Spending my summers in London meant that my parents had many a photo opportunity to capture The Strange Wonders of Caucasians As Experienced By Maha. One of these wonders is the dog and the other, a monkey.
Muslims don’t generally have dogs because not only are we terrorists, so too are we crazy. Long story short, dogs are to many Muslims unclean. Needless to say, while I was growing up and because I didn’t see them too often, dogs fascinated me. And by “dogs,” I actually mean large fluffy objects. Certain that were a woman to present herself with massive fuzzy hair stylings, I would have used my left hand to pet her head thinking it was a dog. In my right would have been my falafel.
There was a park through which we would walk regularly and once upon a time I saw a large massive fluffy object and so ran over to pet it and call it Dog. “DOG DOG DOGGY DOG I LOVE YOU I AM MAHA I EAT FALAFEL SALAAM DOGGY DOG SOFT.”
The way my mother tells the story, she couldn’t pull me away from this thing. In the same spirit as I run my adult dating ways, I stood hovering around it in my small dress and matching sock / shoe outfit, staring it into submission waiting for it to respond; it never did because it was a stuffed toy lion.
Since my mother liked to document my extreme awkwardness, she took a photo of this event. In the image, I am standing among adults whose expressions indicate they thought I could only maybe be spoken to in loud tones, supported by sign language. Me, I am petting very gently a lion stuffed animal, with mouth in a massive smile blissfully unaware that this was not ever a dog. Almost, it looks as though I would have had a ciggy once the cameras were off.
Which, unlike that time when a monkey crawled all over my head and I didn’t think it was real.
Also in London and because the British have their own brand of hysteria, there used to be a carni man who had a pet monkey and a music box. He would stand on the corners turning the music box and the monkey, excited, would dance but never pee itself. When we approached, the monkey took a liking to me and jumped onto my head (again, something I am used to as an adult, in the dating world). I let it play with my hair and hold onto my face and sit on my shoulders because I didn’t think it was real.
Yes. Because I didn’t think that the moving, breathing, warm object making noises and sitting on my head…was real. I thought it was a wind-up toy because the depths of my stupidity? Well, let’s just say that waters don’t run as deep as my mother’s fear of germs and bacteria. How this woman – who chucked me into the shower twice daily – ever let a live monkey maul her only child is beyond my adult understanding.
Moral of the stories? Children are dumber in London.