One Sunday after I had moved to Pittsburgh for graduate school, I visited a new church. Early in the service, the preacher asked us to turn to the person beside us and, with as much feeling in our hearts as we could muster, declare to the person, really most sincerely, “I love you.”
I hate stuff like that. I think the worship leader lingo for it is manufactured enthusiasm. But I turned to the woman on my left, uncomfortably trying to do as I’d been asked. She turned her head slightly toward me, made a glance of eye contact, and muttered in a monotone, her lips moving barely more than a ventriloquist’s: “Iloveyou.”
The woman on my left was my mother.
Mom disliked that stuff, too. I followed her lead, sneering “Iloveyoutoo” back, and we both sat there with Mona Lisa smiles, trying not to crack up.