Friday, July 13, 2007

Answering the phone

This is for Jon. It occurs to me that maybe some of the more interesting things for people to read about from me are adjusting to being Muslim. So I'll try and think of a few things and post.

The big one? Marriage... yeah... "But you're American, I don't see why you want to marry him..." is a tough conversation with the parents. But I'll leave that aside since it's too personal right now to really discuss.

Here's a small one, answering the phone. A few months back I enrolled in a 10-day intensive Arabic course. I enrolled late actually because I thought at first I had neither the time nor preparation to take it, and 3 days late some sisters convinced me to do it anyway. To help catch up, I had asked the instructor if he could come in early one evening, and he was having some problems I think so he wasn't sure at first if he would be able to, so he asked me to call him.

So I did, the next day, and was surprised (though perhaps I shouldn't have been...) to hear him answer an unknown number with "as-salaamu alaikum!" I would always answer with a "Hello?" in typical American fashion until after calling my friends and getting salaams I'd start with that instead, if I knew the caller... but he certainly didn't have my number. So maybe he was guessing it was me or just habitually answers that way. I tend to think the latter, since he's a busy guy and probably gets tons of phone calls. Then again, maybe just about all his calls are from Muslims. At any rate... I do answer my phone with the peace greeting (as-salaamu alaikum) always if I know the caller, which is most of the time, unless it's family. But in fact, it's awkward now to not start a phone conversation with it for me, or to end one.

It's like I almost have to literally bite my tongue to keep from saying it. Not that it'd be bad if I did, they would just find me to be very strange (like they don't already?) and maybe be slightly unnerved, thinking I forgot my manners or something. Ah well.

As-salaamu Alaikum.

No comments: