We have always been taught to be polite. Not in only in our words but in our actions as well. From the home, to the school, to the workplace, we have always been reminded to be careful with what we say because the words that come out from our mouths and how we act signify what kind of persons we are. Especially if one has kids , worst, if one happens to be a senior, in terms of age in a team. They observe and absorb the words and all the things you do. At times it takes an effort to keep your mouth shut or better yet, become mindful on your reactions to certain uncompromising situations.
It has been a long time that I had practiced my religion. That does not mean I do not pray anymore. Since I started working, I rarely hear mass but that does not mean I do not visit the church. I do find it hard not to sleep, worst , snore when I do hear mass. That is one of the tradeoffs of working on graveyard shifts. And since I need to work, I just make do by simply making my religion a personal one. But there was a time when I dropped everything just to hear mass and that was when my teammates decided to bond together after shift.
We were newbies and still adjusting to our closing shift which was from 5:00 in the morning till 1:00 in the afternoon. Our team decided to go to church first then have lunch after that. And so that’s what we did. Everything was going fine, I even joined the singing , until I smelled something. A smell that cannot be denied, that my nostrils cannot escaped from . I was trying my best to reject the scent, but the more that I pushed myself the stronger it became. I am not sure if it was the combination of sleepiness or hunger pangs, but I was starting to get dizzy. So I told my teammate, Faith, whose name was so appropriate because it seems, I am almost running out of it, of the situation.
I told her , “If I collapse any minute, will you be kind enough to carry me?”
She immediately became worried and asked me what’s wrong. So I told her the reason while pointing my underarm.
“Mommy please behave, you are inside the church.”
I felt like a kid that had just been reprimanded, but I was just being honest. I mean what did she want me to do, tell the stranger next to me that I am about to faint because of her body odor? That would be impolite. Besides, we were inside the church, hearing mass and it would be brutally frank if I tell her how she smells.
So I asked for guidance, enlightenment and strength to hold on. I just had one ardent wish. That is for her not to go near me, and of course that the mass would end sooner. Until the priest said, “Let us show each other our sign of peace.”Heaven forbid, please spare me,” I told myself. My teammates kissed me, telling me ” Peace mommy.” Finally, I did the inevitable, I faced the person next to me and trying my best to smile, told her “Peace be with you.” But what my seat mate did next almost made me cry. She hugged me in return.
I almost died.
After I finally got a hold of myself, I looked at my teammates, and found out they were trying their best not to laugh.
After that day, I promised myself, that if things can be avoided, I will never, ever hear mass when I am hungry or sleepy.