One night late last week long after Leta had gone to bed and right after Chuck had ceased begging for a bite of our dinner (YES, IT’S MY FAULT, ALL THAT DAMN PIZZA), we heard a faint knock on the door. Jon and I looked at each other like, you expecting someone? Because it was late, and no one ever knocks on our door anymore, not after I got scammed into buying a magazine subscription for a kid at a hospital THAT DOESN’T EXIST. So I taped handmade signs to the door that say, very politely and in a lovely cursive style, “DO NOT DISTURB” and “NO SOLICITING.” I practiced getting my rage out on a sign that read, “If you are Mormon and knock on this door my husband will shoot you.” But our door just isn’t big enough for THREE WHOLE SIGNS, so I had to compromise.
Jon jumped up to answer the door, and I could hear a woman saying quietly, “Is this where Heather lives?” I peeked over Jon’s shoulder and saw that she was holding out a blue piece of paper, and my mind immediately started racing through the past month, going, “What illegal thing have I engaged in that has sent the blue paper people after me?” Are they reading my website and taking my references to smoking pot literally? Because people, yes, I tried pot a few times, years ago, and it was about as much fun as getting up and going to church for three hours every Sunday morning. I would get SO paranoid on that drug that even now, NOW when I write about it I think I’m going to be arrested.
HUH? HUH? (only Jon will get that joke)
So I pushed Jon to the side and accepted the blue piece of paper, and THANK GOD it wasn’t a summons or a Motion to Dismiss (on “Law and Order” you KNOW when they break out that folded blue paper that, FUCK, another Motion to Dismiss? What mistake did the police make this time?) And not only was it not a legal document, but it was an INVITATION. And not only was it an invitation, but it was also an invitation to a baby shower. And not only was it an invitation to a baby shower, but IT WAS ALSO an invitation to a baby shower for a Mormon woman. I turned to Jon and said, “They like me! I’M IN!”
Funny how they had to deliver the invitation at night, though. When no one could see them.
The thing about this particular Mormon, though, is that she is just one of the most laid back and friendly and accepting and non-judgmental people I’ve ever met. The way people who believe in God are supposed to be, right? She lives down the street, and I love running into her because she grew up back in the South and we swap stories and her parents know my parents, and not once has she ever mentioned the Church in conversation. I like her so much, in fact, that getting an invitation to her baby shower made me feel like I was 12 years old and one of the 7th grade popular girls just asked me to join their club, and that my cardboard club ID card would be ready any day now.
The baby shower was Sunday afternoon, and the cheesecake and apple cider were overflowing. The party was about half Mormon, half non-Mormon, and I knew all the non-Mormon women because we all smoke pot together out behind the ward building up the street. Conversation was as to be expected, all about labor stories, c-sections, and who does your hair? When it got to the part where she opened the presents, though, everyone started talking about The Box.
You know, The Box.
One woman had wrapped her present in this beautiful blue box, large and perfectly square. And I think it was even one of the Mormon women who said, “What a nice box!” She didn’t know what she was saying, obviously, and I wouldn’t have known six years ago when a box was just a box, until someone at work explained to me that a box was, you know, A BOX. It was at this point in the shower that the rest of us who were eager for someone to stand up and just shout, “WHERE’S THE BEER?” started going on and on about The Box.
Where did you get such a nice box? and My, what a huge box! and I wish I had a box like that! were some of the things we started blurting out. Half of the room was giggling quietly, and the other half was going, “I know! Isn’t it a great box!” with no sense of irony whatsoever. Inside The Box was a blue baby snowsuit, adorable and frightening at the same time because all I could think about was the younger kid on A Christmas Story stuck in the snow, unable to get up and flailing about in futility. The woman who had brought that present explained, “It’s really nice and warm inside, very fuzzy and snug.”
And yes, you knew I couldn’t resist. I turned to Beth who was sitting to my left and I said, “Wait, was she talking about The Box?”
And there’s this scripture somewhere in Mormonism that warns you to avoid even the “appearance of evil,” and there’s probably a similar code in their club and my cardboard ID card is being cut into pieces as we speak.