Whoa, full house today. Should have gotten to church earlier. I didn’t realize it was going to be so packed. And we would have been here on time if our kids weren’t employing the “Mydo” approach to all articles of clothing and demanding that I don’t help them get ready. Shirt? Mydo! And the head goes through the arm hole. Pants? Mydo! And both legs somehow get crammed into the same side of the pants. Shoes? Mydo! And they go on the wrong feet with the pinky toe poking outside of the boundary of the sandals.
But we’re here now at church and that’s all that matters. Hey, there are some seats in the middle of this row, I’ll just get the guy on the end to scoot in. I’ll just stand here next to him until he looks up and then I’ll ask him to scoot. I’m standing 6 inches away from him, he’s going to look up any second now.
I know you can see me guy. I’m not in your periphery vision right now, I am your periphery vision. I’m that close. Stop pretending I’m not here. I can’t believe this guy, he’s acting like I’m trying to cut in front of him in traffic and he’s giving me the blank stare ahead.
Maybe he won’t scoot, maybe he’s anti-scoot. I accept that, I do. He got here early, he staked out an aisle seat, he’s probably going to sprint out of here to some sort of buffet that has multiple forms of fried chicken. I can respect that. I can, but if you hate scooting, at least pay me the Christian courtesy of rotating your legs fifteen degrees so that I can walk by you to my seat.
Maybe the problem is that this guy doesn’t read Stuff Christians Like. Maybe that’s the real issue here, because if you did, kind sir, you would know the three rules of sitting at the end of the aisle …
1. Don’t act surprised.
Don’t sit on the end of an aisle, 30 minutes before church starts and act shocked and frustrated when you have to let people slide by you. That’s the cost of sitting on the end of the aisle. It’s like Uncle Ben said in Spider Man, “With great power comes, great responsibility.” How do you think I feel? Like Brad Pitt pondered in Fight Club, I have to decide whether to awkwardly slide by with my butt out or my lap region out. That’s a lose-lose for both of us.
2. Don’t construct a pew obstacle course.
OK, you brought a coffee with you to church? I’m cool with that, but don’t put it right in the aisle. Don’t put your keys down by your feet and a pen your grandfather carved out of hickory from the tree that killed your dog “Shep” and your Bible and pocket mints and a whole host of other things I’ll have to navigate my way through. I can do it, I can juke with the best of them. I’m like the Barry Sanders of pew nimbleness, but I’d rather not show boat in the sanctuary.
3. Don’t plot a revenge.
You’re grumpy that I awkwardly scooted by you. I get that, but don’t try to get back at me by bottlenecking the entire row when the service is over. Oh, didn’t think I was familiar with that move? I am. I am. Once they pray and release us at the end of the service you sit in quiet contemplation or slowly gather your things, while the rest of the row waits trapped for you to move so we can all go home. Don’t make all of these innocent row participants suffer just because you and I are locked in a mortal combat for pew domination.
Those are the three rules, but you know what trumps them all? The “wife elbow.” And it looks like you just got one in the ribs. That elbow has about three paragraphs of words and admonition wrapped into it. That is a powerful elbow. And now you’re letting me go by.
See you next Sunday. I’m not saying I’ll sleep in my car in the parking lot just to beat you to church so that I can sit on the end of the aisle, but I’m not saying I won’t either.
Has this ever happened to you?