Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Mormons. And those formally known as.
Salt Lake City is a lot of things. Extremely polarized happens to be one
of them. I am fairly positive that in order to live in Rome, you do
not have to be an expert on the Catholic Church. In stark contrast,
in order to live in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan you DO have to have
a somewhat basic knowledge of Islam or you will be very uncomfortable
there. I have to say, that Salt Lake City is much closer to the latter.
A good friend mine was recounting a very well known phrase that everyone
who has ever set foot in Salt Lake for more than 5 minutes risks hearing:
"Those that leave the church just can't seem to leave it alone"
This is true for so many more reasons than I can cover here(or ever)
but it did bring up a topic that is at the tip of the brain, and gag
reflex at all times as Salt Lake City residents who are not members
of the "dominant religion". This church refuses to be ignored and
if you live here, it is jammed down your throat by the faithful, the
formally faithful, the newspapers, hell even the bums do it AT EVERY TURN. Every dinner party, night out, lunch date and business meeting we have, even if it is
out of the country, when people hear we are from Utah it DOES NOT MATTER with whom or how much we drink it
inevitably turns to the MORMONS(or, the DAMN MORMONS as I like to affectionately refer to them as even while they are present)
Here is the worst part:
It is RUINING my social life, and my city.
You ALWAYS have to pick a side. It isn't one of those things that you can 'other' check box out of either. In Utah, you either mark Yes, Hell NO!, or Marie Osmond(the artist formally known as a real Mormon but now may be classified as Jack)
No but seriously there is no 'normal' box to check. You know, the one that doesn't reflect years of being either in or out. Acceptable or not. mysterious white undies or thong.
Being oblivious is not really possible.
Living here is like a big game of kickball where teams are picked by
whether you know the secret handshake or not. And it is EXHAUSTING and
a little anti-climatic. It's like this: when you meet someone new, whether
socially or in business you are constantly thinking: "are they or aren't
they?" Mostly because you can BET your next paycheck on the direction the
relationship will go based on the answer to that tiny little question and
it sucks(note: also true when dating and yes, the paycheck would have to
be AFTER tithing)
I live in a building where the answer to "are they or aren't they" has become
a game we play. Whenever someone new moves in, a group of us play the game(based
solely on what we can see in their moving boxes and through the windows before
they call the cops.) We do this mostly because we want to know if we should avoid inviting them over for Wine Friday. Mormons, after all, respond to such an invite with a visit from the local missionaries and then, well, let's just say it gets rather
ugly after that.
I think I lost my point.
Wait: There it is!
I want a Normal Box. The kind that doesn't inspect my undies or think of
ways to get me to join their team. Sometimes I feel like I am living
in the real life equivalent of a land-grabbing, hostage taking, diet coke
drinking, passive aggression slinging, experiment. Note to those in charge:
This outlier is thinking of relocating. And it is all your fault, although,
sometimes it seems intentional to root normal out and just leave the extremes.
This way, both sides win, at least in their own minds.