I sent this tweet today at lunch.
Said to an obnoxious person a few moments ago. It is not that you are a Christian that angers me, it is what you do as a Christian.
I’ve had a half-dozen requests for the story behind the tweet. Here it goes. As I sat listening to the New York Times Review of Books’ podcast on my iPod, I was interrupted by an odd angry woman. I was sitting in a public park, enjoying the sunshine as the sole user of 5 picnic tables. I was reading poetry, using noise-canceling headphones for the podcast and smoking my last Partagas black label Piramide. In short, I was in my personal version of heaven. An interruption by the Swedish Bikini team would have pissed me off. A interruption by a holier-than-thou bible lady was enough to light my fuse.
She stood in front of me until I noticed her. I shook my head no while making shooing motions with my hands. I did not even want to know what she wanted. She grew impatient and then reached for my cigar. That got my attention. I was angry and annoyed. She was a total buzz kill. My response was not civil.
I took the headphones off to talk to her. She wanted me to quit smoking. I told her to fuck off. She pointed to the sign above my head on the light pole. It clearly said no smoking. I explained that I was not violating the spirit of the law as there were no people in the park and that I would put it out or move if other people arrived. This explanation did not suit her. She explained that as good Christians we should obey all of the laws and not just the laws that were convenient. She went on to blather about biblical authority or some such. I put on the headphones and cranked up the tunes. She pounded the table to get my attention. She screamed that she was calling the police unless I stopped smoking. I told her to go ahead. The fine is only $30 bucks, I did not care.
She started to lecture me. I can’t remember what she said. But she called me a few choice names, and in general, made an ass out of herself. By now I thought she was mental, but I still had half of a good cigar to burn so continued to smoke.
A sheriff drove by. She flagged him down to nark on me. He was nice, but in a hurry. He said he was too busy looking for a burglary suspect to address such a trivial issue. He added that if I were still smoking in a hour he would write me up. He winked as he left.
She unloaded on me for a few minutes. I smiled and smoked while pumping some Coldplay into my earbuds. She asked if I wanted to accept Jesus, which was unexpected given our conversation so far. I told her, “Hell no.” She finally asked, “Why are you so angry?” I ignored her. She asked, “Why I are you so hateful toward a good Christian woman?” That’s when I said, “It is not that you are a Christian that angers me, it is what you do as a Christian.”
She left a few minutes later. I think her soaps were on.