Here we go again. The Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us. This year, falling as it does from mid August to mid-September, we have longer days and shorter nights, where the malls stay open till 3am and people drive suicidally bug-eyed and with blood sugar so low their ankles swell during the later hours of daylight. Expats are, for the most part, bewildered, when eating a banana in the street can (and sometimes does) earn the wayward and undisciplined infidel a visit to the local calaboose for the remainder of the season, without air conditioning. Not tempting, thus crazed and sinful activities like smoking cigarettes must be done behind closed doors. Like sex.
A Kuwaiti friend, somewhat disingenuously, offered these survival tips:
1. Leave the house a half hour in advance. If you can’t beat them [sic], leave work or school after everyone has gone, which ‘might be a bit of a downer…’ Indeed so. On the other hand, don’t leave the house at all.
2. Try to host activities in your home. Goody. Friday night is Strip Scrabble. I can’t tell you what you have to do for a doubled triple word score…
3. Pray and ‘do good deeds’. Excellent. A heartfelt prayer in the direction of the blind Jehu’s to make it quick and clean, followed by queuing up to push the wheelchair-bound old lady out on to the traffic island where she can remain in comfort for several hours in the sunshine, waiting for another pilgrim, equally spiritually enthused, to take her to the other side of the road, only one good deed per day per person being allowed.
4. Buy your Eid outfit now. Since properly Irish carousal is forbidden, perhaps a new tee shirt in a dark colour where the chocolate spillage won’t show…I really can’t wait.
Human beings are narcissistic little creatures, colonising the Earth from Antarctica to Angola, although the practicalities of a summer Ramadan in high latitudes with twenty-four hours of daylight elude me. We’re quite good about self-denial; if there ain’t no fish we don’t eat. A cockroach does even better. Capable of surviving for months without food and remaining clinically alive minus its head for weeks, who are a few Muslims to complain when celestial room service goes AWOL?
The image shows the dire consequences of smoking in public.