It is true that I have envy in my heart. Not jealousy. Just envy. You would think that at this age of mine I would be free of that feeling. Alas! I am not free of it at all. Especially envy of women;
especially women who know more than me;
especially women who can sit on the couch and watch the sports channel, and know all about that sport;
especially women who can teach their children and grandchildren how to keep score.
Okay, let me make myself clear here. I know tennis. I played tennis. I know Golf, I play that, I know soccer, (the Indian football), didn’t play that, but I can keep the score. And I know basketball. Played once against the Bangalore medical college team, and our team got beat something terrible. But that was because we didn’t know that they didn’t know how to play Netball, and we had never played basketball. So when we went for the Meet, we were told we had to play BB. Anyway, what I am trying to say here, is that I know basketball.
When I came to the States, I watched Baseball on the TV screen, and thought it was just ho hum. Kind of boring. But Bobby Gibson was so famous then, so I kind of knew a little bit about the game.
Then I watched the American football.
I am telling you, I couldn’t understand anything-at-all! What kind of a jungly game was that where people were falling all over each other? To this day, I don’t know the ABC of the game. I get a headache just watching all that violence. If given a choice, I would take baseball over football, because the former is a little like cricket, which I do not understand, and think it is boring.
So to make my point here, I have to say, that I envy women who understand these two games and can get immersed in them to the tune of not wanting to get off the couch to go get a glass of water! Can you believe that?
Case(s) in point!
I was in New York once and just before getting on to the escalator, I saw a huge man who was surrounded by a lot of people. He got on the escalator, and the Dude and I got on just behind him. I did not know who he was. I had to know. I tapped him on the shoulder just as we got off, and asked. “Who are you? Why are people staring at you?” He must have thought, “OH MY GAWD! A country bumpkin right here in the middle of New York! But he was very gracious, and told me that he was a baseball player and played for some team. Of course I have forgotten his name and the team he played for. The Dude, he walked away from me as if to say that he didn’t know me at all. Later on, he said, “Dang, Zakiah, how could you do that? He is so and so, and blah blah blah!” I just smirked and shrugged my shoulders.
Another time in St. Louis, I was attending a conference and was in an elevator in the basement. It stopped in the Mezzanine level and a young man got in and there were some kids running towards him. It looked as if he was trying to get away from them. So the curiosity came to surface once again. I asked him, again, “Who are you?” Sweetly, because I was wearing a sari he probably realized that he had to educate me; he told his name. My face was blank. In my brain I was thinking, “SO?” He saw the vacant look on my face and said, again, very sweetly, “I am a shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals!” I knew then that he was famous. Told him that I was sure my ten year old son would know all about him. He signed his name on the cover page of my conference book. I gave that to my son when I got home. I do not recall his name but he was sweet.
In 1986, I was in Anaheim California, attending a conference. In those days, the pharmaceutical companies used to put on a real exhibition with different booths and promotions with tickets to plays and dinners and what not.
It was a Wednesday. (Some moments are defining, and they stay in the brain regardless of the age.) It was about two or three in the afternoon, and I thought I would get out of the meeting rooms and just walk the exhibition floor a little and see what freebies I could get. There was a long line of almost fifty or sixty people, men, women and kids, waiting for something. I just kept walking and at the head of the line sitting at a small desk was an African American man. Again, I was wearing a sari, and had my name tag on. I stopped short when I saw him. I had never seen anyone that black. I just stood there and stared at him… probably for three to five seconds. The pharmaceutical representative was standing next to him and felt that he needed to give me a nudge. He said, “Hi Dr. Ali, would you like to have a card signed by Mr. Hank Aaron?” The man took his eyes off the card he was signing and looked at me and smiled. And like a fool, like an imbecile, I had a stupid smile on my face and said, “No, I need to get back to the meeting room!”
Can you believe that? OMG! Two days later I returned home and was telling the children about this incident, and there was such a silence. It felt like no one was breathing. Then Junia, the Brazilian exchange student who was living with us that year, screamed and said, “MOM, you didn’t get Hank Aaron’s autograph? He is one of the greatest Baseball players!” Then everyone started yelling at me. To this day, I will never forget the feeling of helplessness of not knowing Who is Who!
Therefore, I say again, I envy all women who know all about the games and the players and scores that they can keep. I envy them. However, I don’t envy them for too long though. I have enough things on my plate to keep me occupied