Back when the bunch of us at church had a ‘lunch gang’, when our Sunday activities were the same, when we had the same meetings to go to, this was our weekly lunch process: After YF/YA, at the third floor where the rooms were, we would chat and linger and wait for the toilet-goers. Eventually we got moving to the second floor, where we would pause for another ten minutes outside the sanctuary because we seemed to be missing 2 or 3 members. Then someone would nag, and we would stroll down to the first floor, where we hung out at the foyer for a bit, waiting for a different set of missing members or for roaming souls to join us. After that, we chilled at the church gate, this time because we couldn’t decide what to eat: red side, yellow side, claypot side, dimsum side, Macs, KFC. Finally someone hungry or decisive enough would take the lead, ignore any opposing voices, and bring us all somewhere — although there would occasionally be another bout of loitering after the zebra crossing where the members who refused to eat fast food and the members who needed air-con would decide if they wanted to split.
It was so incredibly inefficient.
But it was also so full of love and patience. The willingness to wait, to include, and to ‘waste’ a lot of time talking and laughing with each other while we doing so was, to me, a down-to-earth, common-place way of living out community.
Today, there was a department dinner at work. Some were prepared and snuck off once the clock struck 5.30; everybody else bustled around, shutting down in the middle of a tax comp, making sure they weren’t the last, all to avoid the awkwardness of taking the boss’ cars, get to the restaurant first, and pick the prime seats. Every man (clique) for him(it)self. As expected, I was one of the last ones to reach.
And at that moment, I thought something I never guessed I would — I miss the inefficiencies.