Wednesday, June 22, 2011
another little vignette of England
It was a rainy London afternoon, one of those moments in which I felt I was walking through a stereotype: drizzly rain, dreary skies, lots of people walking very quickly to their destinations.
I am not a Londoner and, as per my personal custom, felt no need to be carrying an umbrella. I dropped that baby off in some suitcase somewhere, deeming it unnecessary baggage weight when travelling. It didn't get much mileage in Sue Dan or Cairo. It is still somewhere in my life; I just don't know where - but I suspect I'll find it eventually.
All that being said, when I'd left the house that morning I'd noticed the clouds in the skies and remembered that I was in London. So I'd thrown a brilliant magenta-pink coloured canga into my purse - just in case.
And so it was that when, during my walk home, the consistent flow of the drizzle reached a point that I could no longer deny the rather obvious fact that it was raining, I pulled out the canga and draped it over my head and my handbag. It was easily as effective as any umbrella, right?
"Amazing weather!" Between the pitter patter of raindrops and the fact that my ears were wrapped in cloth, this is what I heard the man behind me saying, but I wasn't really sure that I'd heard him.
I turned my head and saw that he was indeed speaking to me. So as to affirm his statement about the weather, which I believed could only have been stated in irony, I nodded with a cringed nose.
"Wow, that look says it all!", he said with a slightly shocked chuckle.
"I try to compliment you on the amazing colour of your headscarf and you give me that look. I understand."
Oh. Of course a Londoner wouldn't be commenting on the weather - nothing unusual about that! He was commenting on the canga. And I'd totally shut him down. Oops. So I tried a friendly half-smile and a chuckle of my own.
"It's ok," he continued. "Have a good day!"
"You too," I replied weakly as he traipsed off into the entrance of the college right up in front.
p.s. Thank you so much to all of you who said such flattering things about my divine encounter last week with the woman visiting her husband in hospital. I think all the credit goes to her and her faith!
p.p.s. It seems there were many memorable people during my trip to England but I guess I was having too much fun to remember them. This is the only story I can recall to share here. Strange and sad how quickly people can enter and then leave our lives.