Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Gum-Chewing Lady Saga

People are often amused to discover my disdain for sunglasses. Not on me - though I don't really wear them myself - only the polarized ones when fishing - but on people to whom I am attempting to communicate. Talking to a person wearing sunglasses is akin to talking to a person with their back to you. They can hear you, you can hear them, but, still, something's off.

Neither do I like gum.

Chewing gum at mass (who is not a child) takes the cake, though.

I noticed the "gum-chewing lady" a while ago, but told no one about her, that is, until that day when I discovered she lived kitty-corner behind my friends' house! "Aha, it's the gum-chewing lady!" I exclaimed.

I saw her again at church today smacking away. First of all, aesthetically speaking, it's not good. There is something decidedly off-putting about someone perpetually eating, which is what chewing gum amounts to.

Secondly, and more importantly, it's mass! There is an argument to be made that old gum does not violate the Eucharistic Fast because nothing is being taken into the stomach. Fine, but the letter of the law went out with tassels and phylacteries. The spirit of the law is that the whole person should be engaged upon the Food of Eternal Life being prepared at the Table of the Lord.

Yes, I kept an eye on her (why spend all your time praying at mass?), and, to her credit, somewhere between the consecration and her reception the gum disappeared.

I know we all have habits - and some of them rather annoying to our fellow men - but, seeing that she can go the ten minutes from communion to the end of mass without gum, could she not extend it just a little while longer, to include all of mass? Think of how sweet that first Wrigley's will taste as you walk down the steps of the church!

I don't know what it matters, but the lady in question is at least in her 60s. Perhaps it strikes me so keenly because I always hope for 'higher' things from that generation. Mine is the generation that has no idea of etiquette - hats indoors, that kind of thing. Theirs is the one that we count on to know better, and to scold us for it
I am disappointed in you, gum-chewing lady! You have let my generation down.

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