For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, The Lime challenged me with “Like whatever happened yesterday” and I challenged R.L.W. with “Look up your Chinese zodiac animal. Write as though you are someone or something about to consume that animal.”
The God Thing, Hashed out over Brunch:
I’m a Miranda. That is, in the “Sex and the City” spectrum of sexual proclivities as it relates to the spiritual experiences of four 20-something American women living in Beijing in the year 2012 — as discussed over brunch. So much cliche mixed up in the same burrito, I can’t tell whether we’re unique new concoctions or just a shitty amalgam of two things, like a sushiritto.
But back to the Miranda thing. Her sex life is good, but she’s always so fucking cynical until the happy accidents of fate force her to chill out and accept the good things that were always right under her nose. Just swap out the life-changing orgasms for encounters with the divine, and that’s me all over.
I was such a happy atheist. I had found a way to be a good, moral person without needing this extra “GOD THING” in there. Religion was my major in college, for Christsake, and this was never a problem. I relished in the cliche of the atheist studying religion. Isn’t that cute? Wouldn’t that sound good on a first date? God knows no cute. He kills puppies and muddies banter.
One of the main reasons I started this new Seeking phase of my life is the Samantha in this whole “Sex and the City” example. She’s a raging God slut. Everyday she’s worshipping. Early mornings, all weekend — can’t get enough. He fills her in new ways. (Sorry.) But her enthusiasm, which she shares only with a discreet few, brunch-time company included, is intense, infectious, delirious. Her smile says she knows something you don’t about this God guy. On the outside, she looks like a typical quirky girl with fun colored tights raving about the sweet potato latte this Korean coffee shop is serving. Inside, her thoughts are primarily about love. Loving others, loving God in new more profound ways. “Walking toward love” is her m.o.
Carrie’s the main character because she has the most saga-like storyline going on. Our Carrie, a Buddhist from North Carolina, was newest to the table, so we point-blank asked her to, “Tell us about your life,” and wound up with a yarn worth six seasons and two movies if those movies had been good. Her path to enlightenment included abusive relationships, a Russian literature phase, and a born-again moment to rival any of her fellow Southerners: she was at a house party, just talking in one of the bedrooms with a few friends, when her heart began to race. The manic pounding consumed her and she figured she was dying. She told those around her she was dying as the room dulled to a Beijing sky gray. As she lay there dying, her vision cleared to a negative image of a dragon fly. It thwip-thwipped its wings twice, and she was reset. For the next two days, she says she walked around her job at Outback in a daze of enlightened bliss and realized that life wasn’t about baby back ribs or bills or possessions, but love. All the other junk simply wasn’t worth your time.
Our little Charlotte remained quiet through most of these revelations and retelling of past revelations. That might say what it needs to, though. She is traditional, and so far, happy with her Catholic, church-going self. I just can’t believe she’s here, in Beijing, far away from family, friends and the familiar, and her faith still hasn’t been shaken. Just the process of going to church here draws big red flags for me, as established churches are “Foreigner-only” and require a passport swipe to keep curious Chinese citizens out. If that were part of your Sunday ritual, wouldn’t you start to question God’s plan? But even while I question her moral compass, my heart pings with envy at the inner stability this could be hinting at. She knows her God.
Hashing out our takes on transcendency, I become convinced that our conflicting cliches do not roll up into a sushiritto abomination. They’re a sweet potato latte. Found only in Korean brunch places, it’s not the color (purple) or texture (thick with a hint of grainy) you’d expect, but once the sweet stuff hits your tongue, you’re raving. Can’t wait to try them again next Saturday. Just, you know, four girls brunching.