If you’ve been following along with my Jehovah’s Witnesses saga, you know I’ve been passed off from witness to witness, some of them disappearing without a word, others moving on to bigger, fancier things in the big city. I’ve finally been handed off to a woman we’ll call Kate, who is, it seems, in it for the long haul.
Kate can’t be that much older than me, and she’s very well put together. She comes to my door dressed to the nines, perfectly pressed makeup applied to her pale skin. She’ll knock softly and ask how I’m doing and then quickly shove off from reality’s shore with something like,
“Last time I was here, we talked about what God’s Kingdom would look like when it’s finally established on Earth. Do you mind if I read you a passage from the Bible about that?”
I’ll nod my head, and off she goes pulling that sticky dogma from those pages so blissfully. When she’s done, she always asks me if I have any questions. Of course, I always do. She struggles to answer them, feeding me the same lines she did the last time she visited or just completely brushing it off with, “I’m not sure we’re built to fully understand that.”
I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s getting somewhere with the town heathen, but every time I see Kate, I feel sadder and sadder for her instead.
Yesterday, she arrived at around a quarter to noon. I answered the door, said hello and immediately the sun began beating me down. It was nearing 40 degrees celsius, which is 104 in Yankee Doodle, and she had a bright orange cashmere cardigan on. I was counting the beads of sweat pulling her perfectly applied makeup up from her top lip and her forehead.
“I haven’t been able to catch you recently. You’ve been busy!”
I nodded. I have been busy. Since the beginning of August, I’ve implemented a time-consuming fitness regimen that is brutally whipping me into shape while making dust of what little time I’d had to begin with. I walk and/or run nearly 4km every morning. Every day from noon until about 1:15, I swim vigorous and abusive laps, freestyle, at the local pool. Every evening, I take my kids out for another 4-5k walk to play Pokemon Go. I just got really sick of being an out of shape desk jockey one day and decided I was going to slaughter myself getting into running shape if I have to. So I am. And I’m tired. And I’m busy.
“I have, yeah. I’m usually doing laps at the pool when you normally stop by.”
Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open like she’d just seen Jesus himself.
“I used to do that, too!”
“You did? Over here at the local pool?”
“I did! For about eight months, and then I went to Mexico and never got back into it.” She threw her hands in the air.
“That’s what happened to me, too. I was swimming every day until I went to Mexico for Christmas, and then I just stopped when I got back.”
“So, how long have you been doing it this time, then?”
I told her I’d been at it for about three weeks so far.
“Well, maybe that will motivate me to get back to it, too! Is it still noon to 1?”
“It is. Maybe I’ll see you there.”
We said our pleasant goodbyes and she walked away, in the blistering heat, in her bright orange cashmere cardigan, patting the sweat off her face with a tissue.
As I turned to head back inside, I imagined what it would be like to have to do laps with my Jehovah’s Witness door-knocking proselytizer following in my wake.
I’d literally be swimming from Jesus.
If that doesn’t keep me motivated, I don’t know what the fuck will.