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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Omnia Maryknoll in duo partes divisa est

FORGET the three-headed hydra known as the Maryknoll "Entities", I am referring to that which divides the men living at the Center (and inadvertantly the guys passing through) into two distinct and rival camps.

No, it's not conservative vs. liberal, Fathers vs. Brothers, True Believers vs. men ordained after Vatican II, nor even Catholics vs. guys stuck in the 1970s. The two parts into which men at Maryknoll are divided (and it is a lopsided divide at that) is between the majority of men who eat inside in the dining room no matter how halcyon the weather, and those who'll stubbornly eat outdoors even in the midst of a hurricane.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am of the outdoor-at-all-cost persuasion and cannot, for the life of me, understand why some guys won't eat outdoors when the sky is crystal clear, the temperatures in the mid 70s and the humidity low. My theory is they are afraid the pleasant weather and happy banter may force them to crack a smile, which could be painful for atrophied lips. Another possibility is they do not want to be associated with "that group" (let the reader take note). I can only speculate as to their twisted motives for eating indoors. If they care to share their side of the story, let them post a comment or start their own bleeping blog.

Seems to me the guys indoors tend to discuss two topics: sports or their most recent medical procedure. When a major league baseball player undergoes a colonoscopy, those guys are in heaven. Conversations outside range from the scriptural to the political to the theological to the heretical, with ample references to "Moonstruck" or a recent Broadway smash. And much laughter.

You can always tell the "newbies"---guys who gamely try to eat outdoors every four months or so. They will boldly stake out a claim at the very first table and situate themselves right behind the stone pillar. Going outside and sitting behind a wall seems to miss the point.

Alas, as summer fades our days outdoors are coming to an end. Soon we will all be forced to rejoin the indoor crowd and listen to endless football scores and the latest angioplasties. Or silence.

Isn't community life swell?

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