Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time's Up -- Done Listening?

Way back when my husband was the pastor of a teeny-tiny church in a teeny-tiny town, grocery stores introduced the first lightweight plastic bags. Several of the ladies in the teeny-tiny congregation used the bags to carry their Bibles to church. At noon, whether the sermon was done or not, out came the bags [scrunch, scrunch] and in went the Bibles [scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, scrunch]. He quickly learned to heed the hints of the scrunchy bags and give the closing prayer.

Some of those scrunchy-bag ladies were very sweet, but the noise meant they were done with listening. Time for dinner, time to chat, time to be done with church, no offense intended.

I wished I'd had a scrunchy bag last week. Sitting in classes all day, listening and processing things I wished I didn't have to listen to or process. It got old. It made me exhausted. I was ready to be done listening before the closing prayer (if there had been one) was said.

All things considered, however, it was good that I sat there, good that I endured, good that I didn't use the scrunchy-bag technique. I learned things I needed to learn, I applied things I needed to apply, and I pondered things that needed pondering. It was good that all of us sat quietly, took it all in, and thought about what to do with the new information.

My library has introduced a new kind of bag for patrons. It's a new material, made of plants or vegetable oils or something, and it's soft and very quiet. No more scrunchiness! Bless their hearts, what would those ladies do now? They'd pull out their bags, shuffle their Bibles and bulletins into them, and the preacher would never hear a bit of it! Maybe they'd get to listen to that final tag at the end of the sermon, the one that wraps up the whole message, the one that you're supposed to take home and ponder.

Besides that, if the bag is biodegradable and non-toxic, you could probably take a bite and chew on it so you don't die of hunger before you get home to dinner.


Cindy Kay said...

Yes Ive smelled those bags too. Hmmm french frys anyone? Oh and dont get them wet. It must activate the decomposing process :) Just in case you didnt know.

Katharine said...

Yum. Another chance to be thankful for anosmia.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you listened to everything. Is it all over now?

I love the post, and didnt' for one minute feel like scrunching a bag!

Miss Kitty said...

Hahahahahaaaaa! Scrunchy bags! If only my grandmother had used those on our pastor...she usually just wrinkled up her nose as if she smelled something nasty, and THEN he knew it was time to wrap up. :-)

I haven't yet smelled the new biodegradable bags. Should I want to? Or will it make me hungry?

Katharine said...

For the sake of accuracy, here's the official word on the makeup of the bags:
The eco-friendly bags, called BioBags, are 100 percent compostable and biodegradable. BioBags are produced from cornstarch and vegetable oil, rather than polyethylene, which is used to produce most plastic bags. The material that is used to make BioBags is called Mater-Bi and contains GMO-free starch and other renewable resources. Even the inks and dyes that are used to color the bags are soybean-based. It may take more than 100 years before a plastic bag even begins to degrade, whereas BioBags are designed to decompose in a year.

Pprmnt, sorry, but it's only just begun. But the classtime is over.

Miss Kitty, just keep the ketchup handy and you'll be fine with the new bags.

Mark Goodyear said...

What a fantastic image of the bags. It reminds me of John Medina's new book, Brain Rules, though. In that book John says the human attention span is 10 minutes. Period. Every ten minutes, a speaker MUST reestablish connection and regain attention.

Not to excuse the scrunching bags, of course.

But you even follow Medina's rule with the length of this post. (Thanks!)

Katharine said...

Mark, it's nice to know that I followed one rule this week. Now I can relax!