Work this morning was decent. Decent amount of work, and payday to top it all off. A real healthy check that is now resting in my checking account. Ryan talked about the Kate situation, and I really think he’s dealing with things a lot better than I would. My observations may be foundless, since he is a bit more introverted when it comes to his emotions and might hide how he truly feels so I can’t see, but he doesn’t seem to be dwelling on bitterness. That’s good. Sure, I know he feels bitter to Kate, but I think that I’d never let that out of my mind until that bitterness turned into anger and then I went crazy and did something Bad. He discussed things with me and then Patty got into the conversation. I make it a point to not discuss anything of any importance around Patty. He might not care one way or the other if she’s in on the conversation, but Patty hearing something is the fastest way to get that something spread to every other employee and close relative of Patty. Should I have been in Ryan’s shoes, I don’t know Patty well enough to discuss these things with her anyway, let alone the dislike of her being the biggest gossip I’ve ever known.

The only funny thing that happened at work that comes to mind is, Vince came back to the kitchen and asked me and Ryan if either of us had a digital camera, I said I had one on my PDA. He told us that Tom fell asleep at the bar waiting for his check. We hustle out to snap a picture just in time to see Terra waking him up to give him his check. Eh. I deposited my check at the bank and stopped home to grab my hackey sack for Freedom Place. Katie called while I was on the way out the door. This I found strange, since I don’t think I make it a habit of stopping at home before going to church, and I think she knows that… But she talked about something that didn’t strike me as immediately important, a strange topic that she seemed rather animated about. I tried not to be dismissive, but I was a bit confused.

At Freedom Place, I played hackey sack by myself until I was recruited to play some basketball. I got stuck guarding one guy, and he didn’t seem to get aggressive in the game until I lost interest in guarding him. If I was near him, I caught him watching traffic twice, if I darted off to try and snag the ball from someone else, he was moving somewhere else ready and working. For the life of me, I cannot remember what exactly the faith focus message was about, but I do recall being interested in it, which I’m sorry to say, I’m often not.

Back home, I stopped to talk to my mom for a moment, then I called Katie near five o’clock. Here things got weird. The first part of the conversation was the usual chit-chat, what did you do today, what are you doing later, you know… Then we got on the topic of spending money on relationship outings. I’m not really sure exactly what point she was getting at, but when I insisted that I’m confident that I spend more money on our outings than her, she hung up on me. I told her I wasn’t trying to put a peg anywhere… I left the house and went to Jason’s…

Here is a pretty good paraphrase of my monologue to him went:

Now I know, as males, we’re expected to pay for darn near everything, right? And we don’t really seem to mind this… And some occasional appreciation for that is good, and I suppose expected, but what happens when the girl challenges that?

He had a question, I didn’t have an answer. Hell, I don’t even know what I said wrong. But her response to it said a lot. I played Resident Evil for about an hour, then on to New Hope. I found Chase and Josh and Jason sitting in the back of a pickup truck, so I hung out with them before the service. They were talking about how someone got a series of instant messages from someone else that seemed way out of character for the person it was supposed to be, and there was some ongoing confusion about these messages. I felt like interjecting “The facelessness of IM’s is exactly why I don’t use them anymore,” but I didn’t. My problems, my stories, my worries, my concerns, maybe they haven’t heard them before, but I have, way too many times.

Hillary, I didn’t see, so I found the Dunlap twins, and sat behind them. They were pleasant to me, which was a pleasantry I don’t think I could thank them for without seeming strange. No demands, no requests, just accommodate me and smile and tolerate my silent presence. Peace. Music starts, lights go down, Adam speaks, his wife Jen speaks of her deliverance from secular music, Nehemiah speaks of his deliverance from the music industry, Adam shepherds us out with armloads of CDs and t-shirts and board games and LPs and DVDs and CDs and CDs and CDs to the back field. There is a trench dug and a fire already started. Organized around the pit, chomping at the bit, the New Hope congregation. At his word, in were tossed an estimated ten thousand CDs. Fire blazed, smoke rolled, the congregation stepped back from the heat. All except one boy, who stood, not born with the same understanding of the destructive forces in this universe as the rest of humanity. The fire didn’t hurt him. The heat didn’t hurt him. The toxic smoke did. His intestines contracted and caused him increased pain, even more than he had felt from whatever food poisoning had been plaguing him for two days. Later, he’d sit at Tee Jays by himself, stood up by his New Hope friends. After a Rueben sandwich, hash browns, orange juice, and a thankful heart for the time alone, he went home.

At home, no e-mails, no messages, but that silence seemed to speak just as loud as words words. Funny… I don’t even know what the problem is. I’m going to smile… and go to bed. Good night you silly, bizarre, completely ununderstandable world.