Despite having arrived 45 minutes early (50 if you wanna get technical) for the sole purpose of knowing that Lilla takes forever to get ready,1 I thought we would be late, first because Lilla couldn't find her money, then because she needed coffee, but then once we were on the bus, I was sure we'd have plenty of time. And we would have, except that I hadn't counted on getting lost. Reasons for getting lost:
A. I usually take the MAX to the church, not the 15. I knew the 15 was in the area, though, because I have taken the 15 home from there.
B. I forgot about the one-way streets.
C. The 15's route was all wonky, some kind of detours. At least one point had it going up the same route as the 15 going the other direction, though managing to go the right direction. So I was already confused.
D. The 15 started going in the opposite direction at one point, and I thought that meant we'd gone too far or something.
So at that point, we got out, and I soon got so lost I had to ask someone where the library was (because more people know where that is than the UU church). Once I knew where the library was, we were on our way to the church, but we were a couple minutes late because of it.
Well, it was better than I'd hoped. It was basically a hybrid, a cross between a Wiccan circle ritual and a normal Unitarian Universalist service. It started with closing the circle. There was some singing, some responsive reading, then there was this thing done in the dark, where we would call out something we wanted to lose to the night, and everyone chanted "____ is lost to the night" three times before the priestess said some ritual phrase related to it, that I forgot, before asking again for something to lose to the night. We did a couple dozen of those before she stopped, turned the light on, and we did some more singing. Then when we were seated again, there was a story told from India about the sun cow. Lilla quietly left the room partway into that story and hung out downstairs waiting for me. I didn't know why at the time, but later she said that she was already feeling a little overwhelmed at all the people there (this was in the sanctuary; if there had been people in the balconies, it would have been very very close to being just as full as the regular Sunday services), and the bit in the story about the man who was "on the outside looking in" was emotionally triggering for her.
After Lilla left the room, and the story was finished (sun cow lept into the sky so she could shine her light to ALL the villages and people), there was a bit that was... interesting. There were way too many people there for a circle, so they did something close to it, and had us holding hands and moving in a vaguely circle-ish manner chanting "welcome darkness, welcome light" in a wonky pattern that nonetheless got everyone going around the room once and then returning to their seats.
After that, there was a bit with these candles they'd handed out on our way into the room the first time. Ushers light the candles on the right sides, and our task was to light the candle of the person on our left while giving them a wish for peace or love or whatever else, and they give one back. There was more to the ritual, and there was singing and responsive reading (with the words on a projector screen so we didn't get wax or fire on the hymnals). Then the candle part ended with blowing our candles one row at a time, starting at the back. We sang "Deck The Halls," which is one of the few holiday songs I don't object to, and then they opened the circle. (The closing and opening of the circle was done by a procession of 4 or 5 children of various ages with bells and banners.)
When it was over, I went downstairs and found Lilla there already. Found out from her why she'd left. I got some punch and cookies. (That was surprising; they usually have coffee down there, and they didn't this time. They didn't even have hot water.) We hung around for another half an hour. We were both drawn to the piano because one of the circle closer girls was making pretty music on the piano. Lilla effortlessly (by my standards) socialized with her and some of the other kids. When they abandoned the piano, she took over trying to play something recognizable on it.
*Sigh* Children are an odd element for me. My Molly aspect always wants to socialize with them, since they're her equals, but one or more of the rest of us get uncomfortable around them more than around adults. Mostly from the societal bullshit about strange adults socializing with children that aren't their own. It sucks. I can't keep up with the more energetic kids, but I wouldn't mind being able to talk with kids like they were normal people; if not for the uncomfortableness, it would be a much simpler level of socialization for me. That, and I can make them laugh with jokes that adults just groan or roll their eyes at. :-D So I envy Lilla's seemingly effortless way with kids.
Anyway, when we finally left, there was a lot of internal shifting going on, switching amongst the various people in my brain. There'd been a little of that earlier, too, with either Fayanora or Shao'Kehn singing instead of me, but this was more pronounced. At one point Alex did something odd, and shifted form; the form he shifted to was Drow. Then Pi took over and settled against the cold while we waited for the bus. Once on the bus, there was a strong feeling of "sleepy dragon" coming from Pi.
Lilla started a conversation with a man who had to have been at least in his 80s. I tuned it out after the first minute or two, because it was clear that there was a trifecta working against me:
1. He was hard of hearing, requiring her to repeat herself a lot.
2. He wasn't talking very loudly, or very clearly.
3. I'm hard of hearing myself, and there was also noise. So most of what he was saying sounded, to me, like that trumpet noise on Charlie Brown TV specials. I caught snippets here and there, but I mostly ignored the conversation.
It also didn't help that I don't talk with people on the bus unless it's someone I'm already friends with. Anyway, when Lilla got off, I stayed on because I was heading home. The old man tried to continue the conversation with me. I was tempted to tell him that it was pointless, and why, but figured that with his near-deafness and my quiet voice, that it was pointless to try. So I nodded occasionally, or said "uh huh," pretending to be listening, until he got off.
Seriously, my voice is extremely naturally quiet. It always has been. For example, at the solstice service, when I called out "Depression!" at the top of my voice (felt to me like I was practically screaming), I had to repeat myself several times for the priestess to be able to hear what I was saying, and even then only because other people relayed it. Well, she had a little difficulty with hearing Lilla's suggestion, too, but Lilla didn't have to repeat herself more than once.
The wait for the 71 bus home took 25 minutes. I hadn't had anything to eat except a few cookies since around 3 or 4 pm, and it was almost 10 by then. (Ritual had taken about an hour and a half, and we left the church about 9 PM, had to wait about 15 minutes for the bus.) I got so damned hungry I went over to this cheese shop/restaurant to see if it was still open. Thankfully, it was. I really wanted cheese, but instead I got a baguette for $1.50. It held me over until the bus got to the stop, and til I got home.
Well, that's all.
1 = I suppose that's turnabout, in a sense; I take forever to get ready, by kengr's perspective.
Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org