Saturday, March 23, 2013

From the Backseat

Halfway to Marj al Hammam, the taxi driver with the cigarette dangling out of his mouth suddenly got friendly and was asking me all kinds of things that I didn't understand and so I did my usual thing and answered yes and said "inshallah" and "alhamdullilah" at random intervals. It took a few minutes before I figured out that he was actually on the phone, wearing a headset, probably talking to his wife or his kid, judging from the occasional "baba! what's wrong with you!"
I think this is a thing. The mother of the kids I tutor calls her husband every half hour so he can yell at the kids for refusing to do their reading. The older one has taken to saying he "just want to die" when I show up to teach them.

So this guy was probably also yelling at his kid. I think he assumed I was talking to myself. Safe assumption- how can I resist? After so many years of doing it on the nyc subway with my Arabic flashcards in my lap as if to say- don't worry- I'm just studying. Although, the occasional passenger would get even more concerned with my presence once they saw what I was studying. 

The taxi drivers are my only communication with ordinary people in Amman, and they get really happy when I answer the usual question "are you a new Muslim or were you Muslim 'from the start.'" The driver on the way home from Marj al Hamman nodded his head in approval and said "Subhanallah." And then I said "Subhanallah." And then he asked if I was married and I ignored him and continued trying to casually eat a banana under my niqab. In Morocco I would have said "shame on you!" but I'm not sure if that's a thing here.

The route across the city is so beautiful and I have plans to ask the next driver to drop me off near that spot where there are randomly a bunch of camels, plus some nearby sheep. It would be too expensive to have the driver wait around, but I have faith that some woman will feel bad for me and pick me up like they do when it's raining, and like the drivers in Morocco do for the elderly. I can't resist the camels. I can hear them calling to me.

"C'mon! Take our picture! You know you want to. Look how random we are!"

Or maybe it's an echo from some other corner of the city. But I'll probably give in anyway.
I know me. Even if the city hasn't met me yet.

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