It is now Day Three of Ramadan – it is most difficult and very unusual. But what makes my Ramadan journey unique is that is not observed with others of the faith, not in person. There are video chats with some members of the Royal Family of Qatar but there is no one known in Marin. But the other day the strangest event took place in the hallway of my attorney’s office. AAA and I arrived early and were walking, rather lost, in the halls of the second floor. I looked up and there was a woman beautifully dressed in her Muslim attire – it was not black but a beautiful maroon with lovely headscarf.
Me: Oh my Goodness you are a Muslim – I recently became one.
She: (spoke Arabic so did not understand)
Me: I am sorry I did not understand you, I do not speak Arabic.
She: I am having surgery. Please pray to Allah for me.
Me: Of course I will.
I did, women in the faith do not have a ritualistic way of praying to Allah and they can pray from home or wherever they are.
Later saw a sign on one of the doors, she must have been having eye surgery,
Me: AAA that was most unusual, what was the probability of that? We are here early and slightly lost – if we were on time and I had a better sense of direction this never would have happened.
AAA. I agree it was very improbable.
Members of the Qatar Royal Family called yesterday and this was the conversation (more or less)
They: Granny are you fasting!
Me: Yes I am!
They: Do you say (certain Arab words) at the completion of your fast.
Me: No I do not speak Arabic. But I do speak the English words.
They: No it has to be in Arabic.
Me: Allah is All-Knowing so he has to know English.
They: Granny, do you pray.
Me: Of course, I pray. That is required.
Then questions about my manner of dress.
They: Granny are you wearing your hijab?
Me: No I am not.
They: But you are supposed to wear your hijab and dress in the Muslim fashion.
Me: But this is not a Muslim country. I would meet with ridicule if I dressed in that fashion, particularly considering the fact that I do not look, at all, Muslim. When I come to Qatar of COURSE I shall wear it. But not here. I cover myself as required by the Qur’an covering is required for both men and women. The strict requirements for dress for women is not required in the Qur’an
Now one does have to admit that this is strange – a 77 year old Canadian woman, an atheist most of her life is handing out advice to members of Royalty of a Muslim country. But as I say to them constantly, I am not answerable not to them but to Allah. I am sure (in fact know) that they find me most confusing and rather unique as no one speaks to them as I do. I live in the USA, do not know if I could be so free in Qatar. One very sympathetic and knowledgeable woman asked me if I missed my mother, my father and asked me when I last saw my father. She was most sensitive, as I found the Queen to be in a prior conversation when she asked me about the abuse that I had suffered.
But here is an interesting twist taking place in the recent conversation.
She: Granny you look so young! Would you marry a Qatar man.
Me: It all depends but it is not out of the question
She: I have an uncle who is looking for a non Qatar wife. I will tell him about you.
This is rather amusing, well all of it is rather amusing, come to think of it. I spoke of having something in common with the Abdicated Emir, I also have something in common with the Reigning Emir. Wikipedia profiled him in the following manner. “Tamim is described as friendly, confident, and open by those who know him. He is also described as savvy, careful, and calculating. In addition, he is considered to be a pragmatist, and to have “excellent relations” with the West, including the United States and France.” This is a fact, Alexis Janice McBride visited her Primary Care Physician (of at least 43 years) and labelled her, in complementary fashion as an Intellectual Pragmatist. What is a pragmatist? It is defined as a a person who is guided more by practical considerations than by ideals. Used in a sentence: Hardheaded pragmatists are firmly rooted in the real world.
There was a subsequent conversation with Wise Man.
Me: PCP labelled me as an intellectual pragmatist.
Wise Man: Bill knows and understands you completely. (They are friends and have known each other for years and years).
Oh yes, and I do have “excellent relations” with the West, including the United States and France. I was after all born in Canada, am a citizen of these United States and have spent a great deal of time in Paris – spending a month in a friend’s apartment for about six consecutive years and other visits, the first being in 1971. I studied French is school and have an excellent vocabulary considering it was never utilized as my abode was Western Canada and the United States. But my pronunciation is dreadful, I would initiate a conversation in French and Frenchman they smilingly would respond in English. They appreciated my efforts but I was murdering their language. I am much worse in Arabic as lack even the rudiments of vocabulary but there is always my iWatch. Hahaha. Oh, come to think of it I am also friendly, confident and open. So very much in common with the Reigning Emir.
But back to home and my heroic struggle with Ramadan. I have no energy whatsoever. Went for a mani and a pedi yesterday and was totally confounded by the traffic and the noise and the bustle. Confound has the greatest of synonyms: astonish, dumbfound, stagger, surprise, startle, stun, stupefy, daze, nonplus; throw, shake, unnerve, disconcert, discompose, dismay, bewilder, set someone thinking, baffle, mystify, bemuse, perplex, puzzle, confuse; take someone’s breath away, take by surprise, take aback, shake up, stop someone in their tracks, strike dumb, leave open-mouthed, leave aghast, catch off balance; buffalo, flabbergast, floor, knock for six, knock sideways, knock out, knock the stuffing out of someone, bowl over, blow someone’s mind, blow away, flummox, discombobulate, faze, stump, beat, fox, make someone scratch their head, be all Greek to. So I was flabbergasted, flummoxed and discombobulated by the rush of the outside world. But when I got to the Place for Nails, Holly and I had the greatest time, laughed and laughed and laughed
She: What color do you want for your toes?
Me: I want a sexy color!
She: OK, here it is.
Me: So there might be some guy in Qatar for me. But I can say no.
She: Well, I am single. I will take him if you do not want him.
Me: Ok – maybe there will be more than one and after I take my pick you can have the leftover.
She: Sounds good to me!
But on a serious level we discussed that we were happy with our lives and the lack of privacy and freedom would be very restrictive. We could not, perhaps, be ourselves.
Back to Ramadan. The only and best way to adjust is to not expect too much of oneself. Take naps, perform tasks early in the morning when the effects of breakfast are still with you, eat healthy breakfasts. I tidied up my apartment and my outside patio in the morning. I am writing this from bed in the early afternoon, laying on a hot water bottle as my back hurts, sipping on Gatorade.
Recently, I am finding peace and a measure of reconciliation with my parents. Yesterday a most helpful and kind man hung the wedding photograph of my parents on the wall of my bedroom, taking it from the box under my bad.
He: They are such handsome people.
Me: They were, weren’t they?
My beloved Aunt Alice was my mother’s bridesmaid – she and I were so close, When I learned of her death in 1985 I almost killed myself by walking into the ocean. But I didn’t and here I am.