As you probably already know, I didn’t watch the Royal Wedding last weekend but after so many people mentioned it, I really couldn’t help but perform a Google search for Bishop/Reverend Michael Curry’s sermon to see what all the fuss was about. It’s a pleasure and also a very rare experience for me to be able to write about something that was witnessed by an estimated 1.9 billion people, as you know my witterings are normally confined to things that have happened in my own very sheltered life, so I’m confident that this week, a very large percentage of you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Yes, THAT sermon!
Yikes, over thirteen minutes of talking about fire and love and back to fire again whilst everyone else had no choice but to sit and remain fully composed without yawning or looking somewhat distracted or just plain bored in case they were caught on camera.
That would be nigh on impossible for most of us to achieve. Me especially.
I’m not criticising, disrespecting or belittling the underlying essence of what he said in the slightest, it was a perfectly lovely, uplifting message of unity but I do believe that he could have adequately covered his points, ideals and principles with more than enough time to slowly meander through his musings in much less than half the time that he actually took. Thirteen minutes is no small amount of time for one person to be talking and for an entire assembly of Royalty and A-list celebrities to be sat listening, let alone a quarter of the population of the entire planet!
When is the last time you sat on a rigid chair and listened silently to someone else for a whole THIRTEEN minutes without interruption?
I bet you didn’t watch that sermon without mentioning to someone else in the room, what an inordinate amount of time it was taking, or perhaps even taking to social media to air your views in a ‘live update’ style.
It’s a lot harder than you think, giving someone else your full attention when the subject matter is not entirely of interest! I was watching from the comfort of my own sofa with the added bonus of a pause button and let me tell you….. twice I used it!
Once to fetch a drink and secondly to rearrange the cushions and to make myself more comfortable after seeing that there were still SEVEN more minutes left of the video.
I tried to imagine how I would have behaved had I been sat in the congregation, just me and my self-diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I would certainly have rolled my eyes a few times and stifled some yawns, fidgeted in my seat, by minute five I would have glazed over and would be thinking about something else entirely, I would have pulled commiserating faces at the people nearest to me and fought the temptation to start snickering, smothering the laughs as they rose up inside and as time wore on the shouting in my head would have become a deafening roar, I would have started to claw at my face in pure frustration, made tight little fists in my lap, fidgeted some more and probably uttered “Oh For God’s Sake man, get on with it” under my breath.
A minute or two longer and I expect full-on Tourette’s would have set in!
No wonder I wasn’t invited!
So as the camera panned around the gathered congregation and caught the odd bewildered or slightly bored look on a face or two or moments where it looked like The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge exchanged amused “I know how you feel” looks or HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince William were suppressing a fit of the giggles then I can only say a jolly big well done to them all.
Prince Harry and Meghan, on full show at the front of the congregation, could do nothing but affix a perma-smile and wait for it to end. I guess this is where Meghan’s craft as an actress must have really come into play.
Here are some pictures of the reactions during that overly long sermon.
I’ve taken the liberty to caption them on their behalf:
But end it did, thank goodness for that and eventually, the two were able to be married.
Patience is, of course, the key to any marriage.
My husband will often impart to me something that he finds ‘interesting’ and, on occasion, it will be met with a bored, indifferent look because whilst it interests him, it perhaps doesn’t interest me in the slightest.
I’ll give you an example, ‘How to build a homemade pellet stove, using an automated horse feeder’ or perhaps he’ll be telling me about one of his podcasts that he likes to listen to, recalling some particular item that caught his attention, but I’m certain that it will actually take him longer to tell me about this one small part of the podcast than it would to actually listen to the entire podcast myself and hear it first hand, or he’ll be telling me about something he watched on YouTube, giving me the very looooooooong, detailed version and taking his fine old time to get to the actual point and after counting to ten in my head, taking a few deep breaths and really trying to just let him carry on uninterrupted, I will eventually burst out “Darling, I’m not trying to be rude but is there an abbreviated version of this?”
He undoubtedly believes that in these instances, I’m just being a brusque, curt and impatient bitch and will often take offence and go and sulk somewhere, but he genuinely doesn’t seem to understand that I truly can’t help it.
It is a physical reaction, born out of a very rapidly assimilating frustration.
I genuinely don’t understand why it is any ruder of me to make plain my disinterest than it is for him to make the assumption that I want to hear all about it in the first place? And perhaps therein lies my problem. I am clearly not wired the same as the vast majority of everyone else.
I’ve sat in endless Managers meetings at work before now literally going out of my mind as talk continues on and on and on, long after it seems to be effective or productive. The endless Powerpoint presentations were the worst, slide after slide of monotonous drivel which captured no-ones attention or imagination. My mind would undoubtedly wander as to what I needed to buy from the supermarket in my lunch hour and what I was going to prepare for dinner that evening and before long I would find that I had literally switched off entirely from what was going on around me and had completely disappeared into the safety and tranquility of my own trivial thoughts.
It is undoubtedly why I have never successfully learnt to understand French at any other level than complete and utter novice since living here. I’ll put the Coffee Break French lessons or Michel Thomas CDs on and within five minutes I’ve completely zoned them out and am lost in my own thoughts again. I can speak, read and write French far better than I can listen to and understand it.
My husband will walk into our silent house and ask me “Why don’t you ever have the radio on?” and I will have to explain to him for the billionth time that even if I put it on, I wouldn’t actually be listening to it. It would just be an irritating buzz in the background that I would feel the need to tune out.
I like quiet, most preferably I like silence!
I’ve obviously tried to combat this over the years because it’s a very dysfunctional trait to have to live with as an adult but no matter what I do and no matter how hard I try to focus on, for example, what someone else is saying, if I genuinely find it uninteresting, the noise in my mind will start up, initially just a low distracting thrum that will very quickly gather momentum after which the intense frustration will follow until I literally will end up shouting “PLEASE STOP TALKING, YOU ARE LITERALLY DRIVING ME INSANE. PLEASE……PLEASE……PLEASE……OH, JUST SHUT UP YOU KNOB”.
In my head, of course. I think it’s important to clarify at this point, that I don’t actually say it out loud!
It’s probably why I can become incredibly irritable in a nano-second, because with all of this internal interference going on, I really am trying hard to remain focused but the other person seems to be entirely oblivious to this inner battle that I’m having whereby I’m gritting and grinding my teeth and straining to remain patient, struggling not to interrupt them or hurry them along, desperately fighting the temptation to tell them that what they are saying is not really capturing my full attention and could they perhaps be a little more succinct, meanwhile they are just taking all the time in the world to get to the point, if indeed there is one, and inside me the monster is really starting to wake up now and I’m thinking, they’ve got about another ten seconds to get to the goddamn point before the imaginary tentacles start unfurling from my body and reaching to my lips in a “Sshhhh!” sign, imploring, beseaching their silence and when their silence is not forthcoming because they are so wrapped up in themselves and so neglectful, unobservant and unperceptive of their captive audience, the tentacles will reach out to them and wrap around their neck and start choking them until they can’t utter another effing word.
I mean, that can’t be normal, can it?
This feeling is often accompanied by what is now my renowned flint-eye!
That’s right, the hard stare.
No words necessary.
No need to be overtly rude or offensive or say things I can’t take back.
Just a bloody good hard stare with eyes like two shards of flint.
Some take longer than others to respond to the impact but everybody eventually gets on board, the rambling will either trail off or simply stop dead and I will exhale the breathe that I have been holding for what seems like an eternity in a huge sigh of relief, smile a radiant smile and expertly change the subject by proffering a drink which also cunningly allows me to leave the room so that I can go and have convulsions in the kitchen and bash a few poor, innocent cups around.
A minute later I’ll be right back to normal.
After such an interlude and upon my return, it is my principal dread to hear someone packing their lungs with the biggest draw of oxygen possible and uttering the words “Now, where was I? Oh yes, as I was saying, prattle, prattle, prattle, prattle, prattle” ad nauseam.
Some people really are very thick skinned or just plain thick!
“Thick as mince” as my wonderfully erudite friend will often say, which never fails to amuse me as it is always perfectly executed.
Or as funny man Jack Dee once said “I saw your name on a loaf of bread the other day, but when I looked again it actually said THICK CUT”
On that delightful note, I shall take my leave, until next week.
Have a wonderfully peaceful weekend all.
The Virtual Recluse