Ash Wednesday 2012: Mission Accomplished

The one science teacher who helped distribute ashes today did it with quite a heavy hand.  Er, thumb.  So my forehead cross lasted with little fading through the entire day.

If I had a nickel for every double-take or weirded-out look I got while out and about today, I'd have a lot of alms to give.   Those responses are fairly standard, and they don't bother me.  But I'm pretty sure I've never had the following reactions from people in any prior year:

1. As I was coming out of the post office after school, I looked up while unlocking my car.  A woman a couple cars over was looking at me as she took a mail bin out of the passenger side of her car.
I smiled.  Her funny look turned into a smile.

2. When I got home, I dropped my schoolbag outside my door and continued on toward the lobby to get my mail from the vestibule.  Before I got to the lobby, the door of the apartment across the hall opened and out walked the elderly woman who lives there with her equally elderly husband. (When I first met her, I thought she was hard of hearing.  It turns out her husband wears hearing aids and she's just used to yelling everything.)  She's very outgoing, so she said hi to me--and then we had this strange conversation:

Neighbor: I see you got your ashes. I forgot about Ash Wednesday.

Me: Well, we had this thing at school. . .

Neighbor: So, how long do you keep yours on?

Me: (!?) Um, just today. You know, for Ash Wednesday.

Neighbor: Oh! Today is Wednesday.  I thought it was Thursday.  When you're retired, you kind of lose track of the days.

We had a good laugh over that.  Maybe she thought I was not going to wash my face for 40 days or something.

That was priceless.



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