What do you do when a nun sneezes?

I decided to run errands in nearby Worcester, Mass. for a change of scene.  Sometimes the five-mile world I live in starts to get to me.  Sometimes (a lot of the time) the workplace gets to me.  I had to get the hell out of there.

First stop was the bank in Tatnuck Square.  Tatnuck Square was once a trendy, high-falutin' neighborhood of Worcester where all the rich and sophisticated people gathered.  There were consignment shops, beauty parlors and expensive boutiques and snazzy restaurants in Tatnuck Square when I first came to the area as a college student.  Worcester is a college town.  But nowadays, Tatnuck has lost a lot of its former charm.  It's dotted with run-down gas stations, chain restaurants, several banks and a couple of "Mom and Pop" stores, but certainly nothing like the bustling, fancy block it once was.  It was my mission to go to one of the many banks, and then grab lunch at one of the "Mom 'n' Pop" sandwich shops still in existence.

I've been in the middle of a ten-day, full-blown panic and anxiety attack that won't let up.  I sort of wish I could say that something terrible and traumatic had happened to me to cause me to go into these episodes, which occur with such voracity every so often.  But no, I was never witness to anything traumatic other than a couple of car accidents.  I am just a "sensitive flower".

While in the midst of a lengthy panic attack, even if my mouth is shut and I'm not speaking, I am emanating an ooze of high-speed energy.  This does not help my fibromyalgia, which depends on energy for recovery.  Panic saps my energy.  Fibro already has me in an energy deficit.  I am screwed.

As I stepped out of the car in the bank parking lot, I could feel my entire body whirring, the thoughts in my head an insane gaggle -- please SHUT UP!  I'm always confident in this city, but going into a bank always conjures up visions of someone robbing the place, especially since there was a robbery a few towns over the day before, and an APB for the robber was still in effect.  Already I was shaking at the thoughts -- how long would it take for me to get into and out of this bank, this dangerous bank?

A "Brinks" truck was parked, blocking the drive-thru.  A woman came out of the bank, followed by an elderly couple who were holding the door for me.  I couldn't let them do that, so I quickly dove for the door and held it for them instead.  Getting to the lobby required an awkward walk through the ATM, where a young woman was using the machine for a transaction. A second door gets you into the actual bank lobby.  As I stepped through the door, my brain on high-alert, there, before me, were two young nuns.  They were sitting on the bench next to the counter where I needed to sign my checks and fill out the deposit slips.  Raised Catholic, but always a sinner, (hey, aren't we all?) to me, nuns are intimidating.  Even "sisters" younger than me, with dark hair, not gray, poking out of their babushkas are intimidating.  But what struck me first, instead of being intimidated, was their calmness.  It was as if the devil himself were inside of me, flailing about and causing all that racket -- and when I saw the nuns?  BOOM!  Instant calm.  Like Cesar Millan himself had walked up to me and gone "tssssst!".  

In my now slightly-calmer head, I said, I wanted to say, but didn't say out loud:  "Hello Sisters." Instead, I smiled wanly and nodded my head at them.  I stood inches away from the two as I diligently filled out my paperwork, feeling strangely calm and safe in this bank I was previously so afraid of.

And then, the nun on the left sneezed.  Oh God, how I wanted to laugh!  What T.F. do you do when a nun sneezes?  Should I say "Bless you"???  I hardly ever say "bless you" to people when they sneeze.  I guess, at work, I say "bless you" when my closest co-worker sneezes.  That's about it.  When people say "Bless you" to me when I sneeze, I always retort, "Don't BOTHER!"

The nun on the right beat me to it, "Bless you" she whispered (they were whispering the whole time, I should point out -- the Nun Whisperers).  I looked up.  I smiled. "Bless you!" I said, too loudly.


  1. Yeah, one would think a Nun doesn't need to be blessed because she is the big guys wife in a way, right? Isn't she always blessed? I think I would have probably done it automatically!
    As well, I think it's funny that you are intimidated by Nun's yet you live with a guy that many people are intimated by (for totally different reasons than why one would be intimidated by a member of the Roman Catholic Church of course! ;)
    I'm with you on the anxiety front. I give you credit or going out there and facing your fears despite your panic!!!!

    1. Oh him... he's a big puddy-tat! LOL!!
      As for the panic, oh I have been known to jump off of elevators before the doors shut (causing my friends to search for me for several hours, since they went up, up, up in the elevator without me!); I've left full carts of groceries in the middle of the store and ditched; and have frozen in place, immobilized with fear, at a concert with everyone else around me dancing. I'm a barrel of fun! hah


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