Monday, December 10, 2007

31 'til You Die

Note: This has somehow turned into a Mormon-y post and I was thinking back and can't remember ever writing about Mormon issues specifically. And this got me worried. What if people are reading this blog and thinking, Hey, how come Rachel never writes about churchy issues? I bet she hates the church. I don't hate the church!!! I love the church! I don't know why things haven't come up before! Let's all be friends! So here you go. A Mormon-y post, just for you.

I went to a Single Adult activity on Saturday (for you 3 people who read this blog and don't know about the fun practices of the Mormons, there are two groups of single folk in the church, the Young Single Adults who are 18-30 and the Single Adults who are 31 'til you DIE. Which puts me in the same dating pool as my grandpa. Sigh.) It was never my intention to go to a S.A. activity until I was 50 and had more cats than friends. Which is to say that I have hope that I'll be married before I'm 50 and can avoid both the cats and the singles. But a friend of mine asked me to help out with the food and while I can say no to an invitation to attend, I can't say no to an invitation to help out. Because I'm a sucker. (Note to self: In the future avoid this friend like the plague! Possibly use the plague as an excuse.) So there we were. Me, Allison and Bryce (lovely friends my age whom I suckered into bringing food. Thanks pals! I owe you.) eating crepes with a bunch of widows and divorcees, all of them over 50.

I would like to point out that I don't ever feel sad or pathetic for being single. I know that a lot of people do. That a lot of people struggle with this sort of thing. I am not one of these people. I would love to meet a nice fella and get married and have wee little children who will color with me and can enjoy my very extensive children's book collection but I'm not crying myself to sleep over it.

But I have to say that the single adult program sort of makes me feel pathetic. If only because it feels like we're being patted on the head for not being married. "Here you go Singles. Here are some other Singles for you to play with. Don't you feel better now?" The whole intention of the single adult program I guess is to make us feel like we have a place to go where there are people who are like us. Like the Twilight Zone episode where that pretty lady has face surgery so she can look like the rest of the pig people she lives amongst, except that it doesn't work and they shipped her off to live with the rest of the pretty people. Only, you may remember, she didn't want to leave the pig people. THOSE were her people. Even though she didn't look like them she still belonged with them and didn't want to go with the foxy gentleman who came for her.

So I'm not married, which makes me different than 90% of the adults in my ward. But that doesn't mean that I don't belong with them. They're still my people! I love my ward. And it loves me. I have friends in my ward. Married friends. With actual spouses and children. And I belong to the Relief Society. I'm already a member of a group. I guess I don't see the need for another group. Especially when it's just the single people who have it. The church won't ever put on a special Christmas brunch just for young married mothers. Or for retired grandpas. And by contrast, I went to my ward's Christmas party that night and I felt way more comfortable there then I did with the 80 year old widowers.

And I know what you're saying, "Um, Rachel, how many times have you told us you're 80?" True. I am. And I actually do like chatting with the elderly, single or not. We can talk about knitting and PBS and our bad knees. It's not the people, you see. It's the program. I don't like that I've been corralled with a group of people simply because none of us are married. Mostly because that's exactly what it feels like. Corralled. Like we've all been wrangled into coming, especially considering how many phone calls I get asking me to come to the activities. How effective is the program if people have to be begged, or suckered in my case, into participation?

The night before the brunch I was talking to Allison and my roommate, who has admitted that she sometimes does feel pathetic that she's single, and who made a good point. It may not be for me, the singles program, but it may be exactly what other people need. Which is true. There were a couple of people there who seemed to be living it up. So, it's meeting the needs of some people. Which, once I got there, helped me to feel less pathetic. There I was, chopping ham, telling myself that the whole point of saying yes to this was because they needed my help. That's why I say yes to playing the piano and organ so often, even though I'm not very good at it or enjoy it very much. I say yes because I can and they need me. So the next time they ask for my help, I will say yes. But that doesn't mean I have to feel good about it.

The whole point of this post was to tell you that at the brunch a woman went into diabetic shock and they had to call the paramedics. And to confess that I probably won't make it into heaven, even with all of the ham chopping and organ playing, because while they were wheeling her away my thought was, "This is EXACTLY what I expected at a 31 'til you die activity. The paramedics."


Chris said...

I loved that Twilight Zone episode. I wonder when they're going to have another Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci Fi Channel.

Gina said...

Why didn't you invite Grandpa to the activity? That could have added a whole other dimension.

Liz the Poet said...

Oh, Rachel, I was hoping you would post on this!

Parametics were called? Wow, I missed out!

(And I still think you're going to heaven for your ham chopping, et. al.)

Andrea said...

I think you should send this in to be the next singles article in the Ensign. I wish I could tell stories as well as you!

PS - check the comment I left on my blog. I have more ideas for your stockings, although none will ever be better than the Hoff!

Valerie said...

Just for the record, I happen to know for a fact that you do hate the church.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, this kind of reminded me of playgroup a little. We all get together to socialize because we all have little kids. And honestly, even though I have a little kid, and am a youngish married mom, I didn't fit in at all. I like to talk about things like books and good movies and what's happening in reality TV, and all they could talk about was breast feeding. Really. I feel like I fit in much better with some of the older ladies that have teenagers. Go figure.

The UnMighty said...

Great post. Just the right amount of "Mormon-y" in it.

Ms. Liz said...

Amen sistah -
And I'm with Andrea on the submission to the Ensign.

The second they say "now we don't consider you secondary citizens" we automatically are. Its a lame self fulfilling prophecy.

Were the Paramedics cute though? They young spry ones are always the EMTs.