Scarf Wars

Breakfast in bed, as lazy as one can be. My feet still hurt, I was looking for the perfect piece of furniture all over Tribeca with Targa. ـــA purple Leather recliner no less. None of that pleather disgusting vinyl mix. I want real leather!! ــ After a quick lap in the pool, I meet my mom for a mother daughter day at the Spa to catch up and recap on her whole 4 week stay, it was kind of a relief that I didn’t forcibly have to have breakfast in the living room with her annoying friends for a change. Suddenly all the previous things she used to say that annoyed me weren’t so annoying… Is it because it’s her last day before she leaves? Due to the fact I am so relaxed?

In the Spa I went for the total works, everything on the menu *** Manicure,Pedicure,eyebrow threading, facial, massage. What if everyday was like this? Would it be boring? Hmmm… Aside from being bad and skipping problem solving tutorial, everything else was guilt-free. Sometime between the facial and the massage we were in the steam room then me, my mom and her friends were in a very uncomfortable iced Jacuzzi..I kept fighting the urge of getting out and jumping into the next one over. A really interesting conversation went on….

My mom asks if her colored scarf,black scarf and abbaya were brought back up to her suite after she asked for them to be dry-cleaned. They have been in the bag since she landed Heathrow almost 2 months ago. I concentrated as she and her friends discussed the steps of Re-Covering. That is Covering with a capital “C”. I didn’t try to interfere as with the rest of their uninteresting conversations. I was just a listener. However it hit me! They care about what people think way too much. Up to the point it is ruining their day in the Spa which was supposed to be relaxing. I started taking note by paying close attention and concentrating on these complicated steps. I do it anyway it goes, spontaneously without caring about people around me. If they give me weird looks it is their problem. I don’t wear Hijab, you do… tough luck, your problem. Don’t give me those weird looks if you choose to wear it, let people do their own thing as you do yours and mind your own bussiness. However, that was not the case with this group of 40 somthing to 50 year old(young) women. (Just threw in the word young so women at their age won’t get mad, as they do when refered to as that). However, one of them is fairly young, I would say about 37. Also not engaged as much was Huda, she is from Syria and was just cracking up laughing at them-why do you care? Your husbands’ know that you don’t cover…she kept saying to their deaf ears. I told them: just wear it whenever. Half an hour before you land at King Khalid Airport or so. They all looked at me as if I were insane. I asked my mom: well, how did you get rid of it on your way in? Just do the opposite.
An hour later…. It all boiled down to this:

JFK before security check: No scarf of any kind so we won’t be subject to “random” scan.
JFK by the gate :Colored scarf on shoulders >>> put on head when needed. i.e. when a lot of covered ladies are around and giving them uncomfortable looks.
Heathrow Airport: Colored scarf on the head, due to the fact that there are always covered women around giving them weird looks.
Heathrow Airport customs: colored scarf goes back on the shoulders, even If they saw us wearing it before. They will know we are liberated and more lenient about it. Won’t give us a hard time.

6 days later……

Time to go to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Heathrow Airport security check: Colored scarf falls unintentionally on the shoulders for 2 reasons:
1- Again not being subjected to a “random” check.
2-“Unintentionally fell down”so they will not be subject to scrutiny and ridicule from fellow Saudi ladies(whom are covered), either those wearing it by force, therefore feel hate towards them for having a choice, or by others who are conservative and think my mom and her friends are a hopeless case. No wonder, they are a group of women travelling on their own with no man. Probably that is not the worst thing they have committed. They say among them.

On the Plane….
Saudi Airlines: Afaf has chose this airline due to having a free boarding voucher for First class she got from her husband’s workplace. She wore a black scarf as soon as she approached the gate and wore her abaya mid flight, before landings she was covered in black completely. Huda was not willing to pay for an upgrade (due to the fact she had to pay out of pocket when others were getting bumped up for free or had vouchers) ended up in economy class or coach as they refer to it now a days. I prefer to call it the leg thrombosis class. ــ It’s almost impossible for one to get off without having a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).ــ She wore her abaya from the gate with her black scarf but only covered when landing.
Foreign Airlines: My mom and 3 others, preferred to choose a better option which was the one with the least Saudis on board. 2 of them ended up in coach but were still able to keep their colored scarfs till 1 hour before landing. My mom kept her colored scarf then replaced it with a black one mid flight, when everybody around her turned black and no one was looking she wore her abaya while in her seat. Her friend Nourah opted for the black scarf from the beginning to end up with one step less, so she only had to worry about the perfect time to wear the abaya with no one noticing the sudden change.
As long as they didn’t pull the bathroom stunt, I could live with all this hooha. You know… the ladies going inside to emerge covered from head to toe. Or the opposite, when the black thing went inside and never came out to a point you start thinking she might have been murdered in the restroom. Only later, to realize that it is the same girl with the tight pair of jeans sitting next to you.. after you have noticed…. she is toting the same handbag that covered lady had on her shoulder a while ago.
I personally ــ regardless of the Airlineــ base my decision when to take off my abaya ,depending on people around me. The less covered women the better. Men never have bothered me with staring or giving me strange looks. My black head scarf comes off as soon as I am seated and settled in. I un-Cover and slowly put it on my shoulders then I tie my hair up so it won’t bother me. Looking pretty is not exactly on my mind in a situation like this. As soon as the plane takes off, I take my arms out of my abaya and continue to sit on it. After a while when stewardesses start moving about, I am a free bird. I do not have to keep my abaya on, I just pull it from underneath me, make it in a ball and hope to forget it. Which has happened on several occasions. However I will not get out of my seat if it is a Saudi Airlines’ flight until they turn off the lights. I normally don’t. I can stay in my place without even going to the W.C throughout a 13 hour flight with no problems. I don’t want to be subject to accusations of what my intentions are. In regards to putting it on before arriving to Riyadh or Saudi for all it matters, ــhaven’t been to another international airport…I always land in King Khalid Airportــ I do it when the seat belt light is turned on. (Which to me… means : “time to put your abaya back on, we are about to land”….maybe an extra sign should be added for flights landing in Saudi ?) I cover my face as I enter the airport and only uncover when I reach the custom’s booth not while waiting in line, so I won’t have to go inside and have the lady stare at my face to stamp ” تمت المطابقه ” “face has been matched to picture”. Not sure if they still do that, it has been so long ……

I don’t know why I have been listening to Mohammad Abdu the whole day :/ Allah yster!!


~ by Purple Velvet on June 10, 2009.

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