Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eid Al-Nabi

I was told there would be cows in the street today, I have yet to see anything of the sort. But that kind of thing is child’s play to a Kashmiri woman, which is how I introduce myself to people, and so that must be what I am.

I have developed a financial relationship with the woman that sits outside of my morning café. How could I not? I am usually the only woman inside and she is the homeless mother outside. If I pass without stopping she calls out “America America” until I turn back. She always tells me what is going on in her life, and sometimes I can’t understand how it relates to money and interpret it as casual conversation. The day before the holiday I wished her Eid Mubarak and she tried to explain to me that her son was being circumcised the next day. I understood that something was being done to her son and I knew the verb “to cut,” but couldn’t get further than that. She tried to point and still I drew a blank. To any passer by, our conversation consisted of a homeless woman yelling “Penis penis penis penis!” to me in the street, and me squinting my eyes in confusion, “shnoo?”

In honor of “Eid Al-Nabi” I spent an hour in a taxi last night trying to find a mosque open late, and even the cab-driver was astounded that we couldn’t find even a one. Since I am currently working through a complex that God is trying to keep me out of His house, this was not the best situation, especially because mosques after hours tend to be where the creepiest people hang out. Not necessarily dangerous, just decidedly creepy. Without entering any of the four mosques we stopped at, I was kissed and hugged and followed and made to recite obscure short surahs to prove that I was not just playing dress up, with my bangs escaping my hijab every chance they got. We ended up finding one light at the end of the tunnel near Mohamed Al-Khamis that was decorated with flashing red and green lights, and half of the women entering were not wearing hijab, and dressed in their fanciest Qaftans and spiky heels. I spotted several obnoxious children roaming free and sulked at their not-being-cows. I declined entry, retreating home to my non-family. This is what holidays tend to be. And anyway, I was taught that we are not supposed to party on the Prophet’s birthday.

The idea of a day off work seems like a distant memory, but with everything closed I am forced to abide. I spent most of the afternoon mopping the flood from my bedroom, and will continue to do so into the night and late hours of the morning.


Mona said...

Eid Mubarak!

Anonymous said...

Salam Shifa

Its really to read your blog and I discover through GlobalVoices, and article about the celebration of Laid, and I wish Aid Said.