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Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday evening in Front Royal

I went to Front Royal for caroling. Little did I know when I was invited that the girls meant door-to-door. I enjoy caroling, as long as the people I'm singing to know us. Going door-to-door in a neighborhood that I don't know doesn't appeal to me, mostly because, in my case, if I were to get carolers, I'd be a little creeped out, unless I knew them, or I knew their group, or I knew that they were coming. Surprise carolers? I think not... Sorry, girls...

After sitting around and talking/singing for a while with Dr. P, Lizzie, Draper, Christine, Michael and Sylvia, we decided to call it a night and head home. Our first stop was to St. Augustine's to say goodbye to Emma and Laurel. (I should clarify that we were saying goodbye to Sylvia until graduation. She's done for now. However, we were just saying goodbye to Emma and Laurel for the break.) Michael, Draper and I went to the chapel and did some chanting. We got a little experimental with drones and basic harmony, and we were soon joined by Francis. At this point, I really wanted to try two choirs. We all stood facing each other inward: Francis and I faced each other, and I had Michael on my left and Draper on my right, facing each other. In this position, we sang in two choir formation: tenors (M&D) vs. basses (A&F). Michael B. joined us half-way through the Te Deum, the piece we were doing -- surprised the heck out of me: I thought he would be asleep.

At this point, it was getting late, but I really wanted to try something new. Michael B, Francis, and Draper stood on the right side of the choir loft, and Michael C. and I stood on the other side. I was the cantor for choir 1 and Draper was cantor for choir 2. We did the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Angus Dei from Mass IV, with the alternating choirs as appropriate: i.e., I intoned the Kyrie, Michael joined me to finish it; choir 2 did Kyrie #2; choir 1 did Kyrie #3; kept alternating until the final Kyrie, when I intoned, Michael came in on part 2, and everyone came in on the eleison. You couldn't split the Sanctus into choirs too easily, so we just sang it together at opposing sides. The Agnus Dei was similar to the Kyrie: I intoned Agnus Dei 1, Draper intoned Agnus Dei 2, and we all sang Agnus Dei 3.

We closed with the Alma Redemptoris Mater.

I filled up with gas, and I dropped Draper off at his apartment. On the way back home, I had another kind of fun.

I was driving along route 55 when I saw this guy walking down the road. It was about 12:30 AM, far too late for him to be walking. I passed him at first, but I felt pretty bad doing it, so I stopped and reversed. I rolled down the window and asked him if he needed a ride. Without saying a word, he just got inside the car. A but weird, but hey, whatever. I offered my hand and told him my name. He hesitated, but then he shook my hand and said his name was Chris. I started driving, and in an attempt to make small-talk, I commented on how late it was. He didn't say anything. Not expecting that, I asked him where he was headed. He said, "Home."

Now, I have a sense of humor. I can see the humor in this statement, but there's a significant difference between a guy who says something like in a joking manner with a twinkle in his eye to prompt further conversation and/or laughter, and Chris. Chris said it as completely lifeless as he could. I was more disturbed than anything by the complete lack of gratitude/humor/humanity in his voice, and how he didn't really care that I had just picked him and was giving him a lift "home", wherever that was.

Turning to Chris to see if I had missed something (like a look or something to let me know that he was trying to get me to laugh -- there wasn't), I asked him, "Where's home?" He starts looking around my car, feeling things. He then says, "Alexandria." I was shocked. He was sixty miles away from Alexandria. Was he planning on walking there?

Once again, I attempted to make conversation. I reacted notably to his home city, and asked him if he had a plan to get back home. Chris paid no attention to me though, because he was still feeling all over the car. I re-posed the question, to no avail. My car's visor has apparently gotten his attention, and he was eyeing it like a hawk, and feeling it again and again. As he ran his hands all around the visor, he felt the palm leaf, and piped up in a hostile manner: "What the hell is this?" I replied: "It's a palm leaf. It symbolizes the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem one week before He was crucified." It looked as though my guest was about to be rude again and say, "That's stupid." Before he could, I looked straight at him, and said, "I'm Catholic." I then put on my face that says, "Do you have a problem with that?" He shut up pretty quickly -- no surprise there.

I asked him again (with emphasis): "So, Chris, what's your plan for getting home?" He was still being rude, so I guess he thought I didn't deserve an answer.

I changed the subject. "All right, since you don't have a plan for getting back, let me ask you another question: Why are you walking at midnight?" He was quiet for a few seconds, but then he said, "I'm not walking." I'm sorry, Chris, I didn't realize you were so accurate. I was beginning to get visibly annoyed at this point. I was already agitated at how rude he was, but I think that I was holding it all in until this. Truth be told, he was right. He wasn't walking. Once again, I looked at him quickly to see if he had been trying to make a joke, and, once again, he wasn't. He was being blatantly rude. "All, right, I'm sorry. I'll be more precise. Why were you walking, Chris?" He didn't reply. "Chris, why the hell were you walking at midnight down a dark street where I could have hit you and killed you?" Still nothing.

Suddenly, all my doors lock. I turn and look at him. He's got his hand on the door, screwing around with the buttons. I unlock my doors. He locks them again. I unlock them. He re-locks them. I unlock them. This goes on for at least 20 clicks. Finally, I've had it up to my neck with him intentionally being rude to me and now trying to break my car. It took a lot of self-control to not punch him first and ask questions later. But that wouldn't do, so I asked him what he thought he was doing, and why he was trying to break my car. He thought about answering, and then decided that I could know his intentions, so he deigned me with a response: "I'm trying to roll down the window." I explained to him that the switch on that side was broken, so I'll roll down the window for him. I rolled it down half-way. My doors locked again. Once again, taking a decent amount of self-control to keep my anger in check, I re-explained to him that the window switch on that side had not been fixed in the past ten seconds, so if he had heard anything I had told him not even ten seconds ago, he would know that he had to ask me to roll down his window. I then asked him how far down he wanted it. He said, "All the way." It was obvious that he was trying to drown me out, but I rolled it down all the way. My door locked again. I unlocked them and told him to stop doing that.

About ten seconds later, I asked him again, why he was walking down the street at midnight. He gave me the silent treatment again. I was through being nice. I'd done everything he wanted, catering to his whims, and he was still being rude. He still hadn't even thanked me for picking him up. I exploded at him: "Listen, Chris, this silent treatment thing is going to stop right now. Unless you actually use your voice and your mouth to speak English like I know you can, you're getting out. Now, I'm going to ask you one more time: Why were you walking at midnight?" He still didn't say anything. "That's it. Game over. Get out now. Get the hell out of my car. I don't want you in here." As I said this, I pulled over to the median. He seemed to be sizing up his options: a 60-mile walk, or talking. He opted for a 60-mile walk, so as soon as the car came to a stop, he opened the door and got out. I took off, and left him walking along 66.

I then called the police and told them that there was a man acting extremely suspiciously and wearing dark clothes walking along 66. I related in short the above story to them, and they said that they would send out a state trooper to pick him up. I hope that they did, because I'd love to see him spend some time in jail.

Seriously, what else was there I could do? If he had lied to me and made up a story about how his car was broken down, I would never have know, and I would have probably taken him all the way to my exit. We could have had a very pleasant conversation, shooting the breeze, telling jokes, swapping stories (true or not). All he had to do was talk. Since he didn't, I can only assume the worst: that he's a serial killer and he obviously didn't want to talk about much...

In retrospect, I should have started singing some Protestant hymn, "Jesus Loves Me," or something similar. Mr. Crazy Man Chris would probably have started talking at that point...
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