Forty-some days ago, a young Iranian woman was detained by the Morality Police because she wasn’t wearing hijab, her head covering, correctly. She died while being detained. Iranian women have poured into the streets, showing their hair to protest.
The reason I’m writing about hijabs is because I’ve noticed them a lot lately. This would be a good time to mention that my youngest spent four months studying Arabic in Jordan in the Middle East a few years back while an undergrad. She was advised to wear a hijab to blend in while in public. Instead, she chose to skip the hijab and the sunglasses (blue eyes) which led to men shouting vulgarities at her. She retorted in Arabic, much to their surprise. Maybe that wasn’t smart, but she’s always been a strong, opinionated woman. I love that.
So when I was a choosing children’s books to review for the New York Journal of Books, I chose Hundreds of Hijabs to see what it would be like. There wasn’t much story. It was more of bringing awareness to hijabs and what they are, not why they are. That was left to the author illustrator page with a link to a website that would explain all of that. After all, the book is for little kids.
Then, yesterday, while heading to my dreaded infusion appointment for my osteoporosis, I was obsessing about a seventy-five cent overcharge at my local thrift store (yes, you read that right – 75 cents) when I realized I was being ridiculous. I pulled off at my exit, and there was a woman holding a cardboard sign, which I wasn’t able to read, but I knew she was begging for money. She had flowing clothing and was also wearing (a) hijab.
I’ve often seen veterans at that corner, one a man in a chair with his big dog. I hardly ever give money to men, but when I see a woman (and sometimes her children), I can’t seem to turn away. I looked in my wallet. The red light was about to change. I pulled out a twenty and rolled down the window. The woman had walked up a few cars and didn’t see me.
“Hello!” I called, waving the bill.
The woman came running back to my car, smiling and blessing me. The light turned green, and I smiled back as she took the bill and I turned at the light. I was just two minutes from my oncology center.
Had I given the woman money because she was wearing (a) hijab or because I wanted good Karma for my infusion? Why had all these hijab things lined up a row so perfectly for a blog post?
Why did I almost faint when the nurse tried for the first IV? That’s easy. I have low blood pressure and am also often dehydrated. I have an overly sensitive vagus nerve, too. In other words, I’m a good candidate for fainting.
If you’ve learned nothing in this post, at least know that Muslim women wear (a) hijab for religious and cultural reasons, like Marjan on the TV show, 9-1-1, Texas Lonestar.