During my lunch breaks at work, I read while I eat. This is not a new thing with my current job; this is how it's been ever since I had my first job and I only got 15 minute breaks. It makes eating more interesting, and it keeps me from having to make small talk with people I don't necessarily like (or know). I could probably prevent the latter by simply eating at my desk, but I do enjoy reading and the change of scenery is nice.
As is wont to happen, today a co-worker (with whom I share a cubicle as well) asked me what I was reading. Normally, I hate this question, because the other person doesn't really care and usually no one is familiar with what I'm reading anyway. Not that I read obscure high literature or anything, it just seems that when I say what I'm reading, I get this glazed, empty look in response.
It just so happens, though, that I am reading the new Harry Potter. I realize I'm a little slow here, and I've already been spoiled of course -- through no fault of my own nor by my own choosing -- but I'd been excited about reading this book for two years. And I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than the last one, as well. That's beside the point, but there's my opinion. Anyway, for once I had the opportunity to say what I was reading and and not have to make awkward chit-chat about it when I got that glazed look, since everyone's heard of Harry Potter.
I really wish I had gotten the glazed response, though, because when I told her what I was reading, her eyes got as big as saucers and she shuddered. "Hu-nuh!" she said. "That's an evil book. Don't be letting that get in your
Dammit. "It's just a fun, silly little kids' book," I said. She shook her head, muttering, and walked away.
Well, that's just great, I thought. I get so sick and tired of everything being evil, and I know these Harry Potter accusations have been around ever since the first book, but give me a break. I won't go into too much of a rant here, about how it's no worse than the original Grimm Fairy Tales, or Hans Christian Anderson, and how these people who say these things have never read any book except the Bible, ever, which is fine but maybe try reading something else before you go around judging every one else (which, you know, Jesus wouldn't like you doing anyway!). Or at least try reading one before you assume that it's gonna eat my soul from the inside and I become a crusty black shell or something.
While I sat there fuming with all those thoughts rolling through my head, I realized that -- oh great -- now she's gonna pray for me. Having grown up in the Southern Baptist chunk of the Bible Belt, nothing is closer to fingernails on the chalkboard than hearing someone say, "I'll pray for you." Actually, there are times when it doesn't bother me. If something truly horrible has happened, a death or terrible sickness or something, that doesn't bother me. Praying is a viable response and how some people deal with stresses such as these.
But what really gets me is the condescending way that some people say it, and they usually say it when they want you to stop doing something fun. Like reading Harry Potter, or playing video games, or watching zombie movies. Things like that. Harmless things whose sole purpose is to provide you with escapism and to entertain you. And here's the thing: I don't believe in prayer, necessarily, but I do believe in mind over matter. That if you think positively and focus on a better outcome, you might receive just that. I mean, it's not hurting anyone to try it anyway. But praying to try to bend your will... that's what kills me. I mean, the former is sort of the same thing, but not exactly. I'm talking about praying for a loved one's cancer to go away (or hoping, as the case may be, without prayer) as opposed to praying for a pony (à la Ruthie Camden on "7th Heaven"). Besides, how many times have those types of prayers worked? I'm not going to stop doing something because someone prayed for me to stop. Not stop reading Harry Potter or looking at bad body modifications online or anything that could be construed as "bad."
Then again, maybe that's why I quit listening to Bon Jovi all those years ago.