My Super Power: Invisibility

About 10 minutes ago, one of my co-workers strolled in with an impressive Styrofoam container, filled with something pungent.

“Hey…is that Moby Dick?“, another asked. Seven of us are on this team; we share a decently sized office which is cube-free and thus collaboration-ready.

“Nah, it’s curry.” Â…annnnd my ears are pricked.

“Oh, really? From where?”

“Lunch buffet…place across the street.”

At this point, my eyes slightly bulge. He’s referring to a place I went to once, an establishment which left such an awful taste in my mouth that not only did I hate my lunch, I couldn’t even enjoy complaining about it afterwards, because my then-BF scoffed, “What were you thinking? Food from restaurants named after mausoleums NEVER tastes good. Don’t you know that only gora eat there?”

“Man, I love curry. Wish I had gone there instead of Cosi.”

“Yeah, it’s great.”

At this point, I’m engulfed by weirdness. I’ve mentioned to them in the past that the restaurant in question is blech-inducing. Hmm. Did they not believe me? Wait–is there some issue with my brown credibility? I trust my Lebanese friends when they advise me about which hummus sucks like a Dyson, what gives? I shake my head to clear it, but the discordance is rotting my brain.

The room spins a bit; did I hallucinate that entire conversation with them last week? The one in which we discussed the very difference between these two eateries? No. We totally had that talk. They know I vouched for Heritage India, which is a whopping two doors away from the hole from whence this styrofoam came. I start to feel a bizarre dissonance and I calmly attempt to explore it. Perhaps IÂ’m viewing this improperly. Despite my slight discomfort, maybe we’ve come a long way, baby, if I’m not automatically looked at every time someone utters the word “curry”. Yet oddly, I’m not thrilled. I know. Impossible to please.

This reminds me of Nike’s “Vamp like an Egyptian“-shtick. Is half-assed brown better than no brown at all? I vote “no”. Still, why do I care so much? Who appointed me Ambassador to Brownland? I watch co-worker number two dig in and I almost cringe, I canÂ’t get over my sororal proclivities, my innate bossiness. If he likes to eat sub-par desi food, why should I give a shit? I have work to do, which I attempt to lose myself in, but then…“So how was it?”

“Great.”

“Hey, did I tell you I just saw Musharraf?”

“Who?”

“The President of Pakistan. He was at Brooks Brothers with his entourage.”

At this point, I whip off the noise-canceling-phones which don’t cancel anywhere near enough annoyance to really make a difference and I hold my breath. This is a matter most mutinous. Maybe I can run over and snap a picture, tell him I know Sin, something.

“WHAT?”, I blurt out spastically.

The Mushie-spotter disinterestedly turns my way and mutters, “yeah”, right before showing me his back again.

Co-worker One: “Dude…you should’ve asked him where Osama is…”

Robust laughter. The conversation turns to the Daily Show and how it takes news so much more seriously than actual news programs. The other four people in this room are discussing the Pakistani dicator-in-chief, IÂ’m obviously interested in what they have to say and instead of being included, I’m sitting here, feeling more foreign than I’ve felt in a while. always a dg.jpg

Actually, I have felt like this before. This reminds me of the time I was in college and on my way to a wedding. It was well over a decade ago, on a Saturday morning and I had asked my Dad to stop by my sorority house briefly so that I could run in and check my cubbie for “mail” (as well as for more candy from my big sister). I was expecting something important regarding our upcoming Formal and I hadn’t been able to visit the house the day before, when it had been delivered.

Trussed up in six yards of Kanjeevaram, my earlobes dipping from the weight of bright yellow gold, arms shimmering from the magnificence of all those diamond-cut bracelets Daddy brought me from Dubai when I was six (in anticipation for a wedding which should occur twenty years later), I swept through Delta GammaÂ’s french doors, past three of my “sisters” who were in gym clothes, post-Saturday-morning athleticism.

“What’s up?” they asked, before returning to their MTV. Not a single double-take, raised eyebrow or moment of “hmmm” to be found.

Suddenly very conscious of the clattering of my heels on the hardwood floor, I started mincing about so lightly, I was nearly silent, which is exactly when I was overtaken by the weirdest sort of thought: “now I’m not here at all”. They hadn’t seen me, now they couldn’t hear me, either. I smiled bitterly. I was the only girl to ever walk through those doors in a mantrakodi; what, that wasn’t noticeable at all? I’m not saying I wished to be gawked at, but I definitely wished forÂ…something. These were the days before I was “Brown”, so all those years ago, I just wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted.

I picked up an envelope and a fat bag of sugar tied with our colors and walked out without saying a word. Daddy looked at me impatiently as I gingerly held my pallu with one hand while simultaneously securing my pleats with the other. I got in the backseat gently and off we went. I had never felt so capriciously invisible.

:+:

There’s a middle ground between painfully obvious otherness and invisibility, between being singled out and ignored; it’s a sacred space for me which I rarely get to visit and it’s one of the concepts which inspires me to Mutiny. Partly because of my involvement in our fabulous never-ending cocktail party, I know exactly what it is that I wanted so many years ago and it’s the same thing I wanted 15 minutes ago– I want to be seen accurately, clearly, entirely.

Flashback to1994: bronze, pink and blue ribbons tied lovingly around gifts from my big, hand-made for a pledge with a sailor hat on her hair and angular letters on her shirt– that was me. A kumkum-based pottu, keshava-bordered silk and the same 22k choker my Mother left India with over three decades ago? Also very much me. That strange cocktail remains potent to this day; it still threatens to slosh over my rim. Sorority girl in a sari: even now thatÂ’s my steez, yo.

:+:

Let me pre-empt the flaming comments some of you are arming your bows with right this nimisam– IÂ’m not requesting or requiring that all South Asian-related conversations which occur in my ear space include little ole me. I wrote this post because I experienced a moment of utter, preternatural dissension and I just had to bore you with it. IÂ’m not a twit who couldnÂ’t deal with being the odd kid out—thatÂ’s been my role since pre-school and I relish it, sathyam.

I’m just articulating how it would be nice to be seen for exactly who I am, to have the multitudes I contain be recognized. My iTunes spins M.S. Subbulakshmi more often than the Pixies. The International Delight Irish Cream-flavored coffee goop I brought to leave in our kitchen was accompanied by a jar of hot lime pickle and some random frozen dinner which featured chawal and chole (which got JACKED I might add…someone on the sixth floor has good taste in other people’s lunches). The pictures of me getting carded at Chuy’s nestle next to images of my Mother and sister, resplendent in silk at a cousin’s wedding. My notes from meetings are decorated by a border of squirming, wiggling shapes which are my attempt to scribble “la”, “tha”, “va” and “na”.

ThereÂ’s a dichotomy at my very core, and I may get mocked for stating this, but to have that be ignored stings a tiny bit. IÂ’m not an either or a neither; IÂ’m a both. And I am just as vexed by bad Indian food as I am by jerky, thudding approximations of bharatnatyam.
IÂ’m a sour, slightly bitter drink, I know.

184 thoughts on “My Super Power: Invisibility

  1. Um… I didn’t quite get this. I know I’m missing the larger point here, but nitpick karne do, if you please, just for a sec.

    If the guy likes the way the “curry” tastes, why should he care if you think it tastes like crap? I know you’re being ironic in suggesting he should care because you’re brown, but… it just seems weird to me, probably because of past mutineer posts. On the one hand, when non-desis ask desis about arranged marriage, people on this site have gotten up in arms. On the other hand, when non-desis buy curry that desi log don’t like, or fail to comment on desis in wedding gear, desi log feel ostracized for not having been called out/acknowledged for being arbiters of all things curry and sari. I am dizzy with the contradiction!

    Ultimately, I think every person has had moments where she feels as though others’ failure to acknowledge her uniqueness/specificity/claim to knowledge is tantamount to rejection of her, or rejection of her ability to “belong” in the context as fully as they do. But this feeling doesn’t hinge solely on skin color. And in light of the conundrum I’ve highlighted above, I think everyone needs to interrogate his/her own expectations of others vis-a-vis what s/he feels makes him/her “different.”

  2. I know I’m missing the larger point here

    Yes. Yes, you are.

    I don’t know how I could have explained what happened and how it felt to experience it or how I desperately didn’t want this post to be manipulated or misunderstood any better than I did.

    If the guy likes the way the “curry” tastes, why should he care if you think it tastes like crap?

    Because not even a week earlier he asked specifically for my opinion regarding “mausoleum” vs heritage?

    On the one hand, when non-desis ask desis about arranged marriage, people on this site have gotten up in arms.

    But have I? I like answering specific, motive-free questions posed by people who are sincere in their desire to learn more…if someone like that asked me about arranged marriage, I’d be happy to shoot the shit with them.

    Is it worth answering the rest of your nitpicks? I feel like no matter what I say, it’s not going to matter…

  3. I would luv to see Manju guest-blogging.

    Quick! Get the tinfoil helmets! Subscribe to The Nation! Listen extra carefully to Don Gonyea‘s reports! Costly yes, but Manju would bring out the chattering classes in full force. It would be a fantastic read.

    the post:

    “So, as some of you know, I hobnob in Republican circles….[insert featured WSJ Op-Ed of the day]…[insert subtle swipe at Clinton to rile Abhi]…[quote Dean from 04]…[mention Daschle]…[disassociate oneself from Coulter-wing]…[conclude with analogy likening Dems to defunct character in high pop culture]“

    the comments:

    [winded exchange about whether post qualifies as reductio ad absurdum]

  4. Shruti:

    To tell me that I can’t really be a scholar of French culture because I can’t really get it unless I have French ancestry going back 10 generations?
    You may come to understand it better than they do, but you can’t feel in the deepest recesses of your heart what the French who have French ancestry going back 10 generations feel. It can’t permeate every layer of your identity — your very being, even — like it can theirs. You will always have a certain degree of voyeur’s privilege (which, for some people, becomes a disprivilege). I hold no double standard for desis and non-desis regarding this belief.

    And as an ABD, I somehow have the racial memory of my forebears streaming through my veins, infusing me with their distilled desiness, even though the culture in question has changed racially over the last ten generations?

    What mechanism does this 10 generation percolation process take? How is the wisdom of my ancestors transmitted to me as I sit on my couch watching college football? Is it genetically encoded?

    Similarly, am I somehow less American than an American whose forebears go back to the Mayflower? Am I condemned to always be an outsider in the United States?

  5. Shruti -

    sorry to be caustic in my response. I see you’ve qualified your reaction, but I’m still not sure if I agree with you:

    Maybe I should rephrase my comment because I was talking about identifying with one culture while still maintaining voyeur’s privilege by having one foot in another culture (meaning, you’re not beholden to everything in the adopted culture — a setup for inequality).

    But isn’t that true for all of us “perfect blends of east and west”? We’re not stuck within any of the various desi cultures, we can punt and walk. Our identities are synthetic – one from column a and one from column b. Fine, we might have to deal with certain aspects of it in our home / family lives but we have options.

    non-genetically-desi people who have lived their whole lives in the desh and know no other home or non-desi culture, I would say the same thing you did.

    Why is that the same situation as ours – we do have options?

    As for people like Anna, who insist that “IÂ’m not an either or a neither; IÂ’m a both,” I think that the “both” puts them in a different position than those who keep one foot in another culture to peace out when things get bad. The truly “both” people take responsibility for both cultures.

    Doesn’t both mean that you have a foot in each culture?

    I guess I’m still detecting authenticity and essentialism sneaking in the back door. For my own personal reasons, I’m strongly committed to cosmopolitanism. Here you see me in my desi guise, but there’s more to me culturally than just the brown. When you make these arguments, I grow worried about hearing them said against me in other contexts.

  6. To continue with the threadjacking, Sriram your album sounds pretty good. Just bought it on iTunes.

    I have to say Madras Palace sucks…of course, that could be because I am in Chicago!!

  7. dude, anna, i’m totally not trying to make this into amma v. madras palace war, but…i can’t help myself. wednesday night, went to amma’s. loved it, as always, and got myself some mysore masala dosa. thursday night, went to madras palace in g’burg. HOLY MOTHER OF INDIAN FOOD THAT IS NOT MY MOM’S! It was SO yummy….SO good. it completely…i’m sorry to write this but the truth must be let out..blew amma’s out of the water. it really did. but ambiance-wise, amma’s still rocks.

    let’s zip car it there, shall we?

  8. The wet fart arrives wetly. The dry, dryly. And yet, the asshole that produces them is one.

    hahaha – bravo!

  9. If the guy likes the way the “curry” tastes, why should he care if you think it tastes like crap?
    Because not even a week earlier he asked specifically for my opinion regarding “mausoleum” vs heritage?

    Erm… Comments like these aren’t necessarily related unless you expect your coworker to have developed a nuanced theory of “How to interact with the brown woman” that references all his potential comments to you back to the fact that you’re brown. And I’m uncomfortable with that, as I’ve said.

    Is it worth answering the rest of your nitpicks? I feel like no matter what I say, it’s not going to matter…

    Anna, why do you always do this? I feel like if you’re going to be a writer, you need to understand that whether or not people “get” your writing is NOT a test of their innate moral worth as a human, or as a reader, or as a questioner. If you leave yourself open to the sorts of points I brought up — points you clearly think are a waste of your time and proof that I’m unworthy of dialogue — then the fault does NOT lie with me (the reader), but with your essay, for inviting questions that you don’t want to entertain.

    I think this is the last post of yours I’m going to respond to, because I’ve noticed, again and again, that you tend to turn viewpoints into moral stances, in a manner that makes those who disagree with you appear like ethically corrupt. I find that a really unproductive and even offensive device. So, back to lurking.

  10. I feel like if you’re going to be a writer, you need to understand that whether or not people “get” your writing is NOT a test of their innate moral worth as a human, or as a reader, or as a questioner.

    I’m not “going” to be a writer. I’m not “going” to be anything, I have no such pretensions. I’m just a blogger and I”m pretty happy being exactly that. I actually don’t do what you’re insinuating– if someone doesn’t “get” my writing, I think it’s my fault, not theirs. The burden is on me to convey, right?

    I also think that I was correct with what I guessed– that you feel a certain way and there’s no point in trying to convince you that I’m “right”, especially since this is such a “grey” post. We’re both right. This isn’t a debate b/c it’s about my feelings, not facts or issues. I’m not trying to insinuate that you are unworthy of having a dialogue with at all. I’m sorry this is the last post of mine you’re going to respond to– that saddens me. Unlike what some people here like to insist, I don’t sit on a throne with my tiara askew, getting fanned by nearly-mute, rippling male interns who coo sympathetically when someone says something mean to their pwincess. Seriously. I dig all comments, as long as they’re not left by trolls.

  11. I guess I’m still detecting authenticity and essentialism sneaking in the back door. For my own personal reasons, I’m strongly committed to cosmopolitanism. Here you see me in my desi guise, but there’s more to me culturally than just the brown. When you make these arguments, I grow worried about hearing them said against me in other contexts.

    But these arguments will likely come up in other contexts, whether we want them to or not, sometimes when we least expect it. When we are old ABD uncles and aunties married to “German-American” spouses, someone is going to cause a little dissonance by complimenting us for speaking English so well, or raise an eyebrow ever so slightly when we preface a convivivial comment with “We Americans,”… We will bristle, we will wax indignant, we will call them out on their bigotry, but then?

    “Cosmopolitanism” is an ideal, which is why Sen and Appiah had to write eloquent essays arguing for it; that also makes it an unstable state. I liked Anna’s essay because it reflects the angst that grows out of instability. And it has always been such: Despite the Enlightenment platitudes on indivdualism, why does the United Kingdom have so many flags? Why is Belgium a separate country? Why are people objecting to Turkey’s entry into the EU? … The old Vedic ideal was “vasudheva kutumbikam” – the world is one family. But India had (and has) its mlecchas too. Why did the Soviet Union, under the Marxist world-banner, fracture into ethnic republics (including, astonishingly, a “Buddhist” one)?

    Tribalism, construed in whatever fashion, will outlast it all: it outlasted communism, it will probably outlast liberal democracy. And when we blow civilization up, we will congregate primally under the colors of our “people” ; whether they are construed as a religious community, a “race,” a “nation” or something novel and new.

    So what is the solution? Razib has proposed genetic annihilation; Gautham a Garvey-like “back to brownland movement,” as unpalatable as those are, they strike me as being much more honest than the colourful and festive (and ultimately empty) hybridities which will suffer a devastating fate.

  12. Shruti in #150;

    …. …From my experience, those labels are given for culture performity rather than for essential cultural identification. I’m not questioning their awesomeness at all :) just wondering if you would feel the same way if people (perhaps, like Pardesi Gori) said they were brown and/or desi because they were so invested in India, and thought that people who treat them as outsiders had no reason to do so other than a baseless hate for white people. Isn’t there a more to it than just that?………

    I never said I was brown or desi, or even said that I wanted to be.

  13. Venu:

    But that doesn’t seem to extend to other areas. For example, I may be insecure in my knowledge about say, medicine, but I would ask questions of a doctor in the group if the conversation was about medicine. Do you mean to say people sub-consciously audit inquiry because of race? Mind you, I am not disputing it (yet!)…it just seems interesting, if that is what you meant in the first place.

    I think it happens on a daily basis, and not even in a negative context, usually. We all do this. I just kind of had it rubbed in my face, is all.

    Simran: I dunno. I get AJP’s writing just fine. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading it longer than any of you fools, but she’s perfectly cogent to me.

    Not sure why disagreeing with her is so problematic, though.

    I don’t subscribe to the notion that AJP is simply making up rules to interact with her Royal Brownness to confound and humble her co-workers. Your Worshipfulness, can I put down my fan for a moment so I can type with less sarcasm and / or rippling? Ah, thank you.

    So I think the point of the post was to outline a particular set of circumstances that are clearly open to interpretation, and find possible interpretations. As Anna points out, you can’t really argue with how you feel; feelings carry their own emotional logic, and are governed by their own calculus, which is actually quite rational …provided you understand what is weighted, and where.

    I don’t see how bringing up her abilities as a writer (and the whole “if you’re going to be a writer” thing is somewhat condescending. AJP’s protests to the contrary, she’s a damn fine writer. I can say so, because I’ve read her non-blogging writing and workshopped it, and in some cases torn into it but good. Make no mistake, she’s the real deal) accomplishes much.

    Ennis:

    But isn’t that true for all of us “perfect blends of east and west”? We’re not stuck within any of the various desi cultures, we can punt and walk. Our identities are synthetic – one from column a and one from column b. Fine, we might have to deal with certain aspects of it in our home / family lives but we have options.

    And in some cases, we borrow a little from columns C and D, too.

  14. Tribalism, construed in whatever fashion, will outlast it all: it outlasted communism, it will probably outlast liberal democracy. And when we blow civilization up, we will congregate primally under the colors of our “people” ; whether they are construed as a religious community, a “race,” a “nation” or something novel and new. So what is the solution? Razib has proposed genetic annihilation; Gautham a Garvey-like “back to brownland movement,” as unpalatable as those are, they strike me as being much more honest than the colourful and festive (and ultimately empty) hybridities which will suffer a devastating fate.

    Wow, Risable. I think you’ve articulated and expanded on the conundrum Anna’s observes in her moment of nothingness. Yes, this is at the heart of the matter…the tribal is always with us no matter how advanced we get. You’ve correctly bridged AnnaÂ’s personal to the political.

    I think the original conservative, edmund burke, grappled with this issue the best. he advocated liberal democracy (and freedom for the colonies) but famously opposed the french revoulution and predicted its violent excesses. Think of pat buchanan’s famous opposition to the iraqi war and you see how this mindset works. Burke knew the future was in liberalism, but it had to be implemented gradually. Religion, tribalism, traditions, racism ,will eventually die of their own contradictions, but as long as they are here, they must be respected.

  15. Wait…y’all are discovering tribalism…now? Here? On this thread?

    You do realize that the entirety of social networking, large parts of the Internet, and this fucking site are all about tribe, right? Sheesh.

    Well, at any rate, welcome to this one. Step into my wigwam.

    Whoops, wrong kinda Indian. Er, South As…I mean, brown, dammit.

  16. When we are old ABD uncles and aunties married to “German-American” spouses, someone is going to cause a little dissonance by complimenting us for speaking English so well,

    though people complimenting us on or english will be dead :) to be clear, i’ve never had anyone my own age compliment me on my english, the probability tends to become non-trivial razib + 10 years, and continue rising until hitting an asymptote at about razib + 40 years. i echo ennis’ general sentiment.

  17. You do realize that the entirety of social networking, large parts of the Internet, and this fucking site are all about tribe, right? Sheesh

    Damn, I keep failing to notice this. It’s like breathing.

  18. Doesn’t both mean that you have a foot in each culture?

    I’m sorry that my imagery was weak (I make a horrible poet). In my opinion, people who are truly “both” have both cultures within them, in their entirety, the good and bad, no coping out. I don’t know if cosmopolitanism is essentially the opposite of that, but I have more respect for people who give back for all the positive benefits they receive from any culture by assuming a collective responsibility for all the negative aspects (and go about it in a respectful and productive way). Let’s not get into what exactly is a positive and a negative, because that’s another beast. I’ve always been uncomfortable with cosmopolitanism because of the things that risible mentioned. I don’t mean to sound nationalistic by saying all this. I just wonder who’s going to do the housekeeping, and I know it’s tied in with identification. I can see how this debate can spiral out of control… This may just be a difference in personal beliefs and ethics and not something we can rationally come to an agreement upon, which is ok with me if it’s ok with you :)

    I guess I’m still detecting authenticity and essentialism sneaking in the back door.

    Good radar. That’s what these kinds of comments normally lead to, but not where I was headed. My emphasis on context was to demonstrate that I do believe that culture is created, evolves, and should be assessed, organically. So while I firmly believe in people’s right to judge authenticity within spatial and temporal limits, I don’t believe in essentialism, because essentialism is death to progress and sustainability. For instance, your question, “Am I condemned to always be an outsider in the United States?” I think has to be answered through two processes: 1)the internal process – what YOU think about yourself in the United States, and how you come to that conclusion, and 2) the external process – your dialogue with others in the United States (perhaps even outside of it) to formulate a meaning for “American”. We all know that definitions and identities will always change, but that doesn’t make the endless search to find an “authentic” definition and identity pointless, because our concept of the authentic has its own function in keeping a society running in any given space and time.

    Pardesi Gori: That was a hypothetical. I know you don’t identify as desi or brown.

  19. risible #169, nice explanation. I would like to add that humans are visual animals and as a result visual similarity v/s visual dis-similarity creates a natural reaction. Thus we engage in tribalsim !!!!

    Have you ever seen a movie where the aliens are shown to be human like?? The fact that they are shown un-human like is a signal to the tribalism in our brain to root for our tribe, in the case of aliens it would be the “human” tribe.

    We overcome our tribalism (which by my argument is a natural reaction) using our intellect and knowledge and we have to do that everyday to become cosmopolitanists !!!

  20. Yes, risible, well done in #169. Do you think what I had to say in #178 is oppositional or complimentary to what you said? I’m wondering because your comment made a lot more sense to my than either of my own. My posting comments on identity are always somewhat of an experiment on myself, so I’d appreciate a second opinion to help me gauge how well I’m connecting everything together.

  21. Shruti,

    Do you think what I had to say in #178 is oppositional or complimentary to what you said?

    You? Me? Its like we’re one or something :-) Yes, I think we’re on the same page, our emphases slightly different. Actually my scribble can be read as a defense of your well-formulated comment. Identity is complicated, and there will likely never be an absolute truth.

    -riz

  22. good stuff normally, but that post was way wordy without holding my interest and getting to a point worthy of the wordiness. wordy while still being interesting is fine to a degree (e.g a recently read ‘my name is red’). no one is trying upset you, just an anonymous user trying to give constructive criticism. again, good stuff normally.

  23. no one is trying upset you,

    thank you for that, though i’m appalled that i apparently require kid-glove-handling from reasonable people. still, very kind of you.

    just an anonymous user trying to give constructive criticism.

    and thank you for that, as well. whenever i blog, i don’t select “save” with a flourish, crowing to myself about how i just wrote the best post EVER. i know that only practice and feedback improve me.

    we have similar “taste”; i came thisclose to NOT posting this essay, because i actually thought it was terrible. it was so difficult to articulate exactly what i was experiencing emotionally; i tried and nearly gave up. when it was done and i read it, i was torn, then i got over myself and realized that despite whatever i think of it (suckage maximus), it might do some good, so why not put it out there?

    i’m glad i did. it may have been wordy, but it did more than i imagined it might accomplish AND it was like dipping my toe in this big sepia pool after weeks of no swimming. the water isn’t as cold as i feared and that makes me want to dive right in…

  24. OK, Amma is good, but to be honest, it’s never been stellar for me. The Bombay Club on the other hand… ;) But I’m also a raging carnivore, and unless there’s meat involved in my meal, it just ain’t no good.

    Moby Dick has some seriously good kababs. Or at least it used to, the one over by the canal, that is.

  25. C’mon, was there a chance you wouldn’t like a kebab house with that name? ;) Whoops – it’s Ramadan and Yom Kippur, I really should be nice and not snarky …

  26. Who is the person in the green dress holding the cup? She is cute! Any email address ;-) ?

  27. WHile I am not brown, i am ion my 40s. also, it seems a cloak of invisibility. I relate to this post in a visceral way. thank you!