"Elder, you know he was drunk right?"
"What? Are you sure? Why couldn't I tell?"
"Elder, you can never tell. This is the third time you've set an appointment with a drunk guy."
"...Well he's still a child of God."
I always used to think that I was good at reading people. There have been many times when I was able to tell that someone had a problem just from their body language and I could respond accordingly. However, despite how good I thought I was at this I realized this week that I can't tell when someone is drunk to save my life. I've seen people here so intoxicated that they can't even sit up straight, and thankfully I'm usually aware of those people. The problem is that I didn't know that when someone is just slightly drunk they act really friendly and interested in what you have to say, and so for six months most of my street conversations have been with people who are just tipsy enough to listen but not coherent enough to remember. My companion can usually tell immediately if someone's had one too many because he says he can smell it on them, and so I figure that either my sniffer's broken or Elder Cloward just doesn't know what beer smells like. To solve the problem my companion came up with a secret sign he can show me when I start talking to someone so I can know if they're drunk. I think It'll work.
One of the Christlike attributes that I'm learning right now is patience. There are many experiences I've had that test my patience a lot more than it did at home. Things like being chased down and slapped by an old guy when he noticed I was white, being called 'foreign trash' by someone as he passed by us, almost getting run over by a bunch of punks on a motorcycle who were trying to be funny, and watching my companion get slapped as someone else rode by on a scooty have tested my tolerance. I'll admit there have been times when I've wanted to turn around and give a couple of people a piece of my mind, and sometimes it's all I can do to just grit my teeth and keep walking. What helps most is a scripture that comes to my mind often where Jesus says that it's easy to "return railing for railing", but the true mark of a follower of Christ is one who "bears all things with meekness and humility". Strength is not determined by whether or not you can deck the guy who just insulted you, strength is when you have every reason to retaliate but you choose to do as the savior did and 'turn the other cheek'. It's been a hard lesson for me to learn, but I testify of that truth.
I've noticed that there are a lot of Chinese families who live here in Bangalore and we pass them almost every day on the street, but I never thought I'd be mistaken for one. The first time I saw a small Indian child point at me and say, "look, Chinese!" I thought he was just confused, but when it happened again the next week I began to wonder if I actually look a little more oriental than I thought. I bought some sunglasses to keep from squinting while we walk though and I haven't had that problem since. What a coincidence...
Anyways until next time, peace. :)