I had an incredible day yesterday, went for a walk that left me with the feeling that I was home and last and that I was meant to be here – back in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. It all happened for the weirdest of reasons – the days before, Saturday – I mistook paper towel for toilet paper when doing my weekly grocery shopping at Save-On grocery store.
Covid has had many long lasting effects – some things will never go away and will haunt us the rest of our lives. One of which is the packaging of toilet paper. In the beginning of the pandemic people panicked in the strangest of ways – stores shelves would be denuded of bottled water, toilet paper and paper towel. Other things as well but those are three things I remember because all were totally illogical. For example, water supplies were never affected, water from the tap was perfectly safe, safer than bottled water actually. Now onto toilet paper. Toilet paper is now packaged in huge amounts, huge to a person living alone. A person living alone is forced to buy enough toilet paper for an entire year – or else go without. Going without is not a viable alternative, trust me it is not.
At the Save-On store I carefully examined my alternatives – most limited. I shop for groceries with bags and my carry on luggage in order to escort my purchases from the taxi to my apartment. I discovered the smallest package of (I thought) toilet paper. Unpacked the groceries to discover it was paper towel. I now have enough paper towels to last for two years. But NO toilet paper. Fortunately I am ingenious. This means: (of a person) clever, original, and inventive. With a proper amount of humility shall provide the synonyms: inventive, creative, imaginative, original, innovative, resourceful, enterprising, insightful, inspired, perceptive, intuitive; clever, intelligent, bright, smart, brilliant, masterly, talented, gifted, skillful, capable; sharp, astute, sharp-witted, razor-sharp, quick, quick-witted, shrewd; elaborate, sophisticated, trailblazing, pioneering; on the ball, thinking outside the box, genius. So, on my good days I am on the ball, think out side the box, can be sharp-witted and razor-sharp – even insightful and inspired.
It is necessary at this point in time to distinguish between two words that are often confused. Ingenious and ingenuous. Ingenious means ‘clever, skillful, resourceful’; while ingenuous means ‘artless, frank’. Do admit that I can be frank at times but that is not my name: my name is Alexis, my Muslim name is Fatimah. Please laugh.
But back to the toilet paper. I became enterprising, resourceful and masterly, remembering there was a Shoppers Drug Mart close by. I am becoming increasingly mobile with the help of my Edmonton physiotherapist and able to walk some distance without pain. Toilet paper is not heavy, so put on my walking shoes, grabbed a big bag and off I went. Met with success, got eight rolls (and some ice cream). Then on the way back to my apartment made an incredible discovery.
To realize its significance first you shall have to have some history. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 1964 with a. Bachelor of Arts and immediately got a job. I was hired as the Youth Program Director at the YWCA. The building in which I worked was downtown, it has since been demolished, a replacement built in a different location. I had been living with two high school and University friends but that was not working anymore – one got married etc etc. Therefore, I found an apartment within walking distance of the YWCA – a studio apartment paying, I clearly recall, eighty dollars a month. Looked to find the building but had been unsuccessful, remembering it was next to an old building that served as the art gallery, but now the art gallery is in a stunning building on Churchill Square.
I walked homeward, light weight toilet paper in a bag slung over my shoulder. An old brick building caught my eye, walked a block to discover what it was. It was an old school, the MacKay which ceased being a school in 1983 and with great foresight had been turned into a museum, refurbished (apparently) in a manner that spokeof its original use. It was closed, one had to make an appointment to get inside. From that vantage point looked to 105 Street – and there was my old apartment building. Walked closer to confirm – indeed it was, cannot remember the address but it am certain, absolutely positive that it is the building. There is a large, high rise apartment located where the old art gallery was. Continued the walk to my current residence seeing the back of the building is on my street, scarcely one block away.
It was totally mind blogging. My first apartment is within two blocks of what may become my last apartment. I left my first apartment when I was almost twenty- three, when I got married.
Fifty-six years later I am back home. It is totally mind boggling. Mind boggling is an adjective, meaning over whelming and startling. It is both over whelming and startling knowing the journey I took to get back home, and the total improbability and conditions responsible for my return.
It may become my last apartment because when I signed the lease the Property Manager and I had the following conversation.
He: You will stay in this apartment for ten years.
Me: What are you clairvoyant? Do they pay you extra for that? Hahaha
I am here, in large measure, because of my reverting to the Islamic faith. Equally over whelming and startling is the fact that I received two inspiring Islamic messages this morning from, of all places – Instagram.
One a reel showing a couple, whose loving family is often featured. The couple are walking with the message: True love does not end at death. If Allah will it, it’ll continue in Jannah.
That is a beautiful concept – so sustaining upon the death of a dearly loved one. I pity those not of the faith who loose their life partner as there is no such promise in other faiths.
But then another message about one’s everyday life. “Be mindful who you allow on your boat. The wrong people could co untold damage to the whole boat, even causing it to capsize. Steal clear of those who love to gossip and spread lies. Don’t bring them on board. Keep your circle small. Choose only the ones you can trust.”
That is SO helpful. Met a woman who reached out to me on Saturday but later learned that she was an individual who spread lies. So I erased her contact information from my phone, she does not know how to reach me. I am confident I did the right thing, She is not worthy of trust, I need to keep my circle small.
But there are other aspects to the faith, as you will see. The faith has become rule driven. An articulate man said on Instagram that 93% of the faith is philosophical and teaches one how to live their lives in a productive way to please Allah. 7% of the faith (according to his math) concerns itself with rules. Unfortunately, he said, it is the rules that are constantly being emphasized, the rules have taken precedence. He is a revert, stated he would have never come to the faith based on the rules. I totally agree and shall provide an example, along with the photograph of my nails.
A woman of the faith and I were in text conversation. I had met her at Friday prayers at the Al Rashid Mosque and she was most helpful, sitting next to me she taught me the proper way to hold my hands in prayer and other ways to worship, in a kindly and helpful manner. However, in a text message she ‘warned me”
She: Just so you are aware, before comments come out but to let you know that your nails are a beautiful color but we should not be using nail polish.
She was being helpful, I do not doubt her intentions. However, this was my response:
Me: Women in the Middle East wear nail polish as well as most of the female members of the Royal Family of Qatar. Nail polish not mentioned in the Quran as far as I know. Hahaha
Her response was most gracious, we spoke of the Quran and its emphasis in the class we were going to attend together
I can type quickly and expertly at the present moment as my finger nails have been trimmed – trimmed and polished, now very workable as the photograph shall reveal.
But it is definitely time for some humour and Andy Borowitz shall again be featured. This has to be Andy’s funniest ever. “PITTSBURGH (The Borowitz Report)—Eating classified documents was “an essential part of President Donald Trump’s super-healthy diet,” Dr. Mehmet Oz has claimed. Oz, the longtime television host and, more recently, Pennsylvania’s G.O.P. nominee for the U.S. Senate, said that “classified documents, including the nuclear codes, provided the roughage necessary to keep President Trump’s digestive system humming along at the highest possible level.”
Is it not ridiculous, to begin with, that Dr. Oz thinks he is somehow quaified to run for a seat on the U.S. Senate? He is a doctor, after all, not a lawyer and knows nothing about legislation and probably does not know about the balance of power nor anything at all about the constitution. But that does not stop him. It is to be remembered he is running for a G.O.P. seat and most of them are in the same or similar situation. But I do have to admit that he might know something about fibre.
Andy continues in fine fashion. “Speaking at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Oz said that Trump’s diet consisted of “the four food groups: the hamburger group, the ketchup group, the Coca-Cola group, and the classified-documents group.”
“Looking at President Trump, you might wonder what miracle diet made him such a fine physical specimen,” Oz said. “It turns out that national-security documents are not only loaded with secrets—they’re chock-full of fibre.”
Andy’s satire is accompanied by a photo of the two of them with Trump looking most obese and out of shape. Clearly the three other food groups, the hamburger, the ketchup and the Coca-Cola have made a major impact upon him. My advice to Dr. Oz is to stop the Senate race and instead advise Trump on his dietary habits. But this is free advice and as the saying goes: You get what you pay for which is used to say that a thing that can be bought for a very low price probably isn’t very good. It is a proverb probably coined from Kurt Vonnegut: “In this world, you get what you pay for.”
The photograph is of the hand with the nails and the henna. Tattoos are forbidden in the Islamic faith but henna is not. It is said that is because henna is temporary. So is nail polish by the way as any woman can tell you.