So the Crescent moon was spotted late Thursday and Ramadan therefore started on Friday. Friday morning I got up with a slight hangover from the party I'd been at the night before and lit a cigarette, walked into the kitchen and put the coffee on, took a shower and started my normal weekend routine of emails and news and blah, blah, blah. About noon it occured to me that I've already blown my first day of Ramadan fasting with cigarettes and coffee-shit, now I've blown it with swearing, damn it! There I go again!--OK I'm just gonna try it fresh tomorrow.
I woke up early Saturday and laid in bed wanting nothing more than a glass of water or a smoke, not for any real reason, but just because I couldn't! The morning sun had already begun to shine through the curtains, so there was no trying to convince myself that maybe it wasn't dawn yet. Still I mustered all of my strength and brow beat myself into the days mission. Nothing by mouth until 6:30pm! I got to work and found the building nearly empty, students have pretty much already completed everything and there is little for me to do other than prepare for the upcoming semester and grade some final assignments as they come in, none made it in today. About noon, I made myself a deal-I'm not a Muslim, I'm just doing this to see what its like and get the experience, surely a small glass of water can't be bad...and with my water, maybe 1 cigarette, it has after all been at least 9 hours since I've had either...And there went my resolve, before I headed home at 3:30 I'd had 3 small glasses of water, and 2 cigarettes.
On the way home, I was happy to see that the grocery store was actually open, I popped in to get the can of tomatoes I needed for the chili I was making (yes even in this heat!) and decided to get some fresh bread and fruit to go with my "Break Fast" meal. I thought, I'll head home, get the chilli simmering go to the Gym and by the time I get back I'll be all set for a well deserved "break fast" meal! Except that apparently most of the people in the store didn't get the spiritual fasting memo, in fact I think they got a memo that said be the biggest ass you can be, Go Crazy! The pushing and bumping and Queue jumping was ridiculous, it was at least double what it normally is. Needless to say I was secretly wishing ill will on people. Finally though, after fighting my way through the line and having only 1 person jump the cashiers queue in front of me I was ready to head home...except that I didn't actually bring much money, apparently I had forgotten the bulk of my money when I left home and only had the usual loose bills. I owed 40 SAR, I had a total of 36 SAR, I tried to tell the cashier to just take the milk off the bill but he didn't understand. The bagger, who actually spoke some pretty good English decided that the problem must be that I was retarded and deaf. He started by coming very close, less than 10 inches from my face and saying very loudly and slowly "YOU PAY 40 RIYALS". To which I immediately replied, "yes I know that you f-ing idiot", "I can't, I forgot it I only have 36 Riyals!". Then I realized what I had said, and how angry I'd become and that I was missing the whole point of this thing. I calmly (forced) said "move the groceries to the cart, I will go to the ATM machine". As I walked away, I glanced back and saw the still shocked expressions on the faces of the other patrons...great.
Of course the first ATM was broken, why wouldn't it be? It accepts the card, but immediately it asks if I want more time, when I say yes, it tells me that I've exceeded my time limit and to please try again. I stand there getting angrier and angrier, completely blowing my "spiritual fast" out of the water and ended up trying this thing 3 times before I just said to hell with it and decided to go find a different ATM. Easier said than done.
This was my day folks...try do something good, and look what happens. I did finally find a working ATM and I did go back and buy my tomatoes and bread and other assorted goods. I did finally make it home as well, (not before 2 cars almost ran me over), but I did make it home. When I reached the safety and comfort of apartment and more importantly its air conditioning, I had my 3rd cigarette. Then I made my chilli and headed to the Gym, where although a little tired from no lunch, I managed to perform acceptably without killing myself. All I can say about today is that Steinbeck knew what he was talking about. I'm better behaved when I'm not trying to be good!...Maybe I'll give it another shot tomorrow, then again....maybe not.