(Hey, it's not the worst place to have one's head.)
I know I just posted a few hours ago when all too often days or weeks go by without so much as an annoying peep from me, but I could not resist posting from 35,000 feet up on a Chicago-bound Delta flight. You see, for all the emphasis on homeland security especially effecting airports and air traffic, THEY offer Wi-Fi right on the airplane. In flight even.
So I guess Mother Knoll has higher security standards than the FAA. This surely explains the new security swipe-card system being fine-tuned even as I post. In a matter of days the ubiquitous X key will go the way of the Walsh Building and rotary phones and only the special security card will admit you to one of the eight (of 32) doors from the outside. Till then the soon-to-be defunct keys will still let you in from the quadrangle near the R-wing elevator and near the M-Wing elevator.
Also, if you've already read my earlier post today, that list of meddling committees is by no means exhaustive. Trust me, the Maryknoll members are equal opportunity annoyers. Perhaps this is but a reflection of the overall frustration in the body politic with anyone in authority. Diminishment and limitations are potential sources of deep spirituality, if one takes the time and energy to plumb their depths. If not, well, you end up with a houseful of cranky, old men.
Meanwhile, men complain the Knoll is turning into a "prison" with all the rules and extra safety measures. Consider the 12+ surveillance cameras both outside and inside the building that create a comforting illusion of security while, at the same time, fostering a disquieting sense of paranoia. Nice. Also a special antenna will soon be installed in our tower so we can get live TV feeds from St. Patrick's Cathedral. Nunc dimitis, Domine, servum tuum...
Now if we could only catch the Maryknollers (from outside the Center, I'd wager) who made off with entire sets of summer vestments, or the guys who help themselves to community newspapers and magazines, or who borrow books from our library to help the cousin of a parishioner overseas, maybe this expense for extra security would be justified.
As it stands, what has saved us thus far from an unfortunate and tragic incident such as seem to occur throughout the country on an almost daily basis is, in fact, either dumb luck or divine intervention. Surely asking all would-be thieves, kidnappers or murderers to sign in at the reception desk doesn't seem much of a deterrent, don't you think? Although offering Purell hand sanitizer is a nice touch. And what is with that offering box within six feet of entering the building? So whatever committees thought these brainstorms up, consider yourselves called out and offended.
The good news or break in the storm clouds is that the house committee and Regional Council and Center Coordinator and physical plant and Channel 15 all seem to be in agreement that those tacky bulletin stands, often numbering as many as five and making our rotunda look like ye olde roadside Burma Shave signs (remember?), have got to go. In their place and discreetly on the wall, a flatscreen monitor will scroll up-coming events and visitors.
Of course this requires electric wiring and Lord only knows what other committees have to sign off on it (Remember it took six MONTHS to get the statue of Our Lady of Maryknoll moved from being shunted to a corner of the rotunda into her present place of honor on the Spellman Room.)
Speaking of which, why do we need yet another sign indicating where the Spellman Room is, when there is no public event in the Spellman Room that day or all week? Mayhaps the person who used to spend so much time putting the letters and numbers on the bulletin stands, can use 15 seconds to remove or re-place the Spellman Room sign as needed---or not. All this is to restore some dignity to our main entrance which, alas, is starting to resemble a yard sale.
I leave you with an observation on these above topics by Fr. Ed Szendrey, who opined over lunch outside one day last week, that given the current trend, in less than 25 years we will read: "Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods."