Our school requires students to spend one weekend attending an interventional program for drunk drivers. This weekend I gave up on the dream that they’ll drop the requirement before I graduate, and went and did it. I had tried once before, during second year, but between frustration at the wasted weekend, the heavy smoke in the air, and just general shyness, I got a horrible migraine and had to leave after two hours on Friday evening. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected; I had been planning on having to sit in group therapy sessions all weekend. Actually, those occupied only half the time; and while the “clients” were watching a movie or listening to an AA speaker, we got to fill out paperwork (which I did in five minutes flat), and then sit and crochet and read Wodehouse while everyone else finished their paperwork.

I’m still disgusted at being forced to waste a weekend to no real purpose, but at least it’s done, and Step 2 is done, and I have such a big case of senioritis coming on, I can’t believe it.

Another fourth year student was there, a Sikh, one of the class’s biggest clowns. He definitely made it much easier to get through the weekend. And then, out of the blue, Saturday evening, he turned to me and said, “Alice, I bet you read the Bible everyday, right?” Well, yes. “You probably have a lot of it memorized, huh?” Um, yes. “How much?” Several chapters, and one book. “How can you memorize a whole book?” Turns out he thought the Bible was just one whole book, so I explained about the Old and New Testaments, and the different books inside. He was very curious. He took a class in college, about the Bible, in which they did not read the Bible at all, but read books about the Bible, mostly by atheists. What he mainly remembered were books by atheists in which they told the story of the Gospels “from Jesus’ point of view.” (Ha.) So I started talking about the Gospels, and how in fact they do just tell about Jesus’ birth, mention what happened when he was 12, and then skip to 30. Here it would have gotten really interesting, but the counselor, a liberal Catholic, reappeared, and started answering all the questions himself, and generally turning it into a “feel-good-about-all-religions” party. The counselor was a nice guy, very well informed on a vast number of topics, but boy, I wish he would let me answer religious questions myself! It’s difficult to evangelize when someone else is explaining that the Bible doesn’t necessarily mean what it says, and Adam and Eve are just a story, and the gospels have many beautiful lessons for everyone. . . .!

I did bring a Gideon’s New Testament on Sunday (another reason I hated the weekend: had to skip church), and gave it to the other student, and he looked genuinely interested to read it. Of course then the counselor asked him to tell us about Sikhism; of which a tenet seems to be “all religions are equal.” So the two of them had a lovefest on that topic for several minutes, till I felt it would be dishonest not to disagree verbally. . .

For the rest, I got a complete primer on what to do and what not to do if a policeman ever stops you on suspicion of drunk driving. Neither the Sikh nor I had any practical acquaintance with the subject, but it seemed good to pay attention, in case I ever end up in Cary Grant’s situation in “North by Northwest.”