Monthly Archives: October 2003
In college, I had a surprise waiting for me when I came back for my second semester. My original roommate was gone! A week later, my new roommate showed up: a young man named Khalifa from the United Arab Emirates–among other things, he sometimes slept with his eyes open. Which freaked me out no end when I came in to find a strange Arab man sleeping in my room. With his eyes open.
It’s a bit like having a conversation with a corpse. (Not that I’ve had a conversation with a corpse, mind.) He was also a deep deep sleeper. After a moment or two of “hello? hello?”, I promptly fled.
Later, when he was awake, he turned out to be a delightfully friendly, if a little daft, young man. He also showed during the middle of Ramadhan, which I had never heard of before. I didn’t really understand why he was bringing back pizzas in the middle of the night (1-2 AM). (He sure liked pizza!) I’ll never forget the night that I joined him and one of his friends on the floor, eating rice and yoghurt with my hands, at 1 in the morning.
Or the time that he told me that he was sorry for me because I could only ever have one wife. (At a time, my friend, at a time! I should have said.) Instead, I just laughed nervously. I had no idea how to respond. The thought of having more than one wife (or girlfriend, for that matter) is not an appealing one!
Later in my schooling, I had another roommate from the UAE. He was far less pleasant.
I do think this is important stuff. (And directly related to the book which I just finished reading; about which I’ll probably be posting soon soon.) Go read.
Also, as I watched the enormously inventive and sweet-hearted burners duct-taping together their creations, I felt a sinking sense of ineffectiveness. We’re up against an opposition that can get their machines to fly twice the speed of sound and do so reliably. Granted they do stupid and terrible things with those machines, but at least they get them to work. And yes, ours would probably work too with that kind of funding, but with our disdain for both wealth and the tedious processes of democracy, we have conceded those resources to the thin-lipped monotheists.