The other night I made the realisation that despite arrogantly claiming to be non religious; I still often make ‘deals with God.’ I became aware of this when at 4am on Saturday morning whilst lying awake on the bottom level of a bunk bed, I began to hear my friend drunkenly roll around on the bed above. We were staying in a backpacker’s hostel in our own home city of Melbourne because we had decided that it would be cheaper and I quote ‘easier’ than getting taxis home to our own humble abodes. Essentially we were tourists in our own city.
We had enjoyed a fun night of bowling drinking and dancing at a place that played "retro" music inlcuding classics such as David Bowie’s “Starman,” and had then stumbled backed to the hostel to get a few precious hours sleep before catching the train home. The highlight of my evening was a man intimidating me in the urinals by singing all the words to Britney Spears “Toxic” whilst looking at me maliciously.
The only way to get out of there without looking really strange was to fake a phone call and quickly leave the toilet. It was the first phone call I’d ever faked though I think I pulled it of rather well. I waited five minutes for the crazy man to leave the toilet before I could re enter and finish what I’d attempted to start.
Anyway cut back to the hostel: as I heard my friend rolling around in his bed I suddenly remembered that last time we had gone out that same friend had vomited all over the street, much to the amusement of a midnight city jogger, and I began to fear it would happen again. I started hoping and praying that he wouldn’t vomit or worse, wet the bed, when I realised I was making deals with a God that I claim probably doesn’t exist. You know the type of deal I mean, like when you say “God if you do this for me I’ll never ask for anything again” or “I swear I’ll do good by you if you do good by me now.” I’ve used those lines so many times that if god does exist he probably thinks of me as that wingy kid that always asks for favours, and if I were to repay him I’d have to single hand-idly build several hundred churches as an African missionary.
The first deal I can remember making with ‘God’ or ‘the Gods’ was when I was about seven and at the time the government had launched an anti drink driving campaign that absolutely scared the hell out of me. The television ad where the lady who was in a car accident stutters “I wouldn’t be like this now, if I’d just said no, and hadn’t got into that car,” was the part that affected me the most. If my dad had even drunk one beer the night before we were due to go for a drive I’d try and make excuses not to get in the car and if that didn’t work, that’s when I’d start making deals with my old pal God. I didn’t die in the car and I wasn’t vomited on in the bed so if God does exist, I sort of owe him big time.
And whilst lying on that bunk bed I began to feel like a little bit of a hypocrite, because I knew as soon as the thing I requested eventuates, I’d tell myself that it wasn’t Gods doing and continue claiming he doesn’t exist. All I can say is next time I find myself really hoping something doesn’t happen then I’ll try not to bother God with my problem… though to be honest I probably will anyway.