I ended up going to church today after all, despite the inconveniences described below. Of course, I only attended half the service, which today amounted to one and a half hours (plus a half hour walk each way in stilettos (okay, they are only 1.5 inches high and are actually comfortable; must be the fact that I purchased them in a small German-Canadian town))!
I didn't realize that this is Pentecost Sunday, so for a second there the presence of the bishop was a tad unexpected. I am assuming that he is one of Canada's bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, because I am fairly sure that there is only one archbishop in North America, and he is situated in NY. This bishop had a rather telling expression of total disregard on his face (of course, I could be wrong, and it could've been a face of a righteously fatigued man, tirelessly serving *JEEBUS* during such an important holiday.) Although my insulting presumption is further supported by the fact that he could not be heard without a microphone (!! Do I sense a televangelical future for this servant of god?!).
Our usual priest, despite his somewhat condescending paternalistic front, has an amazing tenor, sings the entire mass, and theatrically addresses the crowd with the strength of his own voice. On that note, given the right mood, I'll take Byzantine signing in old slavonic over genre-comparable metal any day (tee!). Of course, hearing it LIVE makes all the difference.
This bishop did have two things going for him - he wore an impressive bejeweled crown, not unlike those of Byzantine emperors, but without the "dangly thingies"; he also possessed a long well-groomed signature beard. Mind you, most Russian priests prefer to sport long hair and beards (a la crustified deathmetallers, plus the showers) , which by that alone places them above clean-shaven nerdy Catholics. Our priests also exceed the latter due to their ability to marry, up to a certain rank; I wouldn't be around, if this were not the case for my ancestors. As another aside - I recently discovered that my great-great priestly grandfather had a PhD in theology, at the time when most clergy did not, and consequently when this degree had more value than, perhaps, it does now. (I hope he isn't offended by my incessant usage of "JEEBUS" or any number of metal-related complications!)
This clerical celebrity attracted quite the crowd, which made moving and breathing more difficult than usual under these circumstances (I particularly enjoyed being hit in the face with giant hats, adorning the fashionable not-always-pink-"flamingos", with peroxide blonde coiffure reaching the ceiling) , not to mention imaginative parking techniques rivaling those of Moscow. Here I should note, that even though I hardly know anyone in this church, despite near-regular attendance for almost a year, I've begun classifying its members via mimetic appearance. Most notably, today's list included many of the usual suspects - the 6-foot tall red-haired Russian Britney Spears with cute "cankles", the Cancerman from the X-Files, and a now-shaggy-haired (a real shame!) Robert Downey Jr.; as always, the attendance was sprinkled with a few Putins of all ages.
On the way back from the packed, elbow-pushing mass, some men in a truck attempted to pick me up. Ahh, that pseudo-conservative church-going attire and its appeal! As far as pickups this week are concerned, we also have the Stalone-speaking black man who approached me in the park to inform me that I had a "nice dog", followed by "you are nice too!", or the two individuals who proceeded to lecture me on my worthlessness as an object of female worship, because I did not return their "well, HELLO THERE!!". None of them compare to the recent prize recepient, however, "Tell me where you work, and I'll stalk you". Where art thou, O Knight, I finally bought some dog repellent!
Finally, I've managed to overcome the temptation of going to Timmy's. I NEVER EVER drank coffee before moving to Toronto; this "never" turned into "a couple of times a week" upon relocation, then into "I'm trying to stay awake"....Funny, as it used to put me to sleep back in the day. At least I'm not doing so badly as far as bad habits are concerned otherwise.
Alright, time to indulge comrade Sharikoff in squirrel-chasing and find some pigeons to pose as dragons (yeah, I won't explain that one).