I do not necessarily lead a hum drum life but at times the sheer absurdity of my existence soars. Humdrum is lacking excitement or variety; dull; monotonous: Its synonyms are enough to make you fall asleep: dull, mundane, dreary, boring, tedious, monotonous, banal, ho-hum, tiresome, wearisome, prosaic, unexciting, uninteresting, uneventful, unvarying, unvaried, unremarkable, repetitive, repetitious, routine, ordinary, everyday, day-to-day, quotidian, run-of-the-mill, commonplace, common, workaday, usual, pedestrian, customary, regular, normal; garden variety; informal typical, vanilla, plain vanilla. Suppose one could say that the antonyms are true of my existence: remarkable exciting.
So life is not at all mundane, workaday, pedestrian, garden variety or vanilla. Some things are, however, live in a rather prosaic, unremarkable, common and pedestrian hotel (which I love by the way). I am driven about in a regular, normal ho-hum taxi cab – not a posh limousine or even a SUV – do not own (or lease) a car anymore. Basically only have the clothes on my back – everything in storage in Marin. Awfully prosaic all of that.
The conversation of the day before yesterday was blogged, but not in its entirety and not supported by photographs. Today it will be. So two days ago awoke to the following Instagram text written by a young man of my acquaintance.
He: A good morning dear.! Have a blessed day!
Me: How precious to wake up to a good morning from you. What is your Muslim name? Mine is Fatimah
Me: I love your Muslim name.
He: I love Fatimah.
But then what happened was utterly out of routine and not at all quotidian. He sent a series of photos.
He: I hope it is not a bad surprise
Me: I ABSOLUTELY love it.
He: I’m glad you do. High Five! Nice day! Catch you later! Take care.
Now that is rather prosaic and rather day-to-day but wait until you see the photos. He had written my name – Alexis – in the sand on the very beach where we had met in November. The beach is “owned” by Rixos Resorts. Rashid is a life guard – he does not work for the Resort but employed by a company who contracts with the Resort. I had gone down to the Rixos beach but got stuck – sinking into the un compacted sand was murder on my knees. Rashid graciously and helpfully gave me a hand. I would still be there if not for him.
We both are on Instagram – I responded to one of his posts, he responded:
He: Do you remember me? I helped you on the beach. How are your knees, can you get around?
Me: Of course I remember you! Knees okay if not knee deep in sand. Hahaha
Our correspondence continued and I learned, to my amazement, that he is a recent convert to the Islamic faith and had gone to the Zayed Islamic Center which ‘formalized’ my entrance to the faith and provided me with my Muslim name Fatimah.
We met for brunch yesterday at Le Noir – of course it was my treat. My goodness if a man writes your name in the sand – the very least one can do is buy them brunch. The Le Noir brunches are nothing short of phenomenal – choices of all kinds of dishes and bottomless Mimosas. I tell the restaurant and Rashid this true story. It took place at a University of Alberta alumni event at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club in 2017.
Bartender: Would you like a mimosa?
Me: No thanks! I like my champagne and my men straight.
He: Fine! No orange juice for you.
Me: Thank you.
You of the politically correct, will take offense at my preference for straight over gay men. I would merely say that it is a perfectly sane reaction to prefer men who prefer you back even if you do not plan on going to bed with them.
Rashid and I are in a rather strange situation. The Muslim faith forbids sex outside of marriage. We are both Muslims – both of us are single but we would have to wed in order to indulge. He is 25 – probably not a good idea. We have the faith in common but nothing else and he would be robbed of the experience of having children. We cannot have a physical relationship – but I rubbed his head yesterday. He has extremely short very curly hair – the opposite of my straight white locks. Well my hair is short, that we have in common.
How do I feel about having my name emblazoned in the sand on Saadiyat Island? Well it is rather mind boggling and most improbable that a woman born in Saskatchewan in 1943 have her hame written in enormous letters in the Middle East in 2022. Bet that has never happened before. It is rather difficult to take in, to comprehend. A dose of reality and humbleness suddenly arises to balance it out. The letters are ephemeral, in other words transitory, transient, fleeting, passing, short-lived, momentary, brief, short, cursory, temporary, impermanent, short-term; fading, evanescent, fugitive, fly-by-night. Not long-lived, not permanent. But then again, life on earth is fleeting, passing impermanent and fly-by-night. It is a short passage before the Day of judgment. I do sometimes wonder how those not of the Islamic faith can endure, can go on with their transitory life with nothing to look forward to. But, as I increasingly say, that is not my problem.
One of the attached photographs is Rashid and Fatimah at the Il Noir Brunch. Your discerning eye might note that champagne is also pictured. Oh no – says politically the correct you.
You: Muslims are not supposed to drink
Me: Nowhere in the Qur’an does it say that Muslims are not supposed to drink wine. And The Qur’an says that there are rivers of wine in Paradise. It does forbid intoxicants and the abuse of any substance.
There is another photograph with me in a wheelchair, taken at the Abu Dhabi Louvre. I can walk but long journeys bring pain. Last week the wonderful people at the Grand Mosque voluntarily provided a wheelchair and I had a pusher with me. Sheikha Awesome Driver – he became Sheikha Awesome Pusher. SAP. My first trip to the Grand Mosque, October 20,2021 I did not have a pusher – it was difficult to maneuver about – the mosque was crammed with tourists using this place of worship as a photography studio – many immodestly dressed. But this visit to the Grand Mosque was entirely different. We went early before the tour buses disgorged their passengers. There were very few people – all were appropriately attired and were respectful. Photos were taken at places that were cordoned off. I, and others, used cameras at those sites. It was an entirely different experience. SAD is Muslim – we plan to come to the mosque to worship during Ramadan. He has to work during Ramadan – he will be able to drive Sheikha Fatimah to the Grand Mosque – enter and worship. It will work out perfectly for the two of us.
SAD is utterly essential to my existence. He is so reliable, takes me where I want to go and waits for me. But that is not all, we have a fantastic time together. His wife and two daughters are in Bangladesh – he supports them with earnings from driving a taxi. His wife cares for their two daughters and her mother. He plans to return to Bangladesh one day. The country is beginning to flourish – the economy grows each year. Strangeness again emerges, this a recent conversation.
Me: Didn’t you say that you were not funny before meeting me? I find that unbelievable because you are SO funny.
He: Yes Sheikha Fatimah that is what I said and it is true.
Me: Guess I can have that effect on people. I do remember saying to Patrick Au that Joo Kim Tiah was funny and Au responded:
He: Only with you Alexis. He is funny only with you.
Me: That is amazing to me.
Joo Kim Tiah is (perhaps was) the multibillionaire owner of the former Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian company Holburn declared bankruptcy . Now that is a tale to tell but I would not be safe telling it. Sometimes it is best to just joke and laugh and make others joke and laugh It is not worth risking your life over something that is not your problem.