If you live in the general vicinity of Mishawaka, Indiana in the good 'ol U.S. of A. you should probably brace yourselves. In the next 24-48 hours I am determined to launch a project that has been in the works for the last several months.
To begin, I should first tell you that I am not a small woman. I'm not. As a matter of fact, I'm as big as a house and I'm one tomato sandwich away from qualifying for my own zip code.
I should also reveal that I am a dead ringer for the actress Kathy Najimi. That is, I am a dead ringer for the actress Kathy Najimi before she got skinny. If you don't know who Kathy Najimi is, please rent "Sister Act" and view the shenanigans of Sister Mary Patrick. That, my friends, is me. Really. I'm not kidding.
So with all of this in mind, I am off to the costume shop to rent/buy/find a full-length nun's habit in the style of the sisters of old who only showed their lovely little faces and possibly a whisker or two of chin hair. (As a Catholic school girl I often marveled at the smoothness of their complexions and I agonized over whether it was the fact that they didn't wear any makeup or if the headgear thingie they wore secretly contained a Clearasil-like substance that prevented even the tiniest pimple from emerging.)
Once I am properly attired in said nun’s getup, I intend to roam the streets of my little Gotham on the lookout for rudeness, blatant buffoonery, and general inconsiderateness everywhere. I might even develop my own logo that can be projected into the sky whenever I’m in need, and if I think I can manage it, I will find the perfect motorized vehicle to transport me to the scene of "courtesy crimes" in a manner that will draw the envy of every pre-pubescent boy and the giddiness of people everywhere. I’m thinking, of course, that this vehicle needs to be pink. Or fire-engine red. And it should probably have a lot of chrome and look like it came straight out of Orange County Choppers, but these are details for another day.
It all started, of course, as most things do, when I attempted to go out in public. I should have known better, but I was determined to see “Julie and Julia” on the big screen, so I handed over my $87.50 and proceeded into the theater with the rest of the semi-literate masses like the sheep that I am.
I won’t bore you with the ENTIRE two and a half hours of agony, but suffice it to say that I was subjected to: talking, whispering, chatting, snot sucking, throat clearing, and elbow-hogging-the-arm-rest hooliganism for the entire length of the movie. People conducted themselves as though they were stuffed into their Barco-loungers and despite the fact that the sound of the movie was loud enough to split eardrums, they felt the need to talk, whisper, chat, and snot-suck over the din.
I tried, I really did, but I found it impossible to enjoy the movie so long as the gentleman (and I use this term loosely) felt the need to clear his obviously clogged sinuses and then spit them into what I can only hope as a relatively clean hanky.
The grocery store trip that same weekend wasn’t much better, nor was the treat of a dinner out at a favorite restaurant, thanks to a population that has just generally lost all sense of decency and consideration for other people. What the hell has happened to us?
This weekend brought the arrival of college students back to our little town, and I was pleased to see that the community welcomed them appropriately with business signs and bus tours here and there to show them the sites. Where, however, was the informative talk on manners and how to live in community with tax-paying hard-working townies that just can’t take one more influx of rude, obnoxious, spoiled brats who think the Target is there solely for their shopping pleasure?
Sister Mary Etiquette to the rescue!
Sister Mary Etiquette will roam the streets armed with nothing but a ruler, some little note cards, and the sheer determination into shaming people into behaving themselves. Sister Mary Etiquette won’t be afraid to walk right up to somebody and say “What’s the matter with you?! Were you born in a barn? Comport yourself properly young man!”. And with that, she will hand over a little note card that outlines (in very simple terms) the proper amount of space to give someone at the grocery checkout. Or why it is NOT acceptable to slouch your way through a store while talking on your cell phone to your girlfriend who just has to hear every little detail of your hot date the night before with some investment banker who picked up the check and was really hot in bed but who has no intention of calling you for a second date. Ever.
Sister Mary Etiquette will confront the man in the restaurant who insists on yelling at his dinner companions so that they can be sure to hear every word of his inane opinion and who insists on imposing said inane opinion on every table within a square mile of the place.
Sister Mary Etiquette will know how to form an orderly queue, won’t take the last piece of anything, and will always be the first to gladly give her seat to an elder, a pregnant woman, or anyone who looks like they just might need a seat on a crowded subway more than she does at the moment, and she will NOT, ABSOLUTELY NOT feel compelled to talk on a cell phone unless something is on fire or a small child is trapped under something heavy.
Sister Mary Etiquette will always bathe so as not to offend others with any “personal smell issues”, she will not block access to anything somebody else might want to see/grab/hold/witness, and she will know when and where it is appropriate to show affection and/or groom one’s eyebrows.
Sister Mary Etiquette will put a stop to this ME ME ME culture of obnoxiousness and will do her part to return society to the genteel atmosphere of a Jane Austen novel.
Sister Mary Etiquette will know how to use proper turning indicators in a vehicle, when to send hand-written thank you notes for gifts received, and will R.S.V.P. promptly to every invitation that draws her forth from her well appointed, clean, and orderly home.
You get the idea here, right? There’s no need for me to blather on and on about the entire Sister Mary Etiquette agenda, but suffice it to say that I will not rest until every person of age in this country of ours…nay the entire planet….learns how to behave properly and act like a person should.
I’m off to the the costume shop, and then the bookstore for the latest Emily Post. One mustn’t be loathe to update one’s knowledge of things now, mustn’t one?
(Note: This is a little something I'm working on. What do you think?)