Thursday, October 25, 2007

Of Course, I Was In New York - Part 1

Image stolen from Piskie.

On Tuesday, I set out from my hotel around 3:00 PM, headed for General Theological Seminary. I left early because my subway trip to the Bronx on Sunday was full of tribulation, which made me very late for the service at St. James, where Tobias Haller is the vicar. I got to where I was supposed to go with the help of a nice woman on the subway.

When I got off the subway on Eighth Ave., I had to ask which way was Ninth Ave. and which way was downtown,where I was going. I have no sense of direction. Something is missing in my brain, something that others seem to have that I am lacking. It seems to be genetic, since my two sisters had the same problem. Once I knew the direction of downtown and Ninth Ave., I was good to go, and found my way there easily.

Once on the seminary grounds, I asked directions, but reached several doors, which were not the right doors, and I had to ask directions a few more times before I found the Matthew Lounge. Johnieb, Allie, and maybe Doug were there, along with dear, sweet Gabe, who had reserved the place for us and supplied sherry and other goodies. I'll tell you about Gabe and QFC in my Sunday post. These posts will not be in chronological order.

Johnieb is not the disreputable person that he wants us to believe he is. He is quite respectable looking and acting. He seems nearly normal. I'm joking. He's a very nice man. Allie is such an attractive and smart young woman, that she makes me feel ancient and dull. Doug, of jokes fame, " Don't blame me, blame Doug," is also quite a pleasant man. I had met Doug at St. James on Sunday, so I knew who he was.

Then the others began to come in, Shel (Pseudopiskie), Eileen (The Episcopali-Fem), Dennis (Psychology, Dogs, Politics & Wine) and David (Dennis' better half), Tobias (In a Godward Direction), Dan (Toujoursdan), Jake-Terry (Fr Jake Stops the World) - the mustache guys, who were both instantly recognizable from their pictures, Klady (Lady of Silences), whom I already knew from spending time with her on Sunday, and PJ (PJ's Pointless Blog, whom I did not get to talk to much at the reception, because I did not know who she was (Who knew she was a blond?), Allen (Morningsider) and his wife Liz, and last, but not least, Paul (A) and his lovely wife Catherine. The links for the bloggers are on my sidebar, and lots of them have pictures.

I think that's everyone who was at the reception. I hugged and kissed lotsa folks - you know we southerners hug and kiss a lot. Dennis had brought a bottle of wine, but the other attendees there were quicker to the wine bottle than I was, so I didn't even get a taste of Dennis the winemaster's wine. Boo-hoo!

As I was retying my shoelace on my boot, the lace broke, but I figured out that the long piece would still fit if I restrung it and left the final holes without laces. One of the maintenance workers at the seminary helped me with that, because the holes were very, very small. Allen and Liz insisted on staying with me until I got my boot back on, I suppose worrying that I wouldn't be able to find my way to the chapel. We all made it on time.

The whole crew of us sat on one side behind the rood screen (I'm guessing). It was a formal, quite English-seeming Evensong service. The folks in the choir section were devoutly into the service as were the folks across the aisle from us. It seemed that most of the people there were regulars, since they knew what they were doing.

What with the prayer books and the hymnals and the sheets of paper, I was mostly lost. I would have been contented to listen to the chanting, and say the prayers that I knew, however a nice man from across the aisle kept handing me books which I did not have and sheets which I did not have, and I was able to follow along for a while. Johnie was trying to help me, but he didn't get very far either. After the second or third time the gentleman crossed the aisle to try to help me, I said to him, "Believe it or not, I am an Episcopalian." He smiled.

Do I sound challenged in many ways? Well, I am. My children can't believe that I make it around strange cities and back home again. But most folks, even strangers, are quite kind and helpful.

I don't know if the Evensong services at the seminary are open to the public, but my thought is that if a stranger wandered in off the street - not that that's likely to happen, because you have to pass through the reception area - but if they did, I wonder what they would make of it. Would they think it was the ritual of a strange cult? Our Evensong services are so very much simpler.

Since I seem to be wearing my long-winded lady hat, this will be Part 1 of "Of Course, I Was in New York". More coming.

UPDATE: I'm identifying the people in the photo above. If anyone wants their name off, let me know, and I will delete it.

Front row: PJ, Eileen, David H (photo), Piskie, Allie, Tobias,
Middle row: Klady, Johnie, Catherine, Mimi, Liz, Allen
Back row: David, Dan, Jake, Gabe, Dennis, Doug, and Paul

Whoops! It seems that Liz, Allen's wife, is not in picture above. Here's a photo which includes Liz (next to me) and all of the PhotoShopped presences. I'm sure everyone knows the ID of the old dog on the right.