I have a nasty little addiction to advice columns. I assume it started way back in the late 80s, when I was secretly learning not very much about sex and relationships from Dr Joyce Brothers in Good Housekeeping. I also write a lot of letters to the editor, by the way. I’ve had two of my advice-seeking letters published, and a third will run next month. Yes, advice columnists are the only people who publish me beyond me on my blogs. It’s just about as depressing as you’d think.

Did I mention that I’d sent something to the Virginia Quarterly Review? Before a boss drove an employee to suicide and the offices were shut down pending internal investigation? So, I don’t expect to receive my rejection slip from them as soon as I’d thought.

I wrote this most recent letter about the pastor’s incredibly squishy boundaries. I tell him that I won’t discuss things, that I don’t feel topics are appropriate, or, in the case of the fellow burning Qurans in Florida, that they depress the hell out of me and I don’t want to think about them–and he keeps on talking. About menopause or poo or hate speech or who he thinks I’m dating. He literally just left my office after describing to me the plot of the film The Killing Fields. If you think I needed that little picker upper in my workday, you’re crazy. I kept telling him to stop, that I had deliberately not seen the movie or read the book because it would make me too sad. But he kept talking!

I get really involved with bad things that happen in the world, and I’ve finally realized that maintaining a glancing knowledge of certain things is more than enough to make me a conscientious, concerned person. Do I need to read horrifying descriptions of the lives of sex trafficked women and children? Nope. Working and praying on their behalf is much more productive, I have to believe, than gorging on horror.

I have boundaries, and I really, really like them. The pastor, it seems, has none. I’ve been debating whether I should complain about him to someone beyond my devoted readership. Things that merely irritate me, could be rather more problematic than others. I mean, talking to someone he just met about his dead sister seems bad for the church. Talking to some hapless elderly woman who can’t half hear him about his bowels does too. And telling me about his wife’s breast reduction is just… awful for everyone, and the sort of thing a litigious person may pause at.

I’m going to take this bitchfest on the road, kiddies, per the advice of my friendly neighborhood advice columnist. Isn’t that, supposedly at least, my guiding principle, my key to santity? Do something about it or get over it? So I’m going to send a very carefully worded email to his mentor explaining what the problem is and asking him to deal with it diplomatically on my behalf. It’s not really my job here to explain to the pastor the finer points of human interaction, now is it.

Now, some minor fragments of the workday:

  • the fellow at church who pays for and controls through sheer douchebaggery our church website had a passive aggressive email exchange with the fellow who actually does the work on it. They both have a small, hilarious “reply all” problems that caused me to be able to read the whole series.
  • one of the construction workers here is extremely handsome but is marred by some of the most cliched tattoos in the history of tattooing.  Does anyone really require both barbed wire and a tribal band on the same bicep?  I think not.
  • we’re moving from two services to a single, blended service on Sunday mornings.  The change starts this week.
  • said change involves a lot of asinine misuse of language and silly second guessing.  Does the word “blended,” for instance, frighten people off?
  • Also, the lead guitarist left the church in a huff.  I don’t know why.  I suspect it has to do with his terrible songwriting and/or his terrible ego and the ways in which they intersect with the new service style.
  • I never see the fanciest woman in the church except on days my hair and/or makeup look like hell.  It’s raining.  I overslept.  Whatever.

And now, some Pixies