There are many side-effects to being a clergy spouse. Some are perks, some downsides, and some entirely dependent on the situation.
For example, one side effect I’ve discovered this week is that people can, rather mistakenly, believe you to be the All-Knowing Oracle when it comes to all things Church. On Monday, for example, this common side effect was a rather irratitating one. See, I’ve been attending our Church toddler group for over eighteen months now; (not in any kind of “professional” capacity, I hasten to add, but simply as a (very needy) punter); and never had an issue. Interestingly enough, however, our actual Vicar’s Wife stopped attending barely two weeks ago, and suddenly… Strangely… People need to ask me things.
Even when I’m on the toilet.
“Are you in here?” She’s come in especially.
“Err… Yeah…” I haven’t. I need a whizz.
“Do you know who was here over the weekend?” She calls through the cubicle door.
“Nope.” Bemused, I concentrate on Tiny, who is now attempting to stand on the changing table as I wipe.
“Well there was a mop bucket full of dirty water left here when we arrived!”
“Oh dear.” Still unsure why I’m being told right here and right now…
“So you don’t know who did it?”
“Nope.” This is not actually where I live… Or work…
“We had to empty it out.”
“Last week there was pasta in the sink.”
“It’s ok… We’re getting a sign.”
And just like that, she was gone and I was done!
Back out in public….it’s like she was never there.
On, Tuesday, however, after writing about our little lesson in Ashes, I found that there is absolutely an upside to this false assumption of knowledge. Sending a little selfie of my pre-ash-ashed head to a couple of friends outside of the Church of England, it quickly became apparent that they’d believe anything I said.
Which was fun.
Unfortunately, however, the power of the dupe was so strong that it resulted in a conference call and I can’t print screen the rest! However, one friend in the group debated quite seriously whether she’d still want this admittedly powerful symbol on her head, knowing it was “out of a coffin”, while the other berated in disbelief a mutual collar-clad friend who was pictured on Facebook- shock horror- burning palm crosses instead. I mean, how disrespectful if it was supposed to be people?!
I’ll tell them after Easter…