In the (very fine) country of Britannia, there is nothing so indicative of wealth and/or class and/or status than TOILET PAPER. In primary school (because it’s paid for by the government) we are subjected to a variety of grease-proof paper – not too pleasant – and as we ascend the social ladder we graduate from Sainsbury’s stuff to Andrex and so on, until we reach The Summit: QUILTED. A beautiful and wonderful thing, and totally worth the expense, in my estimation.
Egypt though: a whole different realm. There is a reason why there has never (as far as I know) been a revolutionary uprising of the working man against everyone else, and a very simple one too – everyone has the same type of toilet paper. [it’s a kind of dimply one, by the way; a bit like kitchen roll.] This is the Great Leveller – reconciliation across the Great Divide.
If only we could see that kind of class emancipation in my land; if only we could be united in our most private moments … Then, what integrity we’d then have in our public moments!
1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours! (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
2. Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)
3. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Exodus 2:16-21)
4. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Ruth 4:5-10)
5. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. (Judges 21:19-25)
6. Have God make one for you while you sleep. (Genesis 2:19-24)
7. Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. (Genesis 29:15-30)
8. Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law’s enemies and get his daughter for a wife. (I Samuel 18:27)
9. Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’ll definitely find someone. (Genesis 4:16-17)
10. Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Esther 2:3-4)
11. When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a … woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She’s the one for me." (Judges 14:1-3)
12. Kill a guy and take HIS wife. (2 Samuel 11)
13. Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow – it’s not just a good idea; it’s the law! (Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example
14. Don’t be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. (1 Kings 11:1-3)
15. A wife? No thanks … (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)
[here follows a note, written in a square around a picture of a figure with glasses, labelled ‘DADDY’, who is surrounded by four big hearts. all in pink.]
‘Nice, Singings good hansom, loving God, funny, likes to cover up, Good at making tapes, doesn’t want us to talk long on the telephone.’
[found on the floor of a conference centre somewhere in the desert between Cairo & Alexandria. Kept cos it made my heart warm, knowing that Daddies exist everywhere …]
The power went off at about 4 this morning, and because I’m such a westerner and so desperately in need of my precious ceiling fan, I woke up straight away, amidst a puddle of sweat. Lovely! Or maybe it was the mosquito bites that woke me (quite disappointing after spending nearly an hour and a half hunting them all down before going to bed).
Either way, it meant that I got to go out on the roof and hum along with the early morning call to prayer. I’m out in a small-village-in-the-desert kind of place, but there still seemed to be 5 mosques having a go at proving just how easy it is to be out of harmony, in order to get us up and praying. It didn’t really work on me, I’m afraid. Ah well …
I’m going to leave Egypt in a few days and spend a bit of a while in my lovely homeland, and I’m very happy at the prospect 🙂 Yes, VERY happy. I quite like the fact that I popped over here without really knowing why, and that’s pretty much still the case. Or maybe The Reason will appear this week. Maybe.
I’m feeling fine, if sleep-deprived. At peace. Eating raw onion is good for your health, by the way. As is Canon Andrew White. And if you’re ever in an Egyptian swimming pool and all the men seem to be fighting, don’t worry, it’s ‘a traditional Egyptian game’ apparently 🙂
oh, the depth of expression in the English language …
Well, after a whole day-and-a-half in my lovely homeland (although is has to be wondered how much London really counts …), here I am in another land, another continent, etcetc. And it’s REALLY nice!
Maybe this is true and maybe it isn’t, but in a lot of ways I feel FAR more comfortable here than I was in the States – I love walking around at night (evenings are seriously GORGEOUS here), ignoring the taxi-vans beeping at me, and generally acting as if I’m not a tourist. Which I’m not.
On thursday, I got to go to my SIXTH wedding in FOUR months (they’ve been in 4 different countries too), which was also my first time to go to an Orthodox church – a very good experience, by the way; I especially liked the old priest guy.
I don’t have many (/any) responsibilities here, so am free to be with friends, wander about, or do writing (I’m doing prep and/or planning for about 4 novels, 3 short short stories, and lots of ideas for childrens tv programmes – how much fun?!!!). It’s a good lifestyle for me.
Speak soon …