One of the things I really like about being out of the cult is that I no longer have to go to those long, boring district conventions. Instead, I can do other things with my new family (fiancee and soon to be step son). We were out and about Sunday, I had taken the day off from work, no point in bothering people with collections on a Sunday and a holiday.
We had planned to go to a suburb of St. Louis, MO (St. Charles) and see some of the vendors on the riverfront in the afternoon and then wait for the fireworks in the evening . We had not been there more than a half hour when it started to rain. By the time we made it back a few blocks from the riverfront, across the historic downtown district, and up to the car, it was pouring rain.
We figured we would go and get something to eat, come back a few hours later in the evening and watch the fireworks then.
We drove closer to the central city to the Delmar Loop. Lots of restaraunts and eclectic shops. The 9YO wanted pasta, but we didn't particularly care. By this time it was around 5 or so. Not sure which restaraunts had pasta since there were no obvious fast food (except for chains like Noodles and Co or Pasta House). I stopped at the corner to run into a restaraunt that looked like it wouldn't be too expensive. When I get inside, and my eyes adjust to the lower light levl, I notice a large contingent of Witnesses all adorned in their Sunday finest, nametags included. What originally caught my eye (or ear in this case) was a baby in the group crying. My first thought was: "Oh, that's right, it was the first weekend of two of conventions in St. Charles this month." My second thought was: "That kid, and the other little ones with them, had been cooped up for six hours, now you have them cooped up in a very un-kid friendly restaraunt while you all babble on about the fine points of the convention."
I knew these were locals (probably Delmar or University City congregation) because the whole group was black. I only mention that because it tells me that the congos I used to attend almost always attend the following weekend. (The inner city congos attended the one opposite of ours) I didn't know until the next day for certain that this was the case. Nice to not know, or care, when the conventions are anymore. I walked by the whole table to get to the server stand to find a menu.
After perusing the menu at the server stand, I left to find other cuisine. Between the heart stopping prices and the nauseating conversation of the dubs, I decided not to go get my family and stay. I walked back by the group of Witnesses. None of them recognized me, maybe it was the hat. Maybe it was seeing me out of context. Or maybe they were too engrosed in their conversation which, by the way, was loud. I, on the other hand, recognized a couple of them. I had given talks in both congregations when I was an elder.
I get back to the car, it was obvious to my fiancee that we were not eating in this establishment. She wanted to stay and "mess with" the Witnesses. While it sounds fun in a way, really, I did not care. I did not want to engage them, whether I knew them personally or not. It was like being on the outside looking in, but not in a longing, "wish I was back" way. No, not at all. More of a "I used to look/sound that way?, thank goodness I don't now!" kind of way.
We ended up a few blocks away at Fitz's ...they make their own microbrew soda..or "pop" in some places. Root beer is their specialt; they also have a basic food menu. We enjoyed our sandwiches and a dessert of hot fudge brownie with vanilla, chocolate, and cappucino ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and marachino cherry. No JW's there that we could tell. By this time it was getting late, and the adults were tired. Even the 9YO wanted to skip the fireworks. We went home and that was that. It was extremely late by the time we went to sleep.
I tell this little story to elicit some thoughts from you .... how do you react when you see the dubs with those annoying name tags? Especially if you are in a convention city where there are tons of them walking around? Do you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? Or have you been out and away long enough that it really doesn't provoke much of a feeling anymore? I am leaning toward that latter feeling these days.
While our nation (US) celebrated its independence, I celebrated my freedom from the tyranny of a cult. Celebrated it with my beautiful fiancee and her son.
Let freedom ring.
Snakes (Rich )