Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Men and Nail Clippers

Sunday was just like any other Sunday in so many ways. We got up, thinking we were right on track to be on time for church - and who knows, maybe even a little bit early. We got ready, somehow realized that we were, in fact, not early, and actually not even on time. Argued about whose fault it was that we were late. Rushed out the door. Got in the car and backed out of the garage. Realized we forgot something, ran back inside, retrieved forgotten item, ran back outside, blasted air conditioning from all of the running around in our Sunday best. Finally pulled out of the neighborhood. Apologized to each other for arguing and decided that we'd do better next week.

This is just an average Sunday in the Acosta house. And I hadn't really given it much thought until I was sitting in church on Sunday. I would like to say that it was some of the wise words that came down from the pulpit, full of the Holy Spirit that touched my heart and made me shout, "Hallelujah!" but that really couldn't be farther from the truth.

It was actually an older gentleman sitting a couple of rows in front of us during the service. During the sermon, I noticed him reach in his pocket looking for something. After a good bit of fidgeting, he retrieved his nail clippers. Now, I'm going to have to insert a side note here. Hearing people clip their fingernails ranks just below the sound of nails on a chalkboard in my book. I can't exactly explain why, but it just is. I know it's necessary, but I just find it kind of gross. And I don't feel like it's something people should do in public. Weird, perhaps. But that's just me.

Now knowing this fact about me, you can begin to appreciate the horror that flashed through my mind at that very moment. It was as if the sermon had completely stopped and all I could focus on was this man and his nail clippers. And all I could think was, "not only am I going to have to listen to this, but I'm going to have to watch it, too!" You might say, just look away. But I couldn't. It was like a bad car accident. I was transfixed.

Somewhere in the midst of this "average Sunday," my mind took me back to many other "average Sundays" in my not-so-distant past sitting in church in Little Rock. This time not seeing, but still hearing the sound of an older man who sat a few rows behind us regularly clipping his nails during the service. I was equally distracted and horrified at this event. Especially since it seemed to happen on an almost weekly basis.

All of these thoughts led me to realize that anytime I've found myself in this horrible situation, older men have been the culprits. And this realization caused me to wonder, is it an age thing? Or is it generational? What I mean is, did a whole generation grow up thinking that it was entirely okay to cut your fingernails in public - I mean, what do you do with the clipping??? Or, is it that after a certain age, men just don't care what's going on around them? If they have something that needs to be taken care of, they just do it. No questions asked.

I find that the answer to these questions will be somewhat important to my sanity. You see, if it is in fact a generational thing, this phenomenon will eventually fade away, or at least drastically decrease. On the other hand, if it is an issue with age, it will only become more common the older I get. And if that is indeed the case, I'm going to need to find a way to cope. Either that or develop a campaign to end public nail clipping.

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