I have already mentioned the various means and ways Sr. Loco has invaded my life. Yet, there was always one aspect of my identity that I believed to be perfectly safe, my religion. I felt confident that once a week for three hours, I could be Sr. Loco free. Not only that, church was my world outside the lab, a place that I could go and not talk or think shop. I could laugh at my naivety, but previous experience has taught me that I am lucky if I find acceptance versus downright antagonism and prejudice when it regards Mormonism. At no point has any one shown an extensive and enduring interest. Hence, I thought this unique part of my identity secure.
It all started in a moment of weakness. It was Memorial Day weekend and my ward was celebrating with a picnic. I off-handedly invited Sr. Loco. Given that there was free food, I shouldn’t have been surprised by his acceptance. I underestimated the lure and addictiveness of kind faces and friendly interest to a person starved for affection and attention like Sr. Loco.
A kindly soul gave him a free video depicting the events in the Book of Mormon which Sr. Loco watched later that week. At the end of the video was an offer of a free bible. Sr. Loco called the number and before you could blink the missionaries were at the door. (FYI if you call a number for a free anything, they will never just send you the material in the mail. They will have it personally delivered by two missionaries. Tricky, but as you can see, it gets results.) Sr. Loco and the missionaries started meeting on a regular basis. I didn’t think it would last. I felt sure that when they mentioned the “B” word Sr. Loco would run, but no dice. It seems as though he is quite serious.
I know, I know. I am coming off as mean, heartless person. I should be ecstatic that Sr. Loco has discovered something that has given me great joy in my life. However, I am not sure that Sr. Loco is so enamored with the doctrine of the church as he is the people and the community of the church. He is a man starved acceptance and friendship. Currently, he gets a lot of attention from the congregation. People are open and welcoming; they invite him to dinner. But when that fades? When he moves to another area and people don’t know his history? Those are the moments that test one’s commitment. It must be strong and genuine.
And yes, it is personal. Every week I have field such questions as “what time are you going to church?” “Do you want to ride together?” “Do you want to sit together?”
My three hours of sanctuary are no longer, and I am made to look like a heel because I want nothing to do with him for those three hours. But I ask you, is it so wrong to want to avoid your stalker?
And I have to endure endless conversations such as these:
Sr. Loco: Bro. and Sister invited me to their house for dinner. Have you ever been to their house?
Sr. Loco: Everyone knows my name and then they are like, “and you live with what’s-her-face don’t you?” Don’t worry, I tell people your name and what you do, because they don’t seem to know that either.
Sr. Loco: Do you know so and so? He has a wife named ----, and two daughters?
(What?! He has been going to church for a month now versus my entire year and he is telling me who people are? I think I would know better than you, punk!)
There are very good reasons why people know his name and the multiple dinner offers. I was a missionary, and I know the process. As it is, it is very good that he feels incorporated into the congregation. If he didn’t say these things with such smugness and patronism, perhaps I could feel happy for him. As it is, I have to refrain myself from verbally beating him to a soggy little pulp.
And to be honest, what he says stings. I have been here a year and have received a total of two dinner offers. I am afterall a young, single female away from any family and friends. You would think that would buy me some pity offers. It also hurts me to know that people might not know who I am. Yet I also have to remind myself that this is Sr. Loco talking. He lives in an alternate universe and everything thing he relates is warped from that alternate perspective. I have too much experience to believe carte blanch what he says.
So yeah, the parasitism continues. Soon, I will be nothing more than a dried up husk--everything special and unique about myself absorbed by Sr. Parasite himself.