Taking no prisoners. Including herself.

Walking to work this morning, I played a game I often play: the “Close Your Eyes and the First Thing You See Upon Opening Them Will Inspire Your Next Piece of Writing” game. And how do I know when to open my eyes? I don’t know. I just do.

The first time I did this I was walking down California St. thinking about a recent post of mine — about being in the library and having a drive-by proselytizing incident. I felt kind of bad about it, like I had given the impression I was anti-religion or something. I’m not. I’m just a “jerk” about personal space, is all.

So I closed my eyes hard, as is the game, then opened: St. Mary’s Church. Akin to breaking open a fortune cookie, getting an unsatisfactory fortune and so deciding to go in for another cookie, I closed my eyes again.

This time I was walking through Chinatown, along Grant Street. I closed my eyes, and left them closed longer, thinking “length of time” would equal “quality of result.” I was just beginning to feel my eye muscles scrunch in disorientation when SPLAT! A raindrop fell right between my eyes like a bindi. I thought that was a good sign to open them.

And speaking of signs, I opened them to a 2-foot-tall ceramic Jesus with flames coming out of his head. I was so alarmed that I quickly closed my eyes again, and opened them back up just as rapidly: only to come face-to-face with a homeless man in a neon orange vest. He looked at me and said “it’s all garbage.”

I opened my eyes wide and then realized he was, in fact, cleaning garbage. I blinked. But what was he sweeping into his trash bin but a piece of paper with my name on it. I freaked out, closed my eyes without even knowing what I was doing, opened them and looked: across the street was a sign that read “Open Now, 24!”

Now, just below the “24″ was the scribbled word “hours” indicating, of course, that this restaurant was open 24 hours. But my nickname at work is “24″ and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t playing the “Open Your Eyes” game. I knew what this meant.

I closed my eyes again, one last time, to quadruple check. For good measure. Just to be sure. When I opened them again, I saw a priest, a rabbi, and a monk walk into a bar.

I’m kidding. I opened up my eyes and just saw the city. Nothing special. Streets. Closed shops. People. An old woman approaching me, leaning on a cane, talking to another old lady friend. The first old lady tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, and faltered.

“Jesus-frickin’-Christ,” she mumbled. That was it. I knew what I had to do. I mean, all the signs added up: a church, a flaming Jesus head, my name in the garbage, my nickname with a call to action, and a swearing old lady.

I have to go back to church.

Launching mini-project Project Steeple, an exercise where over an indeterminate number of Sundays with absolutely no time or writing parameters, I will try my hand at exposing myself to various religions / philosophies around San Francisco.

God willing.

§155 · March 16, 2006 · Steeple, This Modern Life · · [Print]

4 Comments to “LAUNCHED: (Mini-)Project Steeple”

  1. royarose says:

    i’m sure my momma would love it if you joined her at Glide!

  2. dougPfresh says:

    If you’re into flaming jesui (plural for jesus) check out the church of John Coltrane…not quite jesus but still J.C…..this whole thing about your name on a piece of paper in chinatown seems suspicious….

  3. I'm keeping score says:

    My favorite, by far. Whad up with Church though shanny? Feeling guilty about something?

  4. Kathi says:

    This is one of my favorites. I hope you find the proper inspiration. If you do, I’ll go with you!

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