Seattle smells and other odds & ends
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 28, 2007
I smell marijuana, my mother said on Christmas Eve as we walked down the stairwell in the retirement condo in which my grandmother lives.
I smell peanut butter, I said, thinking that this was a more likely smell for a small building full of people whose average age exceeds 75.
What are you two talking about? my father asked. Since he was the one stuck carrying the bags of trash from our Christmas Eve dinner down to the outside dumpster, I imagine that his nose was having an entirely different experience.
Ahh, Christmas with the family – so many moments of unanticipated laughter!
Today, of course, the news was grim – not from Lebanon, but from Pakistan. I wonder whether I would have had the courage that Benazir Bhutto had, to return to Pakistan knowing that she would be a target of “fundamentalists” (which increasingly seems like a convenient cover for Musharref).
My father and I watched the news this morning as we worked out at the gym, and read from the scroll that protesters were shouting “Killer, Killer, Musharref”. I don’t know Urdu, but I do know that it takes many words from Arabic. In Arabic, “muqatil” is one word for “killer” (the simpler is “qatil”). “Mughatil” is assassin, a difference of one letter: qaf versus ghayn. In Iran, people pronounce the qaf as a ghayn, so that “Qur’an” is pronounced as “Ghur’an”.
So I’m guessing that what they were chanting was “muqatil, muqatil, Musharref”, which has a better “ring” to it than “qatil, qatil, Musharref”. And I’m also guessing that they were playing on the killer-assassin connection. Guessing, but by no means sure. What I am sure of is that Pakistan has lost someone who put her life at risk in order to serve her country – unlike its current president, who expects the country to serve him.
And to illustrate the cliche that life goes on despite tragedy, my parents & I spent the morning running errands around town, with thanks to:
A sweet Russian tailor, who is kindly altering some too-long jeans and silk trousers (since the alternative, that I grow six inches, is appealing but unlikely).
Target, which provided a much-needed 4×6 rug for my foyer that has the dual virtues of being cheap and fluffy enough to muffle the sounds of my concierge’s deep-throated Sri Lankan spitting.
Bed Bath & Beyond, which prompted my mother to install some bath-time fun for my grandmother’s guest bathroom:
Yes – feet-shaped anti-slip mats for the tub. I’ll let you know how they work after my next shower.