Last Saturday, we were in Glasgow. By around 4 p.m, it was nice and sunny in George Square:
And as expected, The Husband was whiny, fuzzy and moody about it. Have I ever mentioned that he hates the sun? Yeah, Shane only likes the cold. He's so warm-blooded that he doesn't even particularly layer up during the winters. He's hardly ever cold. And whenever he travels to warmer climates, he sweats as if every single pore on his skin is a weeping rebel against the injustice that is being done to his entire body. Anyone watching this weep-fest would want to wring him and put him out to dry. But that's not even that annoying part. I could live with the pore-weep-fest but what I can't stand is the whine-fest that comes with it.
"It hurts my eyes!"
"My head hurts!"
"Please hold my head for me?"
"I can't see a thing!"
"I just want to lie down somewhere. I can't do this any more!"
Just about the time when the whining was getting a bit too much, we realised that our friends who were more like our easy-to-lose-direction-less children, were missing. Again. We had lost them for the hundredth time in 24 hours. Usually they just lag behind us because they get distracted while taking photographs. But this time, we were seated in the shade because somebody had started whining, and our children had walked off with strangers who offered them candy. So The Husband was forced to get up from his seat in the shade and venture into the sunny wilderness to look for the missing children.
It was probably because he looked like he was going to die (both from the sun and from his wife's wrath), that we were approached by two young men who just wanted to strike up a conversation with us. We'd heard that the people in Glasgow are very friendly so we weren't too surprised when we saw that strangers wanted to know if we were okay. Unfortunately for them, they stopped us under the sun and asked this question to The Husband. That was his permission slip to whine. He went on a rant about how he hates being out in the sun, about how it was pleasant weather in Edinburgh the previous day (raining pitchforks and hammer handles), about how his head hurts now, how he's going blind, etc. And they'd just asked him if he was okay. Usually a question that gets a single-syllable reply, don't you think?
But while The Husband was giving his speech, I noticed the badges they were wearing and realised that these two men were missionaries. They probably expected that they'd get to do the talking. If only this giant man-child would shut up for a minute. When The Husband paused for breath, they introduced themselves as Mormon missionaries, Elder So-and-so and Elder Not-so-and-so and asked us if we were religious to which we both said, "Nope.". Then they turned to me and asked if I believed in anything and I realised that now it was my turn to rant. Because wow, someone actually wants to hear what I have to say on the subject. Someone who isn't forced to read about it on my blog! Is this my birthday? So I told them how I'm not at all into religion although I was born a Hindu but that I'm very spiritual, that I believe that there's something/someone out there who's kind to me and that I've felt that whatever I give into the universe somehow bounces back to me, that as long as you're minding your own business and not going out of your way to be mean to someone, you're probably going to be fine. So they turned to The Husband who looked like he would die of boredom because this conversation was not his "thing". He took the fact that they turned their gaze towards him as a sign that it was his turn to speak so he said, "I don't know. I don't really care. I haven't had much time to think about it because my work keeps me very busy."
Oh my God, guys! That's when things began to get sad. Because those poor guys made the mistake of asking The Husband about his work. We were aware that the purpose of them striking up a conversation with us was to introduce us to the Mormon faith and to tell us more about it. But the minute they made the mistake of asking The Husband about his work, all the tables turned and he began recruiting them into Amazon. The Husband began to convert these Mormon missionaries into the religion of the Latter Day Scientists and tried to convince them to leave their work behind to join the clan. He may not have explicitly said so, but I'm sure he would have been very pleased with himself had he succeeded. Because the world needs more engineers, you see.
They asked us if we'd heard of Mormons and we said yes.
"What do you know about the Mormons?"
Seriously. I said Utah. Don't even ask me why. The minute someone says Mormon, I think Utah. And guess what? One of them was from Utah! What are the chances? But again, The Husband was still not done talking. He was in the middle of a recruitment process, you see. He wanted to know more about his candidates. So now, he was the one asking 3 questions per second. We learned, much to our amazement, that both these guys were only 19 years old and since they were missionaries, it was a part of the program for them to travel from the age of 18 to 25/26, to see different parts of the world, and learn the local language in just 6 weeks (imagine that!). It's amazing!
But after I said, "Utah!", they also tried to explain a little something about their faith and happened to mention something about a Mormon Musical, quickly following up that piece of information with giggles and, "We didn't make that musical, though!", almost as if they didn't want me to look it up. Oh, did I look it up OR WHAT? I don't know this for sure, but they were probably talking about this fun musical:
However, the second they mentioned a musical, a little bulb lit up in both our heads because we had watched a not-so-pleasant animated musical making fun of the Mormons in Season 12 of South Park. And I'm so glad I remembered that episode.
It's called "All about Mormons" and it's an episode about a picture-perfect Mormon family that moves into the neighbourhood and nobody can accept how perfect this family is. One of the neighbourhood kids starts digging into their faith and in the form of a satirical animated musical, we are told the story about the Mormon faith. It's pulled apart and ridiculed to no end. But at the end of the episode, when this kid bullies the Mormon kid by telling him how nothing about his faith makes sense, we get a powerful speech from the latter that basically tells us that while his religion may not necessarily be factually true, it still supports good family values and such. The episode ends with one of the meanest characters saying, "Damn, that kid is cool, huh?".
After our encounter with the Mormon Missionaries, I've been thinking a lot about them, everything we talked about, the musical they were probably referring to, and the musical that I had already seen. I saw those two boys in flesh and blood, having a blast with their lives, travelling the world, experiencing new cultures, learning new languages, being incredibly happy with their work and being genuinely nice human beings. At one point we told them that standing right in the middle of George Square helped us to find our missing friends who ended up sitting right opposite of where we were standing, waiting for us to be done talking to them. And Elder So-and-so who was a red-head remarked that our friends were probably saying, "Jesus, that dude just started talking about something else. Now, shut up GINGER!".
They kept emphasising on how much they enjoyed their work and it was evident that they were truly happy. Isn't that all that matters at the end of the day? To each, their own. Everyone needs hope and faith to cling on to and you're free to pick your own poison. All you need to understand is that everything doesn't have to make sense as long as you follow some core values and try not to harm others. As long as you understand that waking up at 5 a.m every Sunday to catch the front-seat at church is not what necessarily makes you a good person. As long as you realise that singing hymns in praise of the Lord is not what is going to get you into Heaven. As long as you can find true happiness in your life and give yourself the freedom to maintain it, and as long as you put a smile on somebody else's face instead of looking for a way to turn that smile into a frown, you're probably good to go.
Meeting new people is great. I love it! But meeting those two young boys was amazing. I'm so glad The Husband looked like a grumpy kid and they decided to talk to us. I can't stress enough how grateful I am for this experience! Thank you, Elder So-and-so and Elder Not-so-and-so.