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Saturday, February 21, 2004

I've wondered. Is this true?

There are church services across the street on Sundays.

On Sundays I usually am lounging about. But sometimes I get out of the house. When I come home on those Sunday afternoons, I see the church signs. The first church sign reads What. A little farther up the hill there is is. Then there's a sign with your, followed by purpose, in, and life? If you put them all together they read "What is your purpose in life?"

Or maybe the old white lady, still limber, who fetches the signs at the end of the day mixed them up in the morning. Maybe the order was switched. Perhaps the sign scribe meant them to say "What life is in your purpose?"

Every time I see those signs I begin thinking about purposes and lives. Do I have either of them? Does anyone? What am I contributing to the smooth running of the world?

After weeks of thought, I've defined my role in life. Ultimately it boils down to three things:

1. I am the instrument by which my mother, father and sister accomplish their banking from afar. They send me bits of information and I pay bills and figure out their taxes. Obviously I am essential to their wellbeing in Europe. Yet this is a symbiotic relationship. For my labour, they reward me with postcards and emails describing trips to Greece and Germany and Moldova. Once they even gave me a bookmark from the Salvador Dali Museum in Spain because I "like art."

2. I keep a whole valley in France employed through my Brie-eating habits. Because of me, all the little villages dotting this valley don't even bother with all those laws that other parts of their country need to protect their industry. They don't even need to market their location's beauty to the tourists. My Brie consumption assures that Brie production remains a viable economic option. Again, this is a two-way relationship. In return for my services to their communities, the grateful villagers send me a gift grape once a year.

3. I provide a safe haven for spiders. For example, in one of my unused bathrooms, there are seven of them. By the front door there are a couple. Spiders know that if they are threatened with abusive behaviour in other houses they can come over to the safety here. I even entertain my guests: sometimes, when they are crawling on the ceiling, I scrunch up balls of paper and play catch with them. Plus, the spiders don't even have to put up with the drudgery of spinning webs here. They are free to enjoy themselves. I don't expect anything in return. I let them stay out of my abundant spirit of human compassion.

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