GIF Alert: I wanted one quote from Mrs. Bennet. I got carried away.*
I swear my mother was not always like this. And I’ll say it again: I don’t mean to make my mother out to be physchotic or domineering or ridiculous, because she is none of those things. I adore her, she is my hero, and I know she is just being a mother.
But lately her behavior has become so baffling that the rest of us just have to laugh.
Sunday evening, Jo was coming back to her seat and entered through Dad’s side of the pew, which meant climbing over half of the family to reach her place. When Mom asked why, Jo said, “Ok, don’t freak out but,” and pointed to the person at the other end of the pew.
Mom glanced over. “Ooo!”
Yeah. I had decided to exercise my right as the eldest and claim a seat at one end of our group, but there was still a gap between me and the end of the pew. While I was away helping graduates line up for our graduation service, a new guy took that empty spot.
We all tried to play it cool.
I suppose I should mention something else here. Myself and my sisters were all given (upon our request) promise rings between our 16th and 18th birthdays. We all wear them regularly, on our wedding ring fingers, and for the most part we forget about them. But people I have known for years and whom I regularly see at church have spotted the ring over the years and jumped to ask if I was engaged.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Jo went to pay for her food at the Taco Bell drivethrough and the guy taking orders saw her ring and asked, a little disappointedly, if it was an engagement ring.
“I’m thinking of trying a social experiment,” I declared to Jo last week.
“I’m going to wear my ring on my right hand and see what happens.”
I know, I know. I’ve got on my virtual soap box that is this blog and declared that I am not desperately seeking a husband and that I’ve come to grips with the notion of possibly remaining single for my entire life. I’m still content with those notions, but what girl doesn’t want to know that she’s at least interesting?
Sure, we’re supposed to be content and self-confident without needing validation from others – because we’re suppose to be content in God and His love is all the validation we need – but that’s easier said than done. I am content in the knowledge that God loves me as I am and made me this way for a purpose, but validation from people about whose love you are already confident doesn’t really have the same effect as validation from people you don’t know as well. (Also, when the only guys who have ((openly)) shown an interest in me were 4-5 years younger than me, I started to get a little baffled)
So: social experiment. (And in my defense, my ring fits better on my right hand when my fingers aren’t swollen.)
Last night at Bible study, a newcomer showed up and chose a seat in front of Jo and I, next to the singing banker I’ve told you about. Jo caught my eye, raised her eyebrows questioningly, and made a motion around her right ring finger. I showed her the ring I had moved before Bible study.
Matt introduced this new guy, including the fact that he had just moved here from Iowa. As my and Calli’s family have a longstanding joke about Iowa, I texted Mom and Dad to tell them about it.
This was my parents’ reply (and yes, I have a group message with just them in it):
Not you, too, Father! (Also, what is it with our family and gingers? Nina’s boyfriend is a ginger, the Banker is a ginger….)
Before I could reply, Mom asked if he was the same person as the guy from the night before.
Not the same as the guy from last night, I answered. That guy didn’t talk to me but he did help dismantle the fellowship hall.
(Our church doesn’t have a designated tear-down crew for cleaning up after showers and potlucks; instead, the ladies in charge of food recruit the last people present.)
Then I refused to take a picture, so Mom said she would ask Jo.
She’s sitting behind him, I texted. You’ll get his head.
Well, in the end, what could I do? I’ve certainly stalker-snapped photos of other newcomers before for Mom’s benefit.
At the end of Bible study, the new guy turned to Banker to ask him something, and I took a stealth shot.
Mom wasn’t impressed. All I got was Hmmm.
She asked his age and whether or not he was here with family. I told her all I knew: his name.
Then Banker- Yeah, I have to give him a name. We’ll call him Charlie.
Hem. Charlie turned to me to start up a round of Polite Conversation. Why not? I played along. I even managed to introduce a Topic of Mutual Interest. Then, in a truly bold move for Phoebe Morryce, I Included the New Guy.
In record time, employing my developing talents in Asking Questions and Listening, I had more information for my mother.
I lost her at “He’s an engineer”.
(And yes, in my darker moments, I do hear her speaking to me in this voice. -> )
Don’t worry. I managed to foil things in true Morryce fashion by getting too enthusiastic and telling Charlie about how Dad was helping me choose a gun to buy (and had been sending me pictures all through Study of possible choices). When New Guy clarified this Change of Topic, he stuttered to a stop and just stared at us for a moment before he found a way to reinsert himself into the conversation.
So my family doesn’t break in newbies gently. If they can’t deal with it, then they clearly aren’t The One.
By the time we left, I felt giddy; not because I had met a new guy who seemed nice, but because I had managed to hold a conversation with not one, but two, young men without looking stupid or saying anything (too) ridiculous. I even managed to ask Matt (with Eli’s prompting) which basketball teams played last night, and could name one of the players (though not his team).
All this comes after a high I got off of an interaction I had with total strangers at the work fundraiser last week. They had wandered into our room and were wondering aloud about what our company did, so I told them. And I did it while maintaining my composure, talking in complete sentences, correctly answering their questions, and remaining coherent. One of them even gave me a genuine compliment when I said I had only worked here for three months.
There may be hope for my social skills yet.
On the ride home, while discussing these exciting new prospects with Jo, I admitted at her prompting that, yes, a part of me thinks it would be awfully amusing if Keith decided to like me. (Somehow, one of us always brings any relationship conversation back to that poor guy.) My subconcious is still drawing parallels between my life and Pride and Prejudice. I’ve stopped fighting.
*Well, I didn’t do too badly. Still didn’t find a gif of the quote I wanted to use, though.
In other news:
1) When Jo and I went to get some breakfast food at Sunday school this past Sunday, I was the first one to the orange juice. Chuckling evilly, Jo offered me her cup. “Want some orange juice?” We dissolved into giggling as I smacked her.
2) I use a puppet in my classes on Sundays, and I’ve
been working to develop his voice. The other day, I realized that voice had become Jane’s imitation of Darcy in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.