Wow, it's been almost a month since my last post. I've fallen off the grid a bit, I suppose.
And speaking of falling off the grid, I've been out of the church long enough that I no longer feel informed about the membership in my area. Since I went inactive, ward boundaries have changed, families have moved away, other families have moved in, and I no longer have the impression that I personally know the majority of local church members.
However, I have a semi-public job. I manage a fast food restaurant and interact with hundreds of local customers on a daily basis. I occasionally have customers with whom I once attended church. I had a short chat once with a customer whose family was perpetually bouncing back and forth between activity and inactivity (although it appears that this guy has made the transition into full inactivity). But now that I've been out almost five years, I'm well aware that there may be members I don't personally know hiding among the seemingly innocent populace.
A few mornings ago, I was having an unusually dull lunch rush. A drive-thru order came through on my headset. My shift supervisor took the nice lady's order, and I immediately noticed a distinctive Utahn accent. And my Mormon-Sense began tingling.
I paid close attention to her to see if I could find any more clues to confirm that she was, in fact, a Mormon. She ordered multiple children's meals. This was not, of course, a dead giveaway, but it worked with my theory. Mormons tend to have large families with the children not spaced very far apart in age. Not only was her accent Utahn, but her demeanor was weirdly polite in a way that jived with Mormon tendencies toward unnervingly genuine-sounding interactions. She paid with a credit card, and when the receipt came out of my printer, I indulged myself a glance at the name on the card. She had a strong Scandinavian surname, one that, while relatively common to begin with, is particularly common within the church. I think there were a few kids with this name in my graduating class, but the only people with this name that I'd known personally were LDS (a prominent family in my stake growing up, and a ward member my second year at BYU).
To pique my curiosity further, I made a point to hand her order out the window myself. She looked positively Mormon. She was dressed very modestly but with some attempt at fashion--sleeves and layers, but with a weird little beret on her head so as to avoid looking completely bland. Her hair was blonde, but it didn't look natural to me. I counted three children in the car (maybe one of them was too young to eat fast food?). She was pretty, and her mannerisms seemed to imply she was in her mid-to-late twenties, but she appeared to be in her early thirties. She looked tired, but still smiled and acted chipper. And when her car pulled away from the window, I checked the back of her car--and, to my satisfaction, I saw a "University of Utah Alumni" license plate frame.
Of course, every last bit of this is circumstantial and extremely subjective. But unlike the few times this has happened to me before, I had a name. So I shot my mother a text message asking if she new this lady (without explaining why). Unfortunately, she said that she didn't. So I suppose I could be wrong. What I'm thinking is more likely is that this lady lives in a different ward than my parents. Since neither of my parents has a stake calling anymore, it's very reasonable to assume that they wouldn't know most of the families that have moved into neighboring wards over the past year or two.
Now what I want to happen is for the missionaries to walk into my dining room some afternoon. I think I'd give them a free meal out of pity if I wasn't sure that such an action would send them the wrong message.