It is a beautiful thing to develop relationships with the people in your community. Even if you never become true friends with your local grocer, or the guy who pumps your gas, or the smurfs building the house next door, it's nice to know their names, and a little about them.
These casual relationships make the rather impersonal day-to day errands in my neighbourhood pleasant, and I love that it seems everyone within a mile's radius of my house knows my Daughter by name, and on site. It makes me feel safe.
I take our daughter to school almost every morning, and because of the size of my car, and my general apathy towards parking lots, I park across the street from her school, behind a row of apartments, and walk her over. I do this very day, twice a day. On the days when work or other commitments interfere, my Mom and Dad pick her up and Stone also does the occasional pick-up and drop off, but he parks inside the school parking lot.
One of the cleaners at the apartments across the street is a nice Omani man, who is about my age. I'll call him Juma. Juma is a respectable guy, working a rather thankless and low-paying job, but he always seems positive, and happy with what he's got in life. We see Juma every morning, and every afternoon, five days a week, and the kid is quite fond of him.
Juma knows my parents a little from when they do the school runs, and often sees me frazzled and prodding the kid along, on the phone, or in my Chef's outfit, or both. Juma, as would soon become apparent, has never seen Stone, and had drawn his own conclusions about my life from what little information he could gather in our brief interactions.
The other morning, after dropping the kid off to school, the following conversation took place:
Juma: Hi Suburban, You have time?
Me: It's kinda hot, but I've got a minute... How are you?
Juma: I'm fine. How is you car? Good?
Me: Thank god, Car is Good. No problems this week.
Juma: I have something for asking you, but I am, word is wary? You will be angry?
Me: Wow, that's good use of the word wary... Go ahead and ask, I won't be mad, but I do not know if I can help you.
Juma: Your daughter pebbles, she needs a father.
Juma: You need a husband... to take care of you and your daughter. You are always working like this, too much busy.
Me: Uuuhhh... Um....
Juma: So I can speak to your father, maybe next week, I am knowing where you live! and maybe you will marry me? Because this is not good life for your daughter, I will take care of you.
Me: ......... O.O .......
Me: Oh... my... god... Juma, that is very sweet, but I am already married to Pebbles Father.
Me: Really. His name is Stone.
Juma: (astonished) And he lives here with you and your parents?
Me: Yes, he works for the same company as Dad. I'm so sorry Juma, your offer is very sweet, and you are a nice guy. I am sure you will make a wonderful father and husband some day.
Juma: Ok, so you are not angry?
Me: Not angry, I am flattered, thanks so much for asking.
It sort of broke my heart to tell him I was married already.
I spend a lot of my time on this blog writing about stuff that pisses me off, or stuff that I just don't understand, or cataloging the various unpleasant experiences I have around here. Maybe I should write more often about all the really good tings and people who are a part of my life here. Juma is one of them.