It’s as hot as Qatar, I was thinking as I crossed the street. Maybe. Kansas City in August can have heat as invasive and offensive as the Middle East. Not quite the dazzling temperatures, but the sticky air makes up the difference. I was remembering visiting my friend in Qatar– the first day I went out, on a grand journey across four lanes of traffic to Doha’s biggest and best mall. I had been instructed to cover my knees and shoulders, out of respect. How do they cover up in the crazy heat? I wondered. Once I stepped outside, I realized: it doesn’t matter. It’s so hot, nothing matters. There is no defense. Also, they stay in the air conditioning.
Last summer, I was in Rome, and I sweated so much I was willing to take two showers a day– even standing on feet so sore that they felt like they were stuffed with broken glass. If I was out during siesta time (amateur mistake), I would feel faint crossing the street. In some of my photos, my pale face is as red as my Hawaiian dress.
I went from Kansas City heat into the air conditioning to drink my coffee, and ran headlong into some nastier heat. Some Americans are not content to object to the Muslim building project in New York City. Some people are not timid enough to hide behind the shield of victimhood with their paranoia. They come right out and object to new Muslim places of gathering in Temecula, California, or Murfreesboro, Tennessee. What of the Muslim guy who took my friend and I out to dinner in Doha?
What of the Muslim day care center I visited? As part of my previous job, here in Kansas City, I sat in the corner observing while a dozen kids listened to storytime, and then nodded off to their naptime CD. “You are a dolphin. You are swimming, happy and free and peaceful….” Dangerous folks indeed.
If only segregating and limiting freedoms would protect us from people who scare us. If only we could predict who was going to turn crazy and murderous, who would suddenly want to kill his neighbors. I think the impossibility of predicting behavior is a great rationale for gun control. But that’s a different story.
The article ended with a cheerful quote from a Dr. Mansoor Mirza: “Every new group coming to this country– Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese– has gone through this. Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be comign out of this, too.” So cool. So cool. How can anyone be that cool in August? I am amazed.