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September 8th, 2006


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08:42 am - Ghosti is alive and well in Ohio, and dreaming the WalMart Dream
This morning, I walked into my office and passed a car with the license plate at right.

Well, at least someone here gets it :)

Last night, I had a strange dream. It took place in a WalMart, and I was late getting there, but just on time. I was met back in the camping section by an attractive blonde executive-type, and asked to hurry up and follow her.

She took me back into a room filled with various priests in various states of "vestedness" (which, I suppose, is the clerical equivelant of "dress"), and she asked me where my robes were. For a moment, I panicked, thinking, "Damnit, I knew I forgot something this morning!" but was saved when the cute executive blonde said, "Nevermind. Just find some here. We have a number in stock for priests who can't afford to dress nicely enough for our standards."

At this, a number of the priests looked knowingly at each other, while an equal number gave me that, "Don't worry, we've been there" sort of look that is always strangely comforting.

Hanging on the wall were some very Catholic-altar-boy-looking vestments (they came to above the knee, were slightly yellow with age and lack of care, and were completely out of place for the Pagan service I knew I was going to give. I decided that my suit was good enough, and would cover it well, checked the time and saw it was about my turn to go out, and slipped out the front door.

There, I came out into the WalMart chapel. Yes, it is exactly what you envision with the words "WalMart chapel." The service going on before mine was still in full swing, and they were cutting into my time. I caught a sneer from the woman who was preaching, and I knew she was going over her time on purpose.

I scanned the crowd for my congregants, and saw my parents sitting about three rows back. I sat down near the left wall of the chapel, and they got up and came to sit near me.

I'd invited them because this was a major thing: this was our first service here, where we were on par with several other religions, given the same honours and duties as they were, and also our first real service where it could be considered truly "hostile territory."

"We're playing with the big boys now," I whispered to my dad.

"Yes, you are!" he whispered back.

At that point, I started running through my ritual. I suddenly had to take into account that my liturgical design had to work around pews and the sanitized, indoor feel of a WalMart: truly a trick, as you can imagine.

I let my mind roam freely, blocking out the sqwaking of the lady who was running into my service's time, and started imagining what I would say in such an atmosphere.

The rite was in summer, and I thought of the camping and outdoor area behind me, and my inspiration ran wild. There was something tangible that Joe Blow and Susie Shoppingcart could relate to: the feel of nature, regulated through bugspray, high gas prices to get into the world, and expensive Ozark Trail tents that are more like houses than canvas. That was the natural connection I needed to stress: not full abandonment to nature (the WalMart crowd wouldn't understand that), but cautious entry into the realm of the unknown and amazing, the wholely other that was the edge of civilaization.

I felt very good about the service, very calm and comfortable.

Then I woke up to my alarm, thinking I had to get to WalMart before the service started without me.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Time to Go Home", -JB

(14 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:September 8th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
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I always knew you were an odd one.

GHOSTI... is amazing. Did you leave them a note?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:September 8th, 2006 02:08 pm (UTC)
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You can, if you want. It's parked on the second floor of the parking garage, west side, near the stairs. It's a white Ford something or other.
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:September 8th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
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Maybe if I'm on my way to or from the study abroad building I will.

Boo that they are a white car though... that makes the name suspect. ;(
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:September 8th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
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Why suspect it? Why not just accept that your version of reality is the superior one here?
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:September 8th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
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True. If I feel so moved, I might leave them a note on my way to Oxley's. What, I wonder, should it say? A link to what 'ghosti' is? A thanks for being cool? My phone number and 'call for a good time'?
[User Picture]
From:tlachtga
Date:September 8th, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
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You do realize that Walmart is starting to introduce chapels to their stores.

I don't think it's a hoax--the Plymouth Meeting Mall near my house has a church in it; I used to go to Weight Watchers meetings there. (I also used to work at the mall, but I never used the church 'cause it was Protestant.)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:September 8th, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
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Well, the WalMart one is a hoax (according to a quick google search), but it's rather convincing. I like the "rollback offerings" bit. I can see a company that built a WalMart near the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan doing that. :)

Swear I hadn't seen that particular hoax before the dream, though :)
From:gothicsquish
Date:September 8th, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC)
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if you look at the comments, I think it was intended to be amusing/funny etc.
From:gothicsquish
Date:September 8th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC)
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that is the most intresting dream, with so much... intresting meanings.
[User Picture]
From:dqg_neal
Date:September 8th, 2006 07:36 pm (UTC)
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The "dress nicely enough for our standards" hit me.
It is something I keep coming across while following my faith. Not necessarily from the other side, but from within. Mostly as I look at the fullness of symbology in ritual vestments and try and think of an equivalent that would meet my own symbology as well as look official like and not silly.

My latest was looking into flax, and the original reasons for religious vestments. And I found even if I wanted to have all flax recognizable vestment, the best most sources give is 15% flax and mostly polyester junk. Even though flax was the original traditional for other religious practioners.

[User Picture]
From:odinkar
Date:September 8th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
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To echo what has already been said: what an interesting dream.

I'm sure that I could make some witty remark about the corporatization of religion, and the merging of it and capitalism in America, but instead I'll just leave with a quote from the cinematic extravaganza Road House:

"Dalton: If [paying rent] keeps you in the good graces of the church.
Emmett: Ain't it peculiar how money seems to do that very thing?"
From:fred_smith
Date:September 9th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
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How interesting. I do wonder about whether the future of religion will be kind of like that, eclectic, sanitised but hopefully teaching people something. A Good Dream.
[User Picture]
From:seamus_mcnasty
Date:September 9th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC)
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I just want to ride the pony for a quarter, get a haircut, order a sub and get my weekly sermon from Father Mike (all at the same time)...then I'm a happy Walmart shopper

Maybe we could do sermon in the claw game...grab the sermon you want, there is a winner everytime...which reminds me I want to do a mad-libs ritual
[User Picture]
From:wishesofastar
Date:September 9th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
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It's pretty sad when your dress isn't up to Walmart standards. I'm picturing a stained sweatshirt and sweatpants with a hole in the crotch as standard Walmart ware.

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