It’s time to get an oil change. Let’s try this place, right near my apartment. The man opens the garage door, and I pull in. Wow, he’s staring at me. His name is Mike, according to his shirt. I wonder what he’s thinking. Is he going to say something about Paris? I’ve been getting a lot of those comments lately.
I roll down my window, “hi, I’m just here to get my oil changed.”
Oh my gosh, he’s still staring. Why isn’t he saying anything? There’s a long, awkward silence – broken with:
Or in English, “Do you speak Arabic?”
I laugh, and say “no, only a little bit.” But he’s still not smiling. What does he want?
“So are you married to a Lebanese guy?”
Of course, I’m a white woman in a headscarf. I have to be married to someone.
“No, I’m not married. I’m single.”
Oh my gosh, is he going to hit on me now? Wait, his name is Mike…
“Then why are you wearing this? I don’t see that often.”
Okay, you see it a lot, we’re close to the Halal Capital of the United States. You know, the city where Fox News SWEARS we’re implementing Sharia Law and No-Go Zones. You must be referring to my white-girl status.
“I’m a convert.”
“Oh really? Why did you convert?”
Now here’s where it gets really tricky. Mike. Is this guy actually named Mike, or is it Mohammad? I can’t tell. He doesn’t have an accent. Maybe he’s Chaldean, and I’m about to get a long speech about “returning to Jesus”. I don’t want to offend him, he’s about to work on my car. Maybe he’s genuinely interested… do I give him the elevator speech or no details at all?
“Well, long story very short – it just made more sense to me.”
“Well, let me tell you that you’re very brave for doing what you did.”
Thanks? I’m still not sure where we’re going with this. Should I keep being nervous? Why don’t you complete your thoughts?
“…it’s just like my sister-in-law. She’s Mexican but converted before she met my brother.”
I’ll save you the rest of the small talk, but in the end:
“Just let me know if you need anything, ever. My schedule is…“