Wednesday, September 05, 2007

my own private ramadan

i'm arriving in egypt next month on what will probably be eid al-fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the ramadan fast. i didn't plan it that way, but i noticed it right after i booked the ticket. at first i thought it would be a good thing, it will be fun to arrive during a three day festival.

but then i actually started feeling wondering if there is anything wrong with arriving then. is showing up for the end-of-the-fast party when i haven't fasted okay?

when i was young, there was this year when almost everyone i knew was having a bar or bat mitzvah. i went to one every single week and i knew the drill well. you wake up early on a saturday morning, get dressed up, go to the religious service and sit in utter boredom for several hours as people chant in a language you can't understand. then the service ends and you spend the afternoon and evening at a big party. the party was the reward for suffering through the religious service. but there were occasionally people who would skip the service and show up at the party. we never really called them "cheaters" out loud, but silently that's what i thought about them. if they wanted the party, they really should endure the service first.

anyway, part of me wonders if i am a cheater by showing up in egypt on october 13th.

longtime readers will remember that i do have an annual fast of sorts. every year, i go off caffeine for a solid month. it's like a private bet i make with myself, and it's become one of my yearly rituals. it's always the month before i travel on my big annual trip. which means that my caffeine free period this year will correspond almost exactly with the month of ramadan. it's not a real fast, but at least i can tell myself i've earned the party.

anyway, one week before the month before my trip is the transitional week. when i switch to decaf coffee, but still can drink tea or eat chocolate. the transitional week starts today. so if my typing seems a little more droopy and drowsy this week, that's why.