48. Saturday Night Life

My Saturday nights begin at 7P.M.

(or, if Pastor Daniel is feeling particularly passionate, 7.30P.M.)

The Saturday evening church service would have just ended, and the 100-or-so attendees empty out into the upstairs foyer on the 3rd floor (or 2nd floor, if you’re one of those confusing folks). I pack my things – a process that really only involves tucking my ink pen into the nifty pocket that is provided within the organizer/notebook that I had received as a Christmas gift from Victor last year, and then sticking my bible on top of it, making a neat pile of things to carry. Often, I’ll also drape my trusty little-bit-too-big jacket over my left arm (never the right), and make my way out the doors of the hall and down the carpeted stairs.

I’ll wait.

For dinner, usually.

(sometimes, there will be a meeting scheduled at 8.30P.M., in which case dinner comes swiftly, without that waiting bit)

I cycle through dinner companions as I do through seasons of life. The only thing that seems to be constant is the dinner itself. Because we are all busy people, this waiting process can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. I have learned to have a proper lunch on Saturday afternoons to avoid starving to death, or at least the impression of it. Nonetheless, after the waiting comes dinner, as surely as the sunrise coming after the night.

Saturday night dinners are invariably filling and hearty. I cannot recall an unsatisfying Saturday night dinner – maybe except for that time when I was broke and went home instead, expecting dinner, and then finding out that the family had went out for dinner on their own, because they are so used to me not being around on Saturday nights. Still – when there are Saturday night dinners, they are invariably filling and heart. Likely due to the fact that the lot of us Malaysians spend at least 1 out of those 2 hours sitting in the Saturday evening church service wondering what shall we have for dinner, as the last bits of our lunches disappear down our intestines.

Dinner will be good, with conversation and lighthearted joy usually in direct relation to the quality of food served, which means that it is usually good as well. After dinner – usually between 9.30P.M. and 10P.M., we will say our goodbyes, see-you-tomorrow-mornings, and head home. I live the closest to church (unless the Cheahs are involved, but they usually aren’t on account of their being in Australia), and so I’m usually the earliest to get home.

At home, I’ll change into comfortable clothes. Shower optional. And then I’ll sit in front of my laptop, intending to make good use of my remaining time on Saturday evening by writing – either homework or for projects, it doesn’t matter. I’ll promise myself that I will write, and I will break that promise.

Before I know it, it is midnight, and I have done nothing since I had plopped myself in front of my laptop but browse through social networking sites and amuse myself with memes. Time to go to bed, I’ll tell myself, because I have to wake up in time to be in church by 9A.M., and then I’ll fail to do even that. There’s always one last thing to do – one last thing to check on, before I shut the lights on the day.

And it will be 2A.M. before I finally retire to bed.

“To know the future is to be trapped by it.” I find my reluctance – or maybe even inability – to change this Saturday night routine quite amusing.

Don’t you?

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