A Moment With: Her Past And My Present

bohemian necklace, neckline, paisley, tan
Image via cleverlyours.com

Meeting someone without your glasses or contacts can be an uncomfortably intimate experience. When things are blurry, you’re inviting someone to see more of you than you can see of them. You’re prompted to absorb this person’s voice more deeply, or even to move physically closer, just to understand what’s going on. This is how I met my optometrist. Contacts off – she saw me before I saw her. I wouldn’t come to ‘see’ her and be able to discern her features fully until the end of my exam. What ensued was a very intimate conversation as we related to each others religious experience – though the religion and religious symbol we had in common were in her past and my present. Continue reading “A Moment With: Her Past And My Present”

The Universal Face of Annoyance

The mailman for our building – a man whom I often run down to say hello so I can hear his complaints (he has a very particular style of complaining that makes me really happy) – well, he was on the other side of our block dutifully* delivering mail, when he saw that someone from another shift had delivered our package to the building across the street.

He was so annoyed, sooooo** annoyed, that he took the package, walked around the block, into our building, up four flights of stairs, to hand me the package and correct this heinous blunder by some unnerving fool, even though he still has to come back later to deliver the rest of our mail. “It SAYS the address on there, IT SAYS IT ON THERE! 123, not 132!” he exclaimed in exasperated frustration.

Like this, but backwards. Actual space stuff via Dailymail
Like this, but backwards. Actual space stuff via Dailymail

While staring at his face, I had about a million flashbacks to every time I’ve experienced this emotion or observed it in others. It was the best: like staring into the universe of a very particular emotion as it recedes into the past, connected to every emotion that came before it and will come after it, every eye roll, every grunt or sigh, every desire to flip over a table, every “I just can’t” that has existed in all of the languages of human expression. Exhilarating.

*Why hasn’t this word been shortened to ‘dutily’?
**Oh the frustration of writing an assignment for school or work and not being able to convey how much you mean something by adding extra letters because it’s not ‘proper English’.  This is why the majority of the populace cares not for grammar, and neither shall I.

A Moment With: Henry


About This Series

I’m intrigued by daily human interactions and transactions, and the ways in which our communities and cities are organized and laid out: who we interact with, who we ignore, who we get to know. Part of what I have wanted to unlearn from my self-absorbed lifestyle is being disconnected with so many human beings. These are my accounts of the people I’ve met: a moment of shared time and space, and an opportunity to get to know someone and hear what they choose and wish to share. The questions I ask make for a limited scope: a biased curiosity, never a ‘whole’, if we can ever come to know someone as a whole. 

Today I met Henry as he drove my friend and I home after an afternoon of exploring the Islamic Art Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When I first opened the door to hop in his cab, the leather interior was clean and worn. I found myself making a wish that it didn’t smell from a previous hungover passenger (it’s happened before). Thankfully, it did not.

I quickly glanced at his ID card and extended a warm greeting, “Hello, Henry! How has your day been so far?” He responded with a warm bellowing hello and ‘he he he’ giggle – every word he spoke came out of a smile. We drove along with all four windows down to let in the fabulously cool post-rain summer air. “I been here 27 years – this is the nicest summer we’ve had!” He has been living in New York for 27 years – as long as I’ve lived. Continue reading “A Moment With: Henry”

Things That Aren’t Better Left Undiscussed: Domestic Violence

parents fighting, kid covering ears, domestic violence, parents yelling
via CounselHeal.com

We share links about it, we say its wrong. We speak about it, and often in a condescending way, in a way that is separate from us, and afflicting other human beings. But do we allow ourselves to contemplate what forms of domestic violence may or may not have touched us? We like to keep our image above these things, separate and untouched by these negative behaviors.

Domestic violence isn’t limited to one human being physically hitting another human being. It can be shouting at the top of your lungs. It can be icing someone out. It can be disrespectful mannerisms and statements that become habitual ways of (mis)communicating anger and aggression. Name-calling, threatening, ultimatums. Domestic violence can be breaking things, destroying what you have built.

One of the reasons it is statistically shown that someone who experiences domestic violence in their household is more likely to commit domestic violence, is because…  Continue reading “Things That Aren’t Better Left Undiscussed: Domestic Violence”

Oh, Abu Eesa: An Apology Letter on Your Behalf

Image via internetmonk.com

Dear Abu Eesa,

My name is Nida Chowdhry. I only recently learned of you on March 8th, 2014, due to some jokes you made on and about International Women’s Day on Twitter and Facebook, as well as the subsequent explanations and apologies that you furnished on those same mediums.

It seems to me that you’re having a little PR problem. Lucky for you, one of my only transferable skills is writing, so I’ve taken the time to use my services to craft an apology letter (you seem to be having trouble writing one that is genuine). In place of the fapologies (fake apologies), here is one you can feel free to use:

Dear Everyone on the Internet that Has Seen My Posts Between March 8th and Whenever HR over at Al-Maghrib Institute finally asks me to stop:  Continue reading “Oh, Abu Eesa: An Apology Letter on Your Behalf”

The Midday Drunk

untied shoes
Source: theobservalist.wordpress.com

I crossed the yellow-cab dotted avenue, the sound of trash truck engines and creaks filling the midday air. Walking along this fast-paced New York City sidewalk, my mind wandered to the cloud of vapor I was breathing into the frosty ten degree air, until I became distracted by a young man limping drunkenly across the intersection. ‘Stay away from him,’ I thought, and the language of the strangers around me seemed to say the same thing.

Ready to avoid him, I watched as an older African-American woman, cozy in her tennis shoes and long, beige wool jacket, pointed to the drunken man’s shoelaces. “Tie your shoe laces, honey,” she said gently. Continue reading “The Midday Drunk”