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Turning the other cheek


I was sitting in church the other day when I had an epiphany, which is a far better place to have an epiphany than, say, a synagogue or mosque or temple.

My mind wandered a bit — don’t fret for my soul; it wasn’t during one of those all-important everlasting-life parts of the service, but during something more mundane, like the offering — and I realized that for all the hundreds of times we’d attended that church, we’d sat more or less in the same spot.

We perch along the right side, about a third of the way from the front.

Sometimes we have to move up or back a row or two, but we’re always drawn to the same few pews, and judging from the regulars in our corner of pewdom, we’re not the only ones. I tried to project myself sitting with the freaks on the far left, or the folks unable to pick a side who stick to the center, but it just seemed … wrong.

I reckon handedness doesn’t have anything to do with it: My wife’s a freak of nature, er, I mean, a lefty; I’m a righty, yet we both seem comfortable on the right side (though we are careful how we sit at restaurants, lest we bump elbows).

My churchly observation coincided nicely with a similar experiment in sidedness.

Awhile back, the keycard that grants me entry to my workplace broke off my neck lanyard, where it has resided for years. A few times, I rode with the card and my ID badge around my neck, but riding bent over my handlebars sometimes caused my badges to dig into my sunken chest.

So, whenever I rode, I instead slipped the badges in a front pants pocket. That worked out OK, but occasionally I’d be pedaling along, the badges would ride up a bit, and a sharp corner would dig into one of my doughy thighs. I’d sit up, pedaling furiously, and try to fish the shards out of my flesh.

When the keycard broke, however, I decided to put it in my wallet, and it was nothing short of a — pardon the religious term again — revelation. No longer did I need to remember the triumvirate of wallet-keycard-cell phone. More than once I remembered two of the three, but found myself lingering outside or pestering the folks inside over the intercom to grant me admittance.

I felt free. Unencumbered, even.

But there was a problem.

As soon as I got to work, I rolled in the front door as I usually do, bike in my right hand, opening the door with the left. We (my bike and me) wedged ourselves in the vestibule … and I found myself all mixed up.

Still bundled up in coat, hat, helmet and gloves, I tried criss-cross-applesaucing myself, holding the bike with my left hand as I tried to fish my wallet out of my back-right pocket with my right hand, but that didn’t work. I tried hooking the wallet out with my left hand behind the back, but no go.

Though a bit of gymnastics I managed to retrieve the wallet, swipe it across the entry pad, pivot, swivel and roll myself in the building.

Between that ride to work and the next, I spent an unusually (for me) large amount of time checking out boy booty to see where other fellas lugged their wallets. Unscientifically, I found most men preferred the right-rear pocket, like me. I saw a few lefties, too. Don’t know about all the guys in their skinny jeans; maybe they just slip their hipster wallets in their hipster man purses.

No biggie, right?

I decided to forego the contortions and carry my wallet in the left-rear during the next ride, thereby ensuring a breeze through the breezeway.

Trouble is, that simple switch threw my poor little pea brain into apoplexy. Granted, my wallet’s manly — big, thick, full of … uh, stuff — and sure to wreak all sort of havoc on my spine down the road, but who knew turning the other cheek would cause such a mindmelt?

I found myself catching my booty on the saddle every time I stood to pedal. The bifold felt like a stone every time I sat. I squirmed. I fidgeted. Good lord, what an awful ride.

Of course, at any of the many intersections at which I stopped, I could have reverted to my right-cheek form, but I didn’t want to concede defeat and tried to let mind triumph over caboose.

Didn’t happen.

I switched pockets and vowed never to try that exercise in cycling masochism again.

I have, however, found myself looking longingly at the pews on the left side.


RoeDapple 7 years, 2 months ago

Won't work. Those who sit on the left will become very quiet, move away from you and little children will begin to cry. The minister will stare at you over the top of his glasses and clear his throat repeatedly. No matter what you put into the collection plate, the usher will stand there like a hotel bellboy, staring at the ceiling, waiting for you to dig your billfold out of your left rear pocket and add more. Just continue sitting on the right. The choir director will appreciate your cooperation.

Been there, done that. Not a pretty sight . . .

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