When I was a kid, all the Mormons I knew had trampolines.
When I was eleven, mom and I took a road trip and ended up in Salt Lake City. Mom, meticulous driver that she is, turned the wrong way down a one-way street. No one honked, no one screamed obscenities, no one even rolled their eyes. Instead, the three lanes of traffic facing us stopped, and everyone leaned out their windows. Ma’am, you’re going the wrong way. Turn around, you’re going the wrong way. My mom gasped, Oh, shit, and flipped a U. The helpful motorists waved as they sped by.
A few days later, a horrible clanking noise seemed to be coming from our engine. Mom rolled into a local mechanic, in an expensive car, figuring we wouldn’t get it back without dropping a few grand. The mechanic got in, rolled a few feet, then got out and tightened a bolt that had been clanging around in our hubcap. My mom swallowed, Oh my God. What do I owe you? He laughed, Nothing! I don’t charge for tightening bolts. Mom gave him a hundred bucks. She had to force him to take it. When we got back in the car she said, Always reward honest people, Margaret.
In high school, Jen Keys used to invite all of us to Mormon dances. We wore skirts that barely reached our knees, and then hiked them up once inside. Five or six of us would start a tame mosh pit while the Mormon kids gave us a wide berth and cast uneasy glances at the Elders scattered around the gym. Everyone danced to slow dances with one hand held out, as though they were waltzing.
A few days ago, I left my purse at a Salt Lake City bar. In the morning I called the bar in a panic. Someone had turned it in. All the cash was still inside, as were my tickets to two events.
Mormons are big into converting people, but they promised to lay off for the Olympics. I was dubious. I had a day to kill in downtown Salt Lake and was approached no less than three times by men who love them the Jesus. My first uninvited visitor sat down next to me at the Coffee House. Baptist. My second friend took a seat with me at the deli despite my most convincing warning look. Baptist. The third one stopped me for directions and segued into whether I had seen his pamphlet, More than Gold. Baptist. Now, most of my family is Baptist, but by the end of the day I was in awe of Mormon restraint. I longed for those bike-helmeted, tie-wearing young men who leave you alone when you ask them to go away.
Many, many Mormons are blonde. Because I have always imagined that the Church must hand you a bottle of peroxide upon conversion, I find this amusing.