A grueling flight (sixteen hours). Paperwork before the plane lands. A line that winds and twists like a ride at Worlds of Fun. Removing shoes and jacket, opening laptop and carryon, standing tall and lifting arms. Anything in your pockets? Got liquids? Wearing a belt? One guy takes off his shirt, bare skinned in protest to “excessive security.” (Obviously an American.)
I don’t mind any of it, but that’s a different blog.
More: waiting at a carousel and picking up bags. Border control dogs. Guards and uniformed officials, airline employees and airport security. Passport review and handing off bags to be rehandled, re-sorted and (hopefully) re-checked to its US destination.
Walking, waiting, more lines…and then:
Paperwork, please. Why were you in Qatar? What did you do? How long were you there? Are you going back? When?
And finally, finally: STAMP. “Welcome home.”
Humduilallah! My innards swell: my kids. My house. My yard.
pretty trees in my front yard, pic by Kay
So much I love about America: open, smooth six lane highways. Drivers who merge, allow others in, wait on pedestrians. People in a multitude of colors. A green, green garden that grows whether I’m here to water it or not. Running outside in shorts and tank top. A place to park. Dems and Reps and Muslims and Catholics, the haves and the have nots - side by side at the checkout. Walmart. Modern Family. Taco Bell.
Oh yes, I do love America.
Still, Qatar has something America doesn’t:
I like this pic. J
I squeeze my beautiful not-a-baby-anymore-housesitting daughter and make lists: of everything that must be done before I can…
Note to self: when morning temperatures exceed 6,000 degrees (exaggerating a little), it's best not to wear long, longish or - well, any length - cotton pants to run.
Aspire Park trail map
Because it doesn't matter whether you’re fat, thin, old, young, in shape or flabby. It doesn't matter whether you run long-legged strong or slog injured, like me. When you run in temperatures this hot…You. Will. Sweat.
When a person sweats into cotton, the material gets wet….in some of the most awkward places. What's more…it stays wet. Pretty much until removed.
No pictures. Use your imagination.
As I bemoan my situation, a fully covered, head-to-toe black abaya-sheyla-niqab AND gloves-clad lady strolls by. I'd seen her as I whisked (using the term loosely) around the park: her elbows out, head and shoulders back. A solid pace, even as she wears thick sandals. I'd found her eyes, greeted her - she replied through the veil. Now sunglasses hide her eyes too.
HOW? I wonder. WHY? The abaya is light weight, sheer, even. Hold one layer to the light, you can see your hand. Wind butterflies in and out as she moves, teases the material, perhaps cools her skin?
But still. The fabric is hot-attracting black. And there's so much of it! Does she wear runner's spandex beneath? Wicking tee? Nike shorts?
For sure she's not wearing cotton.
Thanks to my experiences at the Fanar's exclusive third floor ladies area
where sheylas are loosened and abayas (sometimes) drape across chairs - I know that, given the right opportunity, I might ask her.
But not today, as moisture wicks from my body and into the ill-advised and previously mentioned cotton garment. As my pants droop like a two year old's beach diaper and darkness ebbs down my legs.
Nope, today I hold my head high, pretend the wetness doesn't matter…and head for my car.