I sat quietly over at Rodger’s Barbeque today eating a lunch of a pulled pork barbeque sandwich, a cup of Brunswick stew, and a bag of potato chips. I managed to arrive early enough that the restaurant had yet to grow filled with the noon time lunch crowd. The same elderly couple I had seen at Merl’s Diner the other morning was also eating lunch at Rodger’s today. They once again prayed silently before their meal. I don’t know why seeing that show of religiosity makes me so uncomfortable. Maybe it is because I associate such religiousness with intolerance, mental illness, and close mindedness.
If you see me with a bible then you know I am not long for a visit to the mental hospital and am most likely not taking my medications.
“Honey, do you need anything else?” The waitress asked me pulling me out of my people watching stupor.
“Get me another barbeque sandwich, please,” I replied as she left me to disappear back into the kitchen.
Rodger’s has some of the best barbeque in the area. My cousin, who lives in Hong Kong, always eats there religiously when he is in the states. He has been known to buy a few pounds of the pulled pork and a quart of that wonderful Brunswick stew and gorge himself upon them.
I then finished my other sandwich, wiped my face and hands with my napkin, and left a tip of two dollars upon the table.
“Put this on my tab,” I told the cashier as I handed her my ticket.
She smiled as she looked at me with her one good eye and told me she would see me tomorrow. I try not to stare at her glass eye, but catch myself doing it. That one artificial eye always wanders off into the distance as if looking off into space. It is so hard for it not to illicit a fascinated stare.
As I walked home, I thought of that elderly couple once again and their blatant parade of their religion. The only time I have ever been religious in my life was when I wasn’t medicated for my schizophrenia and grew to believe God and Jesus were speaking to me with various signs and codes through the television. I would keep a journal of these various “speakings of God and Jesus” every night. My favorite avenue for these signs and codes was the nightly news broadcasts. All of this drove my then wife crazy with concern and exasperation. If you see me with a bible then you know I am not long for a visit to the mental hospital and am most likely not taking my medications.