On Saturday night a big group of us went down to Provo for some girls birthday party. She was Claire's friend and Claire promised that there would be lots of fresh tail there for us to chase. Of course I should have known that a cute girl having a birthday party is like when the Elders Quorum decides to go paint-balling... lots of dudes all on the prowl, ready to shoot other dudes in the back.
I hung around Claire and Stephanie most of the night. They said they weren't too fond of Zoobies anyway.
Around 11:30, Claire says she needs to run to the store and asks if I want to come. I say yes of course and figure I might be able to see if she knows what everyone-else-I-talk-to-about-her-besides-her-thinks-she-knows, which I am still too chicken to just admit. On the way, she is explaining what she needs to buy for something that she was cooking the next day. I started wondering at what point I was going to get invited when Claire starts explaining how she was nervous that she wouldn't be able to find some certain spice brand that she had only been able to find at the Smiths in Murray.
I reminded her that it was open 24 hours and that we could stop by on the way home. She gave me a disappointed look and said in her disappointed voice, "We'll never make it by midnight, Jake." I looked at the clock in the car and it was 11:37pm. It suddenly dawned on me that Claire wanted to go to the store right now so that she could avoid breaking the Sabbath.
As much as I like Claire, we don't see eye to eye on everything. I usually just let what I feel to be self-righteousness go, but for some reason I decided this would be a good one to discuss.
I asked, "What are you going to do if we don't make it in time?" She looked at me, "Have a prayer in your heart, Jake. We can make it." I laughed and remembered when I was on my mission and my companion and I would bless the the grocery store as we drove by so that all of the food we bought from there would be blessed... just in case we got so incredibly hungry that we forgot (which happened frequently) to bless the food... I was about to tell Claire that story when she asked me, "Don't you think keeping the Sabbath Day holy is pretty serious?"
I replied, "Of course. I guess I've just always done it a little differently than you." She responded with, "I didn't know there was 'differently' when it came to commandments." I wanted to laugh... however, in past conversations where Claire and I talk about spiritual things, Claire will automatically dismiss my entire point of view no matter how valid, upon the basis that I am not taking the discussion seriously - as evidenced by my laughter. So I didn't laugh, I just said, "I have always considered the 'end of the day' to be the time that I go to bed and the 'beginning of the day' the time that I wake up. So if I go to bed at 2am Saturday night, that is still Saturday, not the Sabbath day."
Claire smiled, for once she was driving so I got to watch her reactions instead of our usual other way around. She said, "Sounds like justification." I replied, "No. I am very good at justification, and this is not it." She said, "You said, '2am Saturday night' but what day is that actually?" I answered, "Well, 2am is Sunday." She said, "Right and Sunday is the Sabbath Day, right?"
"I know what you're saying Claire. I'm not saying the way you have chosen to practice is wrong. I just wonder if you can see what I am saying." She said, "I know what you're saying Jake. I'm just telling you that sounds wrong to me." I asked, "Why?" She said, "Even the way you said it, '2am Saturday' instead of 2am Sunday and 'not the Sabbath day' even though... no matter what... Sunday is Sunday. You're changing it to suit you."
I grinned. 'Ah, semantics...' I thought, nice move Claire. I said, "I said it that way so you would understand what I was saying, not because I need 2am to be on a Saturday or a Sunday, either way it doesn't change a thing." She looked at me smugly. I explained further, "It's a matter of consistency. If I decide that the 'day' starts and stops when I wake and go to sleep, then that doesn't mean that on Sunday night at 12:01am that I can run out to the store and pick up some grapes because, to me, it is still the Sabbath Day."
She said, "Some of the best times are on Sunday nights at midnight. Denny's or Ice Cream at midnight." I said, "Well okay, but I feel like that would be trivializing my observance of the Sabbath day. More so than continuing my 'fun times' after midnight on Saturday." Claire smiled again, she looked at me like my teachers used to when they thought they knew better. She said, "You need to figure out how your talent for justifying can be used for good, or you need to hide it under a bushel."
I couldn't help it and I finally laughed. Claire honestly thought that I was just spinning the commandment the way that best suited me. I swear though, on a stack of Book of Mormons that I really think that the way I do it is completely legitimate. That one time, when I told my Greenie on my mission that playing Mario Brothers all day at a less-actives house was quality "Building Relationships of Trust" time, now, that was justifying.
Claire says, "So you're joking?" I said, "No Claire, I am not joking." Claire, "Why did you laugh?" I said, "Because for being one of my favorite people, I am astounded at how narrow your viewpoint is sometimes." She said, "Making fun of someone right after justifying sin? Nice one Alma the Younger."
I laughed again, "Sin?" She was getting irritated, but I didn't care. "Maybe its because you're so young -" She interrupted, "You're only 22, dork." I responded, "Yeah, well I guess it takes three years to learn." Claire seldom got mad at me, but she said, "Now you're just being a jerk."
I asked, "You think that because I have no problems shopping after midnight on Saturday until I go to sleep, but won't go out to eat after midnight on Sunday night that I am sinning? Should I give my Temple recommend back or what?" She didn't respond. I said, "I'm just saying that the Sabbath day is one of those things that you do the way it feels right."
We pulled into the parking lot of the Smiths in Provo. She said, "I think we need to agree to disagree and talk about something else." I said, "Agreed."
We walked into the Smiths and I couldn't believe my eyes... It was busier than a Saturday afternoon in that grocery store. Not just a regular Saturday afternoon, but a Saturday afternoon on a holiday where they might be giving away plasma TV's that vacuum your floor silently while cooking flapjacks. It was insane! Nearly every register was open and the lines were unbelievably long.
Claire smugly said, "Isn't it neat to see all these members of the Church trying to keep the Sabbath Day holy?"
I looked around in awe, I responded, "Yeah. Neat. ...I should start a Denny's that's only open at Midnight on Sunday, I'll make a fortune."
Perhaps I am the one bad Sabbath day observer in Mormondom... perhaps.