A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling well, so I took two days off from work. Since I spent the first day in bed, I decided to go out with my nephew the next day. He is two years old. We went to the park. He loves animals so much. Unfortunately, we don’t have a zoo in Irbid so the second best thing is a birds-house in the park. They have different types of birds. He was very happy. There were many children from lots of schools on school trips.

Suddenly, my nephew ran to me wanting me to carry him. He looked terrified. I carried him and he was shaking, but not crying. I tried to calm him down, but he was devastated. He didn’t scream, his fear was beyond this stage. It seems he saw a clown and that’s what caused his fear. He put his head on my shoulder and hugged me tight. I could feel how terrified he was. Usually, children when they are afraid they scream or cry, he didn’t do either. I tried to calm him, hoping he gets used to the clown and not fear him in the future, but he didn’t.

When I realized that it is useless to stay where the clown is I took him outside the birds-house. He didn’t want to play or let me go. He only felt safe and calmed down when we left the park. I felt very bad for him so we went to MacDonald and he was happy at last in their playroom. Luckily, Ronald McDonald don’t wasn’t there.

I heard that there are some people who have a fear of clowns, but I only saw it on TV and I thought it is not real. Actually, it is a real thing. Later in the afternoon, my mother told me that my nephew screamed, a couple of times, while he was taking a nap.

I Googled it and it is called Coulrophobia; the fear of clowns. It is real.

My nephew sees cats, dogs, donkeys, horses, turtles, birds or bugs and he runs towards them. He sees a clown and it is no way. I hope his fear of clowns is temporary though.

Going out with a two years old boy is so much fun.


Waiting death

Yesterday at the food court, I noticed a father and his son. The son, maybe 9 or 10, was wearing a medical blue mask and a baseball cap that covers his shaved head. The father in his late forties or maybe life denied him a graceful aging.

I was sitting at a table eating lunch while the father and his son were checking out what sort of food is available in the food court. I could tell it was up to the child to make the decision. He chose one that was at the end of the food court, but I could still see them.

I can’t forget the father’s face. I kept staring at him, more than what courtesy allows. Even without seeing his son you can tell how much this man is in pain. As if his face never experienced happiness before. He might as well be angry.

I don’t know why at that moment my body felt shaken. I was trying hard to keep my tears from appearing in public. When the father and son sat on a table, I was done with my lunch and went to the restroom to wash my hands. While walking my eyes started getting wet. I walked faster and saw the father was heading to the restroom as well.

We both were washing our hands at the sink. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t. He went to grab paper towels and I was behind him. I wanted to put my hand on his shoulder and say something nice, but I didn’t know what should I say. He left without our eyes meet. I felt bad not saying anything to him. Then I thought what could I say, “Everything will be okay.” It may not be okay, I thought.

I don’t think it is the first time I see a kid in such situation, but maybe it is the father who moved me more. His sadness looked painful. I don’t know if he was angry or not, I assumed he was. I know why, but if so at who?

Humanity felt sorry for the gassed children of Syria, I don’t share the same level of empathy. I know these children will have a better life than if they were to live. My empathy goes to the parents of these children that I can’t fathom how they will live after such thing. I feel sorry for these parents more than for the ones that left this so called life.

The father left the restroom before me and I walked slowly behind him thinking:

Does he ask God to take his life and keep his son’s?
Does he ask God why He did this to his son?
What questions he asks God at night?
What dreams he had for his child before this thing?
Does he still have hope?
Does he still have faith?

Life in America

Indecent Conversation

What I like about the USA is the diversity of people you see there. The following short and weird conversation took place a couple of years ago. I wrote about it on my blog, but was shy to publish it not just because of the conversation itself, but also because of what went through my head at the time.

One day at Starbucks, I sat on one of those big tables that seat about six people. I was working on my laptop. A middle-aged woman sat on the opposite side of the table and as soon as she opened her laptop, she started a conversation with me:

Woman: Are you writing a book?

Me: No, I am working on my dissertation.

Woman: I am writing a book. It is difficult to concentrate in public, especially when you are writing something inappropriate.

Me [not paying attention what she meant by inappropriate]: What is your book about?

Woman: It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.

Fifty Shades of Gray was the bestselling book at that time. Actually, it was a phenomenon not just a bestselling book. Everybody was talking about it in America. I did not read it, but one of our lab mates during our weekly meeting told us what it was about for whatever reason. As I mentioned, the book took unprecedented publicity.

Of course, after she said “It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.” My brain, sort of, switched off because I cannot recall what she said next or even what I said.

My conservative self felt uncomfortable and I did not want to hear any more. Because of the way she dressed and how open she was about the content of her book, I was afraid our conversation may lead to something I do not like. I thought she might invite me to go with her, we will meet her husband and I will be involved in a Ménage à trois (I learned this from Seinfeld). I thought they wanted materials for their book and this will be it. All this went through my head, seriously. That is why I don’t recall what she said after she mentioned Reno.

I looked at my watch and said, “I have to meet someone. Nice talking to you” and I had the fastest exit from Starbucks. All these weird thoughts popped up in my head without even reading Fifty Shades of Gray. What thoughts would I have had if I read it?

This was one of the weirdest conversations with a stranger I had.