An Irish Lady, an Egyptian Man and me

Me, in Mexico, last week


I am sure I am not alone in loving the discount corner of my local supermarket – actually Teddy loves it even more than me. We call it Compost Corner after the first discount area that we found in a furniture store. About 30 years ago, I said “we are going out to buy a dining table for £10”. Teddy was incredulous but we came back with a beautiful ‘teak’ table that £10. We loved it and my mum claimed it when we moved on to another table.

I digress… Today, I was lurking around my supermarket’s discount area and starting chatting to a lady with a northern accent who looked completely Jewish. We discussed our various finds, from $1 Italian wine and myriad other exotica. She and her husband called it the WooHoo section. We were joined by a man who looked Middle-Eastern. He joined in the conversation and we agreed with him that it provokes you to try something new when it is discounted. He was handsome and the ‘Jewish’ lady heard his accent (swooned a little) while asking him where he was from.

Then it turned into a competition. I knew he was Arabic so I guessed Lebanese and greeted him in North African Arabic. No to Lebanon but my next guess was right – Egyptian. I should have known; he was in the discount area although he was probably a doctor and both charming and chatty. Then the Jewish lady revealed that she was Irish American. She absolutely did not look Irish. So, then they had to guess where I was born (San Francisco, Hispanic/Irish hybrid). Nobody got that right.

So, we had a Hispanic (me) who looks Irish and sounds Scottish; an Egyptian man with an ‘olive chin’ that hints at his ancestry and a ‘Jewish’ lady who was really Irish. We all started laughing about how typical this was in both our area and the Houston area. The Egyptian man commented that this was makes America great – (if only everyone agreed with him). I told him about the barista who longs to speak Arabic so I imagine he will visit there next. As I left, I bumped into the barista and told him about speaking Arabic to an Egyptian man – his face lit up at the idea of a potential new friendship.

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Kerry not Charlie

Coexist-in-Theory Quelle horreur! There is no good ideology that assassinates someone who is blasphemous. Civilized societies have a legal system to address this. As a writer, I try very hard not to be disrespectful to other people’s religion or ideology unless I find it abhorrent. I am a humorous writer so sometimes I may poke gentle fun at a culture or religion. In all honesty, having lived in an Islamic culture, I do not understand why cartoonists would show an image of Prophet Mohammed when they know how offensive that would be but free speech allows them to do so. Living in Texas, I often feel that free speech regularly slides into hateful rhetoric and is used as an excuse to spread repugnant ideas. Small acts can accelerate hatred between opponents. I live in a predominantly Republican area and some people who had VOTE OBAMA bumper stickers had their cars scraped by keys. No wonder we have so many social problems in the USA. I am full of grief and sadness for the current events in France and all the murdered victims; their relatives and the mostly innocent Muslim French population who will now be discriminated against, further aggravating the situation. When I was a teenager the IRA and Loyalist (Irish Catholics and Protestants) were actively terrorizing the UK and Ireland. I went to a Catholic school in a predominantly Protestant city and our school had regular bomb threats. At the time, I felt that there was no solution to a centuries old problem but life has changed and I married someone from a Protestant family in a civil ceremony. COEXIST.