Given My Druthers

I'd ruther not go out for coffee.

It was the Spring, or maybe Summer, of '84 when some Random Guy steals up behind me one afternoon as I was walking around in my neighborhood in the vicinity of ASU, and as he pulls up along side me asks if I was going to see the recently completed replica of 'The Dome of the Rock' Mosque. Like any woman dealing with a Random Guy, I try to Ignore him. But he persists and says he is on his way to see it, he is visiting from out of town, having recently arrived from somewhere in Europe doing something for someone using some new computer/software/ I Didn't care what--I didn't know him and had no reason to.

I had heard about the new building and while I was curious to swing by and have a look, it was not on my agenda to go see it that day. He grabs me by the elbow in a non-threatening, but forward manner, and keeps walking and talking about how he just has to see it on this particular day and I am just the person to take him inside since he doesn't want to do anything wrong or offend anybody having never been inside a Mosque before.

I tell him frankly, I am not qualified to be any kind of tourguide to first time visitors to a Mosque--why he accosted me of all people walking around for that particular task is incomprehensible to me since I was pretty sure I had left my 'Pick Me for Your Mosque Tourguide Because I am Muslim' plackard at home.

But in no time, we find ourselves at the entrance to the Mosque and the Random Guy turns to me and says, "Well, since we're already here, let's go in."

Which starts me thinking, 'I'm on the rag; I don't know if people are at prayer and if we can just barge in if the doors are closed; I don't have a scarf, I don't know Random Guy's name.'

My hesitation doesn't seem to faze him and he says, "I think we should take off our shoes before we go in." And before I even have a chance to look down, he's already out of his shoes.

"I think you can just go in. You don't need an escort," I say as a last ditch effort to ditch the Random Guy, but he insists that he wouldn't know what to do once he's inside. I guess the idea of just taking a look around at a new building is not in his lexicon. So, not wanting to deter anyone from going inside a Mosque, I reluctantly take off my shoes, the while thinking, 'This blows if they don't have something I can use to cover my hair once inside.'

It was completely empty of people when we stepped in, and it was remarkably lovely and new; true 'architecture of the veil' since we couldn't have anticipated how beautiful it was inside based on the deceptively understated exterior. We climbed up the winding stairs to see what the second floor was like and spent a few minutes just looking around and enjoying the coolness, due in no small part to the intricately carved jaalis in the outer walls acting like a natural and welcome ventilation system to hedge against the Arizona heat; the arabesques, the round dome, the Persian rugs layered on the floor, and the natural light. We didn't say one word to each other, so busy were we taking in the novelty of the space.

Then I was jarred back to reality when I heard a low and gruff voice from somewhere, 'Sister, what are you doing here?'

A short, young man came up to us from a back office somewhere, his stern look and pursed lips made it all too clear he was not pleased to see us there.

"I thought I'd come in to see the Mosque."

"Why is your hair not covered and who is this stranger you're with?"

I think the look on my face pretty much said it, but I never actually came out with it, "Duh--some Random Guy, didn't look too strange to me and wanted to see the Mosque, and I was not intending to pray!"

At which point, I felt Random Guy's hand reach for my elbow again and say in a hushed voice, "I think we've seen enough. I think we should go."

The unwelcoming host was joined by his side-kick, just as short and surley, as two white birds flew in to perch in the jaalis, and he said, "Who are you two, and where are your shoes?"

Random Guy, who by now figured out that I can be the Sister and He not the Brother for no other reason than that I am the Brunette and He is the Blonde, was bristling at this point; but he kept his pleasant demeanor as he addressed them both, "It's really very beautiful in here, thank you for your hospitality. Sorry, if I caused any trouble. We're going now."

And with one quick tug at my elbow we flew down the stairs and made sure we closed the door on our way out.

I was never so humiliated in all my life (having not lived that long, yet); to actually get thrown out of a Mosque! That's right, for doing nothing wrong but for being in the company of some Random Blonde Guy who wanted to see it.

I quickly slid into my shoes, and was trying to just as quickly part company. The Arizona heat, the mad dash down the stairs, the mortification all rushed to my face and gave new meaning to the word 'redskin'.

!You WILL put back everyword I just typed and You wiped out or I WILL NOT keep my hands off the Equipment! {for those just joining us, I had completed this tale of hijinx in the Arizona desert, when some random glitch wiped it out as I went to post it, never mind that it was saved a couple times while drafting...}{the following day, realizing, it didn't all magically get restored since I thought maybe it was rbacked}PUT-It-BACK! Erasing my words does not erase the Memory, Tom~!

{still not back?}I will now count to 3--1...2 (Michael--Brother--that thar fine piece of equipment (read Lazer) you've been developing for over a decade should be all pumped up and ready to go, what say You tune it up right about now? (nice block getting my kid to hi-jack my computer yesterday just as I was about to count 2, but it's not like there is a shortage of computers in these here United States)...

It's a good thing I count slow-- gives me time to work out what the problem is; in this case it is that anything/anyone coming across this site thinks any of this is about them--well, there is more to this World then Them. Okay?
See, some people don't give a ratsass about others because they are bitter that they have to consume the least inspired cuisine on Earth with the most restrictions, not because anyone is punishing them but because Jacob was a finicky eater and apparently had some food allergies, to boot, so they don't much care about others who consume tastier food since what can be the worst thing God can do to them besides make them eat Gfilte fish?
Then there is them who feel they sin so beyond redemption that God will wipe out everything and everyone on Earth since others can't be doing any better than they are, especially if they finally see the light and repent and are SAVED because then they will get air-lifted off the face of the Earth before God comes down really hard on them thar sinners. Not stopping to consider God has no reason to ever reproach most Buddists living on the Earth because they seem to do pretty well with just applying the Golden Rule, and they are good for the Earth; on average don't run amok against each other, and seem to do really well in school; so, why should they be wiped out if they don't have the same guilt complex as them 'we-gonna-be-air-lifted-out-of-here-everytime-we-miscall-the-end-of-the-world' ?Then there is the regular garden variety them 'holier-than-thou-'cause-i-can't-read-a-word-of-scripture-but-i-follow-the-fella-with-the-rattiest-beard'; who for the most part just wing it, or shout it, shoot it, or blow it up to make a point about something nobody else much cares about because they're all having trouble making ends meet or taking their accounts off-shore.
So, My Dear Michael, on 3 you will pick your target(s) knowing how I feel about above ground power lines and faulty infrastructure. I would just aim for the nodes and not over think this thing; don't worry if you hit me, because it ain't like I ain't been burned before. It's set up so that even a mis-fire will hit an intended target, and activate. That's a Kammand. 3!