Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cinderella and the والخفاف زجاجيّة

Ten dollars to the first person to translate this post title! OK, this one's going to be a little more modern, as far as my posts have been going.. I've noticed my little pattern of telling stories that are slightly dated, chronologically speaking.. So here's a story from my life as an adult.. Just to prove that I have a little more on my mind than running ahead of my competition.. It's subtle, but you may see it..

My best buddy from college, Mike, got in touch with me via an email forwarded from someone in my running club.. Mike and I had completely lost touch.. Back in college we were both math majors, and the long hours spent studying left us in complete need of frivolity during our free time. We often entertained ourselves trying to find Mike a new girlfriend.. No one took us seriously, as our approach was more of the slapstick variety.. I would drop pennies on the floor of the student union building, and Mike would chase after them and as he would pick them up, he'd attempt an uninvited glance up some poor unsuspecting girl's dress.. Needless to say, Mike remained without a girlfriend throughout our friendship, which worked well for me, cause I could keep studying with him.. So back to our reunion.. I was happy to get the email from him, and reminisced about the goofy times we had together.. I wondered what he had been doing with his life these past 10 years.. I had heard that he transferrred to a different college before we graduated, and was studying macrame and dog sledding.. I did a quick search on the internet, and to my complete shock, discovered that Mike had been living in Morocco, spoke fluent Arabic, was employed by the UN, and was devoting his life to humanitarian causes.. This couldn't be the same Mike. Impossible. I called him up.
"Hi, Mike?"
"Yes? Who is this?"
"Guess."
"Say a few words. That voice is familiar."
"Ok, you should know who this is.. "(laughing)
(Giggles from Mike) "I know who this is! Are you naked?"
"Ah, some things never change! "
So Mike was still the same.. Yet he'd also added this completely different dimension to his life. He was involved in an Arabic Culture club, and invited me to his rooftop party in the city.. I was excited to go.. We don't have rooftop parties upstate in the country.. Our roofs are slanted here and everyone would slide off.. But in the city it's romantic.. You can see buildings of all different styles and heights, sprays of neon colors, all in a swirl of urban regalia.. Mike was the perfect host. In honour of my visit, he walked down the five flights to greet me at the door (no elevator in this building).. He looked exactly the same! A serious looking man in a business suit was by his side, apparantly the first guest. Before we knew it, lots of people started arriving. As I was introduced to people, the question of my connection to the Arabic club kept coming up.. My response was the same to each person: Mike is an old friend from college.. And I speak Hebrew, which is also a semitic language.. That line fell flat and generally ended the conversation.. The author of an Arabic instruction book was present as well.. I figured I'd have more of a connection with him, as I am really fascinated with language structures.. I mentioned that Arabic and Hebrew seem to have many similarites.. He agreed, and for emphasis, had me recite the numbers in Hebrew from 1 to 5.. I obeyed, and after each recitation, he would follow with the Arabic equivalent. 'see the similatrities?' He asked excitedly.. I wanted to, but they sounded as different to me as Chinese to Amharic.. I was still pleased with he exchange, and felt a renewed interest in learning Arabic.. It's such a suave, smooth flowing language.. When I was studying Childhood Education at university in Tel Aviv, my favorite class was Arabic.. I had to drop it because I think the concept of learning a new language instructed in Hebrew was too mind-boggling for my brain to process.. I'd stop and think about it, and then start dreaming in Spanish altogether.. So back to the hafleh on the roof.. I met all the women.. Very diverse group.. From 18-40ish, some dressed in traditional muslim attire, some completely modern and revealing.. There was an air of all wanting to meet Mr. Right.. I got that same sense from the men too, come to think of it.. Well let me rephrase that.. The men that looked clearly like Arabic was not their native tongue fell into this category.. Single New York City guys just trying to meet a nice girl.. Some were very odd, but that's to be expected at semi-random gatherings of people.. I had spoken to almost everyone there, when I noticed this small gathering of people sitting in a dark corner of the roof. One man seemed to be looking at me, and I remembered greeting him earlier as I was ducking out of the building for a little bite to eat.. I remembered he had very beautiful eyes, and a calm, intelligent face.. I walked over to him and started a conversation.. I may have been a little tipsy at that point, but the wind at that altitude seemed to sober me up, so I know that my thinking was clear. I'll call this man Said, just because I saw a film with a character with this name, and he had the same, steady gaze.. But that character was very, very serious, and didn't seem capable of light conversations with people of the opposite sex. My Said was very involved in our conversation, or more commited, I should say.. I was aware of being a bit of a conversation hog, but I was just so pleased with this man's ability to follow me.. Somehow I got onto sagas of famous female distance runners.. And this man was completely up-to-date with the BBC'S commentary on the subject! Wow! How many of my recent suitors even watch the BBC let alone follow topics I'm passionate about? Said also had a very centered continence, as though he could survive equally as well on a deserted island isolated from humanity as with a roomful of his closest friends.. But the real sign that he found favor in my eyes, was that I didn't even realize that he was a smoker until after I had left.
I looked down at my watch at one point, and realized that if I ran the whole way, I could make it to Port Authority to make the 12:30 bus back home.. There was no time for any further exchanges.. I said 'goodbye, it was lovely meeting you.. Visit my blog', and the other three men in our circle said in unison, 'We'd like to visit it, too'.. I said my good-byes to a very disappointed Mike.. He was hoping for a help-mate in the after party clean-up (sometimes living far away is a great advantage).. And off I went, down the five flights of steps, the only person running in Hell's kitchen this breezy Friday night..

17 comments:

kahr said...

well, Tamar, I can't translate the title but I am the first one to comment so do I win anyway??? Sounds like an interesting party - did ya get Said's number? He sounds like he might be a better date that the 2 you had last night.... well, different anyway...

Jon said...

I love how you write. Interesting party. So you and Mike never "hooked up"? That's what I was expecting.

I am not once to say that me and women can't have friendships, I have plenty of women friends. Buut then again I can't imagine hanging out with you and not wanting to date you.

~Deb said...

Well let me just ask you what Mike did...

Are ya naked right now?

hehe... Sorry---even I don't change.

That gathering sounded so interesting and it's amazing what other people know as far as things of your interest. I'm always amazed with your ability to communicate with people when we're out together. Even at my parties--when you're there, you're comfortable in your own skin it seems; which makes it very easy to talk to you. Your personality gravitates people to you.

Your friend sounds nice--Mike. And the memories you had with him sound fun! Sometimes it's nice when people change--but it's also comforting that they're still the same person 'inside'.

Great post Tamar! Also, can you imagine me running through Hell's kitchen in my heels? Remember us walking through Little Italy and my heel got stuck in a sewer grate---and I went BOOM!???? Yeh--those were the good ol' times. When we going back to Angelo's???

tamar said...

kahr~ welcome to my blog! yes, alright, you can cash in on the prize, especiallymbecause I haven't had ANY guesses.. Said and I were in touch.. You and myrsurv were also excellent dates.. ;-)

jon~ thank-you for your positive feedback.. Mike and I are friends, and that's what we are..

deb~ hi! any time you are ready to go back to nyc, let me know! I'd love to.. Thank-you for appreciating me.. I feel comfortable with strangers for some reason, but socialing with people I know better seems totally foreign to me.. Oh, a girl at work today told me she went to the doctor and the receptionist was a real creton, but then the doctor was so nice! I asked if she was young and pretty, and she said in a surprised voice, 'yes!?' I guessed it was that doctor I had when you escorted me into the doctor's office.. hahaha!

kahr said...

Yes, it was a fun time Saturday...

It is interesting what you said about socializing and feeling more comfortable with strangers than with people you know better... Maybe being anonymous makes us bolder? More outgoing? More ourselves? What are we afraid of?

I am an avid observer of the blogs and now I have commented on yours... maybe one day I'll write something too. After the Bar Mitzvah - Oy Vey!

tamar said...

kahr~ yes, anonymity makes us bold.. that's probably why people are so relaxed and carefree on vacation.. they don't have anything to prove to these strangers.. the strangers can't tell their neighbors of our antics, and if they did, we wouldn't care, cause that would be the last time they saw our sorry selves! haha..

nikrat said...

Really great story Tamar -- although it's not much of an example of your non-running life since Mike got in touch with you through your running club and your big connection with the mysterious Said was over female distance runners and you end the story running down five flight of stairs on a dead run to the Port Authority.

nikrat said...

So let's get back to the Mike part of your story. Howcum you two didn't hook up? (Or did you?) Out of pennies? Loved the post. And the Arabic in your title, translated, means: Your camel is parked in a handicapped zone. Emes.

tamar said...

nikrat~ abba shel shaina! baruchim habaim! you know, I missed those running references, that's pretty funny..
yes, that was a very close translation of the title.. OK, you'll have to fight w kahr for the winnings..

Madelene Rose said...

translation: and the glass slippers or shoes?

tamar said...

madelene rose~ ok, no more credit for creative answers, first to comment on the post.. you have the exact intended translation.. $10 to you, and hats off, too.. bravo! ;-) Well done..

Madelene Rose said...

شكرا يا تمار

:) I will take u to Starbucks for coffee and cookies! :Pp

Madelene Rose said...

hafleh? Heheehehhehe That's party in Arabic. Although, a strong 'h' like in Hubris. Let me be your tutor, I'm excellent in Arabic. In fact, I should give you stuff to entertain you. Poems perhaps? Impress Edward Said *snickers* with Nizar Qabbani poetry and Nawal el Sadawi's dissident views.

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