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Last Friday I jumped into a Zoom call with steaming-hot coffee. Steaming-hot coffee not even in a mug (I don’t have any of those), but in a glass cup that amplified the steam and pronounced the dark-chocolatey color to the other mini zoom boxes on the call. The other mini boxes holding approximately thirty people… most of whom were fasting. Two minutes later the coffee kicked in:
“OMG I’m so sorry and embarrassed! It’s the first day of Ramadan and here I am with my coffee. Please forgive me. Ramadan mabrouk to all who are celebrating!”- my Zoom message to the group.
A few smiled, giggled a bit, and nearly everyone replied, “No problem. Thank you! Happy Ramadan!” And I slowly pushed the steaming-hot coffee out of the frame. Karma served me stale coffee an hour later. It was well-deserved.
Although I’m continually impressed with anyone who eschews coffee, water, food, and cursing (!!) during daylight hours in Ramadan, I would not be half as gracious myself. My eyes would be cursing for me if I was in one of those mini boxes without morning coffee.
It’s no secret as to why I would be so oblivious. I mean I have a hard time paying attention in the first place, and on top of that Covid19 has created a weird bubble that is my apartment. In previous years, I have gone to great lengths to participate in the holy month that transforms cities. In 2017 I fasted for the entire month (that’s my metaphorical Ramadan badge of honor). But Covid has me cooped up inside thinking it’s still February.
Yes Ramadan has arrived, but its magic needs to be declared as lost baggage for now. No breaking the fast with family and friends, no coffee with friends nor cultural events around the city leaves many people feeling robbed–and has got me feeling like I did back in December of 2016 and 2018 when I didn’t go home for Christmas.
And yes, many people recognize that everything I mentioned above is frivolous when it comes to the real meaning of Ramadan, but this is going to be that one annoying post that says Covid makes Ramadan a lot less magical.
I’ll own that as my perspective, and you can blame it on me being a non-Muslim foreigner if you would like. That being said, I’ve started to take baby steps to reclaim some magic. This afternoon while taking the trash out, I shouted Ramadan greetings to anyone who looked my way. Bechir–local store owner–laughed as usual. A “Chehia Tayeba” for you, and one for you, and one for you!
I throw open windows around 7pm to hear the cacophony of call to prayers, and have started scheduling virtual coffee dates for some Zoom-sponsored nightlife. My favorite strategy is eating copious amounts of brik. By the way, how much brik is too much brik? Asking for a friend.
Anyways, I said it was less magical– not unmagical. This lost baggage can be recovered.
So before closing, join me in one big Ramadan mubarek saied!! For those celebrating, may you find the magic of Ramadan like Harry Potter discovering Hogwarts. For those who are not, but know someone who is, join me in another Ramadan karim!
Stay hydrated, friends!
How are you celebrating Ramadan during the times of Covid19? Let me know in the comments!
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