You were right not to go to the Baptist Christmas dinner, Andrada. I've got that allergic reaction you warned me about and now I can tell from experience: the soul is a terribly hard place to scratch when you don't have one.
It started out all right, the food was nice and I had great company (attracted by the price: two pounds for a proper dinner did the trick for many godless internationals). But after the main course, before dessert, there was the inevitable sermon. A girl on a chair started shouting at us that, on our way back to campus, we might get hit by bus.
“After you die,” she yelled, “God will put you in a dark room and say that he wants to watch a video with you. You'll think that's pretty cool, watching a film with God, but as soon as the tape starts, you realise it's your life you're watching. Everything you've done, said and thought is in there. And after you've seen it all, God will say all your friends and your family are at the door and they are going to watch this film with you too. Now you'll think: wait a minute, they're not supposed to know all that about me! I don't want them to see I did and thought all that!”
You can call me an exhibitionist, but I wouldn't mind at all. I actually thought it's a shame I don't believe in God, who could be My Personal Memoir Writer. Here I am, spending all my time and energy trying to make a spot-on summary of my life, trying to capture exactly what I'm all about, while the Christians have got their own personal documentary maker, who follows them around everywhere they go and tapes all their witty or endearingly silly thoughts.
Sure, I might feel uncomfortable about them seeing certain scenes and finding out about certain thoughts or feelings. But if my folks are to see a complete film about life, there's not a single fragment I would want to leave out. I wouldn't want them to think I did not do all that – hell no, they might think I'm boring or have not lived at all! I'm proud of my life, of every aspect of it, even though at times it can be rough and cheesy, filthy and uncomfortable, too sentimental and too inconsiderate. I have lived through it all, and I expect my spectators to do the same.
While I was pondering upon this, the girl screamed on about God sacrificing his only son for us and the fact that Christmas is all about giving presents.
“And the gift we are giving you tonight, is this: that tape can be erased!”
Oh no, I thought, don't erase it, please! And I begged my body to reject the poisonous gift I had stuffed down my throat on the spot. Oh, how I would have rejoiced in some proper projectile vomiting! It would have been the most appropriate and welcome throw up I've ever performed, easily beating all those times I got rid of superfluous alcohol in my system and the occasional fit of bulimia. But no such luck, the spiritual type-ex was down there.
I found some consolation in a glass of cider afterwards (no, they wouldn't serve alcohol for two pounds only): there was no tape to erase in the first place. But still, the Baptist Christmas dinner was the most tasteless food I've ever had, and I'm disgusted with myself for having eaten it. You were right, Andrada.