Every year the church where I work has a couple of big tag sales or rummage sales or whatever you call them where you’re from. One is planned for later this week. Sunday morning a nice, older woman I’ll call Maggie told me that she had some tops she had just bought but decided weren’t really “her,” that she was going to donate. She thought that they looked like something I might like, so she’d donate ’em to me first. I could put the ones I didn’t care for in the sale. I love old lady clothes, and I had in mind secretary blouses or shirts with peter pan collars or something. Retrospectively, Maggie’s not quite old enough enough for a penchant for old lady clothes–but neither is she young enough for the massive pile of maternity tee shirts she just stacked on my desk.

The pastor came in a moment ago and we had the following conversation:

Did you hear about the imans (sic) in Iran?

I don’t know. What?

They’re saying you caused all those earthquakes. Or people like you.

Pardon me?

They’re saying it was caused by the judgment of God against loose women!

Pardon me?

I mean… You know…

Did you just say I’m a loose woman? Is that what you seriously just said?

I was, ah, talking about the way you dress and stuff.

The way I dress?

Today I’m wearing faintly 70s-ish trouser jeans, a black tee shirt, platform shoes and a grey checked scarf in my hair, incidentally.

You know, by middle eastern standards… you’re kind of… in the Muslim world…

Why don’t you say good morning? I’ll say good morning. You’ll go into your office, and we’ll pretend this conversation never took place.

Good idea.

He’s a nice enough man. He does have a terrible problem putting his foot in his mouth, though.