YOU GUYS! Remember how I said that Jane gave me her bread recipe, and how happy I was because it’s the most delicious bread in the world?
WELL I MADE IT! I did it! I did the starter and let it proof and preheated my oven to “screaming hot” (per Jane, the preferred temperature) and what started out as this:
Is now this!
Can you even believe this? Mostly, can you even believe that we as a culture have come so far from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle where people without ovens or temperature gauges or the choice between bleached and unbleached flour (always go with unbleached, because otherwise you’re eating bleach) made this every single day, and now we just go to the store and buy shit like this for like $3.50 a loaf? And it’s not even as good as this stuff? And I’m super geeked because I was able to take four ingredients and turn it into one of the most basic nourishing items in human history for pennies? I mean, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
I kind of wish I had this yesterday when we got our first religious salespeople of the new house. I was watching It’s Always Sunny with my hair in a towel and wearing a tie-dyed shirt I’d slept in when I heard the front door rattle. Sometimes our doorbell works and sometimes it doesn’t, so typically, if it sounds like there’s a windstorm out front, there’s a chance that someone is at the door. And I can’t tell if someone’s there until I get right up to the door, and because there are windows on either side of it, anyone on the porch knows that someone is in the house looking out at them.
If nothing else, at least the Jehovah’s Witnesses know what they’re doing with their ministry people. They don’t send some capable-looking youngsters out into the neighborhood, or any swarthy males. They sent me a couple of elderly ladies, one of whom didn’t even come up to my shoulder. How do you tell two little old ladies to get off your property? You don’t. That is the answer to that question. You can’t be rude to little old ladies. You just have to look like a crazy person with a towel on their head and smile when you tell them that you’re an atheist who was raised Catholic and has Jehovah’s Witnesses cousins in Florida, so while you know the drill, you’re not interested in a copy of The Watchtower, nor are you, as they claim a lot of people are at this time of year, thinking about Easter (aside from the ham, I mean. Sweet, delicious ham). To which they smiled back and we wished each other a nice day, and they left.
I wished I had a baked good to send them off with, because the mannered Catholic in me still feels guilty about telling little old ladies that I don’t believe in God at all, and the rational person in me wants them to understand that atheists can be nice people, too. While I fully understand why some of my friends answer the door in their underwear or allow giant scary-looking dogs to bark/snarl/terrify anyone trying to sell them on a bizarre (even for a lapsed Catholic, which is saying something) version of Jeebus, I have never been able to make that leap. Really, these people are just doing what they think is right. They’re doing what the Bible tells them to do, and yes, I know the kind of cray-cray shit that goes on in the Bible, but when you think about it, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have never sacrificed anyone in a gladiatorial arena, have never burned witches, have never made massive megachurch efforts to criminalize homosexuality or take over all of our uteruses. They might think about all that stuff, but aside from the occasional little old lady knocking at my front door, their organizational efforts are pretty slim. It’s annoying when they interrupt my slovenly TV time and I know how lucky I am that they just let it lie when I told them I wasn’t interested*, but they just want to try to get more people into those predestined 10,000 spots in heaven. It’s a noble – if weird and kind of irritating – cause.
Although apparently, the Columbia IL branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are crazy and stupid, because trying to convert my cousins – one of whom is the pastor of the United Church of Christ, which is right next door because they live in the parsonage house – is just madness, and as far as I’m concerned, my cousins can do whatever the hell they want to get those nutbags off their porch.
*Like I said, I have cousins in Florida who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I suspect they joined because it was the only way for them to make friends. For years, they would come to visit during the holidays and complain about Christmas decorations, because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in celebrating that kind of thing or, evidently, understanding a calendar. During one visit, they left a book that was sort of an instruction manual for going out into the field and ministering to others, or, as normal people would call it, going door-to-door and pissing people off. There were whole sections of this book dedicated to what to say to people when they said things like “I’m a Buddhist” or “I’m a Catholic.” These people are trained to keep at it. It’s in their literature. So either I just made a super convincing atheist/former Catholic/aware of Jehovah’s Witnesses argument or those ladies thought I was a total lost cause.