Saturday, November 20, 2010

Odor of Sanctity

Last Friday evening, I went to the movies with another Jesuit. We bought our tickets early, went to a diner for dinner, and then walked back over to the theater with enough time before the start of the film to ensure that we'd get good seats. Having secured seats, I turned off my phone and slid into my seat so that my feat rested on the unoccupied seat in front of me.

Moments before the movie began, two men sat directly behind us. I would have taken no notice of them, really, save for the fact that one of them seemed to be an aggressive nose-breather. At least, that's what I thought at first. Over time, I began to wonder if it wasn't simply the case that he had forgotten a tissue and had a case of the drippies. Still, I ignored the snuffing and snorting as I became more and more engrossed in the movie.

After a time, though, I became acutely aware that the sound of the sniffing was growing perilously louder. Not louder as though he were wrestling with a particularly stubborn train of mucous, mind you. Louder as in, "I think this guy is right next to my ear." Just as that though flashed through my mind, I felt something brush against my head: the man, it appeared, was sniffing my (scant) hair!

Now I admit, I do use a particularly delicious-smelling shampoo (it's some tea tree mint concoction that was on sale the last time my shampoo ran out. It was both plentiful and cheap and, as I'm balding, a little goes a long way). In fact, when I lather my balding pate the smell of the shampoo usually makes me hunger for cake frosting. Anyway, I had taken a shower just prior to leaving for the theater so, I suspect, the smell of the shampoo still lingered. At least, I'm assuming this: I can't say I noticed the smell but, it appears, the fellow behind me sure did.

So there I am, frozen in place as the man behind me in a dark theater is sniffing my head, and I am rendered mute. Rare event indeed. Listing from one side of the seat to another, I moved my head to the other side of the headrest in hope of evading the shadow sniffer. It does seem to have worked, although I remained frozen in place for the next two hours fearing the thing that goes *sniff* in the night.

In other news,

Hockey season begins today. I'll be heading off to the rink for the 5:30 game. This will be the midpoint of a day that involves: picking up the remaining prizes at Best Buy (the prizes to be awarded to the high earners for Pledge Detroit!),  writing a test for the sophomores, finishing my treatment of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil for my senior philosophy class, composing a college recommendation letter, cleaning my room, meeting my formation director, and meeting a friend for cocktails this evening. A busy day, indeed!

I'll be at the Mid-American Oireachtas, the regional championships for Irish dancers, next weekend. This year the event is being held in Chicago where I'll get to see family and friends for the whole weekend. I return to Detroit on Sunday night only to depart on Monday for a three-day conference on communications being held in Tampa, Florida. Then on the third, we have a dance - the "Santa Bash" - that the Student Senate is running and that I will be chaperoning. So I probably should sign the contract for the two artificial snow machines I want to rent and the strobe lights that will help to supply some of the special effects....

In the wake of Pledge Detroit - the long run-up to the event and the weeks of collecting and counting now over $151,000 - I am glad to return to the normalcy of teaching. I cannot but be grateful to God for such a spectacular event and I am equally grateful to the support of my Jesuit brothers and my colleagues who worked so hard on this initiative. This year we raised, so far, $32,000 more than last year. I think this is the mark of a good spirit of resurgence in our city and I hope that U of D Jesuit is the leader among other institutions in committing ourselves to this city.

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