23.11.07

On Road Trips and Such

Every college dude has this one spectacular road trip that he verged unknowingly into in which it eternally changed him spiritually, emotionally, and in some unfortunate cases, physically.

My personal road trip took me all the way across the hemisphere to Uncle Sam's turf. Cowboys and Indians, peasants and pilgrims. It would've been a culture shock except that was my fourth (and hopefully my last) trip there. The shock perpetrated from the close interaction I had with the locals, if such a term can be applied in a politically-correct manner.

I worked as a door-to-door salesman. Not the most prestigious or dignified job, but I don't think anyone's first job should be. Sometimes I wake up from nightmares saying things like "Hi my name is Sami. I am a.." But I thank God that I didn't work as a mascot for some tacky hot dog restaurant.

Those were the good days for Arabs pre 9/11. To make things worse, and to prove my point that I attract unwarranted trouble, 9/11 occurred while I was there. 2 of my road-trip mates had similar names to the hijackers. One was not so lucky and faced serious problems which he inadvertently dragged me into. Flyers to Milan refused to fly on the same plane with him since they noticed he had Arabic features. We met by coincidence in JFK airport, where he introduced me to his friends from the FBI. I was interrogated, scrutinized and ran the risk of missing my eagerly-anticipated flight to Milan and then back to Amman.

I was done with the US. For good, I'd like to think.

There is no one story to tell. I went across 4 different states, 2 different countries, 8 cities and uncountable stories and memories in California, New York, Detroit, Tennessee, Los Angeles, Nashville, Manhattan, Bronx, Memphis, Lancaster, San Bernardino and Palmdale.

We first lived in a filthy garage, sleeping on a mattress that 4 Jordanians and a Scottish dude shared. One of the Jordanians had the knack of screaming while sleeping. Another woke me up by banging his elbow to my face, he was yawning. Then we moved to a more lavish, 2-storey house with a typical American family in upper-middle suburbia.

In my job I ran into the craziest shit ever. An Arab who wouldn't speak back in Arabic to me (this became the norm later on) A rottweiler biting the heel of my shoe. Flat bike tires. Falling off bikes and generally bike trouble. Running away from a police car that a lady called on me because I arrived promptly at an appointment I made with her. A black lady high on crack convincing me that God, Jesus and the Virgin were all black-skinned and that white man was the devil and will burn in hell. She proceeded to ask me if there were black people where I come from, I said yes remembering people from Jordan Valley who turn dark from the sun. Another lady claimed that I remind her of Jesus Christ. The worst of the lot was when one day I got bored, so I knocked on a door claiming to be a prophet for a new religion, they slammed the door so hard the wind blew me off. The next day I passed by the house and it was burning to the ground, with fire engines hosing off the fire. I escaped away in my rusty bike, carefully considering the fact that I really might be a prophet.

Sometimes, I wonder how I made it back in one piece.

11 comments:

7aki Fadi said...

Interesting.

About Arabs not talking back to you in Arabic, seriously, what's up with that? It irritates me.

And lol at the prophecy coming true, did you promise them eternal hell fire if they didn't listen? That is just a bizarre coincidence, or is it?.

Kinano said...

I don't know what to comment. Honestly!!

Kudos on the prophecy. Evil prophets are ubercool ;)

KJ said...

You must be worshipped

Expated in Dubai said...

@7aki fadi, I guess I must've promised them earthly fire somewhere in my head without knowing..
@kinano, just say that I rock oo khalas..hehe, I'm kidding
@kj, yeah maybe I should consider drawing up a new religion whose pillars are hedonistic pleasure
I joke..

Completely Anonymous and 100% Private said...

You're just bad luck..that's why the house was burnt down ;)

How is it going with the prenup preparations? We are getting married in 2 weeks you know

Expated in Dubai said...

How can I be bad luck when I stumbled upon you? :P
Mish tsad2y..hehe
I hope you're working real hard to support my shopping sprees..
And I thought that grooms get to at least see the brides before the wedding even in the most primitive societies :)

ammaro.com said...

wow; that must have been a lot of fun! dont you have any photo evidence to document it? that could be really great... i did a semi-road/plane trip last decmeber with the wifey, and deciding it wasnt wild enough, am planning on going a full fledged month long road trip all over the US sometime in 08...

Expated in Dubai said...

Well, I spent the best and worst days of my life there..there are some random scanned pictures here and there, but these were the gays pre digital camera age and taking photos was something worthwhile..

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