People often remark on how the church is the same anywhere you go. Unfortunately, it’s true.
I’m currently in Arizona, scoping out housing, and it’s kind of a surreal experience. I’m having quadruple déjà vu. As I drive around looking for places, it’s just like when I did this 4 years ago in Ohio. Being lost constantly, meeting tons of people who I may never meet again, sleeping in my car (I wasn’t going to pay 50 bucks for a motel room, that’s ridiculous) Being surrounded by Mormons, having to figure out ward boundaries is just like being back at BYU. The 100 degree temperatures and brown landscape is just like being back in Idaho. Getting things started for work at the hospital is just like med school. Having everything be new, but also very similar to a different past experience is a little disconcerting. It probably didn’t help that the first day I was working on 2 hours of sleep and the second I was working on car sleep.
But speaking of the church being the same everywhere you go, single ward awkwardness pervades every singles ward. On Saturday I went to a talent show, because hey, there was a talent show. Now the fact that there were 400 or so people watching the talent show was new. And admittedly, most of the participants were much better than average. Turns out they had had auditions, which is kind of mind boggling, but also great.
The first awkwardness was from the audience: I saw some of the oddest PDA ever. This girl had her arm around her fiancé’s neck. The gigantic ring tipped me off on their relationship, but maybe she wanted to make sure everyone knew with her PDA. Arm around neck isn’t so weird, except it was around the front of his neck, with her hand wrapping around to rest on his occiput (the base of the back of his head.) There is no possible way her contorted position was comfortable for her or her future hubby. But she kept it there for over an hour. The next day at church I saw another new one. This guy had his face pressed against his girl’s face for nearly the entirety of sacrament meeting. Which wouldn’t be as odd if they were both facing the same direction, but he was perpendicular, with his nose pressed into her cheek. Weirder still, he was wearing sunglasses the entire time.
Anyway, the awkwardness continued on stage. The first questionable act involved modified blackface. Modified, because it was hand puppets, so it was black hand. But still, having your black hand puppet speaking to your white hand puppet in a “black dialect” (good thing I’m not a politician) seemed questionable. More objectionable in my mind was when the Elders Quorum presidency donned fat suits (both male and female) and did yoga, while eating junk food in between positions. That was the act, with some dancing to and from the stage. The most surprising thing was that the judges (there were judges, which also made things interesting) liked it, 2 of them giving it a 9/10. I think it would have been more funny if there had been jokes in the comedy act, but evidently I don’t have my Arizona humor yet.
Anyway, I sound negative but overall the show as great, and the trip has been productive and entertaining so far. Except for yesterday when I went to 5 wards, which was painful. But otherwise, it’s been pretty pain free.