I’d like to believe everyone has a religion. As such, we all stay sincere to what we believe in. For most Christians like me, this includes regular church services. My father always makes it a point that when attending these, we should make it to our place of worship very early. However one Sunday, we couldn’t keep up to this family standard and got to church quite late. For that day, we gained the back benchers’ status, something we’ve been made to believe is not quite a nice thing. I never knew and learnt the hard way. Experience is indeed the best teacher.
My sister and I secured seats close to the window. We sat there, trying so hard to get familiar with this unusual territory. In no time, a fine young man sat right next to us. He was ever smiling and warm. We exchanged glances and smiles with him, waiting for the song service to begin. After the song service, we sat down quietly, anticipating the preacher’s message. All that anticipation was disrupted and battered by someone I never expected.
The fine young man next to us had his no-so-smart phone ringing with never-ending message alerts. I would expect that to be the case, given he was young and a bit handsome, BUT WE WERE IN CHURCH for goodness sake. Our neighbor really didn’t seem to mind the distraction his gadget was giving us. People in front and behind us gave him stares, the warning type but like I mentioned earlier, this dude simply smiled warmly at everyone looking at him. What the hell?? In his mind, nothing was wrong. His cheerful character meant he’d never ignore anyone in his life. This includes those who were bombarding his WhatsApp. He’d reply as fast as he could.
No matter how much you’d like to pay attention to proceedings at a gathering, an irritating-never ending string of message alerts on someone’s mobile phone will distract you. There’s no formula to that. Our dear brother (like we address them at church) kept interacting with his cyber connections, whilst I and other people close by struggled to get the preacher’s message. After about 20minutes, his phone stopped ringing. Phew!
In under 4minutes, horror struck again. You know there are times when you feel like anointing someone’s cheek with a metallic, fire filled generously sized slap. Not because you hate them, but just to sober them up a little. Since this was a church setting, I couldn’t possibly try the slap remedy. I also couldn’t tap his shoulder to start conversation with him. That’d draw eyes on me. So I kept my cool, hoping he’d run out of battery power or data.
This has got to be the longest 40 minutes of my life. I couldn’t pay attention to the preacher, and I also couldn’t get this guy to deal with his phone. During all this, my sister never showed a sign of discomfort or irritation. She seemed to be enjoying the message. That was odd. I was puzzled and kept fidgeting and looking around.
After about an hour, my sister gave me a little note to pass to that brother. Whoa! My little sister was ‘feeling’ this dude. And she couldn’t hide it any longer, so much she had to send him a cute little message on a piece of paper. What on earth was wrong with my blood? In our culture, men should pursue women and not the other way round. I got so angry I wanted to direct my frustration on her, but realized I had to be civil. I was in church after all. I just looked at the nicely folded little note, and played post-woman with a fake smile.
I handed that piece of paper to the lucky guy. I was jealous. My sister hadn’t written me a letter in years and here she was sending one to someone she didn’t even know! What a traitor! The receiver had this amazing glow when I gave it to him. He pointed at himself, trying to verify if the note was his. I nodded. He smiled. I pointed at my sister to let him know where it came from. He waved at her, smiling, without opening the ‘letter’ and she waved back. These two seriously irritated me with this. I was sitting between them. What nonsense!
Then a thought hit me! I must eavesdrop when the guy opens the note. I wanted to see what my smitten sister had sent him.
The guy opened the note, smiling, and froze thereafter. I never got a chance to read what was in it. He folded it and re-opened it, this time allowing me to see the cute message my sister wrote.
I froze too. I looked at my sister then looked at the guy. She looked like she loved the preacher’s words and never paid attention to anyone around her. That’s how she had been since she sat there. I turned my eyes to her ‘sweet heart’. He was still frozen. I tried to hold back tears and laughter. My sister had just become everyone’s hero.
In the little cute note was written, “Hi there. Please mute your message tone. “