Last year it snowed a bajillion inches and the year before, it was 70 degrees and super windy. Today's weather was pleasant, unobtrusive. What a birthday should be. And I spent it in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in the Amazon rainforest, and in Australia. Very cool. The night ended with some tasty Ethiopian food with a few friends. When they sang the happy birthday song to me in the small, crowded restaurant, the bartender turned down the traditional music/CNN playing on the speakers and instead blasted a recording of the happy birthday song. I'm sure my face was bright red. Tomorrow, I will be partying it up with some other friends in Annapolis. Every year, I swear that I will celebrate on one day only, dammit, but it still turns into a multi-day affair anyway. I'm okay with that.

The bigger news this year was Egypt's liberation following the stepping down of 30-year president Hosni Mubarak. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't follow current events in that country because I figured they were one of the more progressive Middle Eastern countries and were therefore not a cause for concern. In any case, it's wonderful to hear that the Egyptian people have been heard, and I hope that the transition to a better and freer country is peaceful. It is worrisome that other countries like Iran are clamping down on their citizens in order to prevent the same thing from happening there. In other words, don't get your hopes up about the rest of the region following Egypt's lead. This may be the relative calm before the storm.