I drove to Sultan Qaboos Hospital today with my little sister to visit a distant aunt, who just went through kidney surgery (don't worry, she's fine). As we walked through the long hallway towards the surgical ward, an anonymous woman (when I say anonymous I mean dressed in black from head to toe with her eyes showing only) GRABS my arm and violently stops me and whispers 'I know you!'. I sighed .. here we go again. 'Really?', I answer sweetly, 'how is that?'.
She proceeds to explain that she was my aunt's husband's step-brother's son's neighbor. 'Ahh... ', I smile at her from under my face veil, 'pleased to meet you! Anything I can do for you?' .. and immediately she prepares herself to bombard me with questions (since we had established the connection and thus she now had authority to quesion me about any (or all) aspects of my life).
Q: Were you the daughter who went to study abroad?
A: Yup, that's me.
Q: How long were you there?
A: Five years, dear aunt.
Q: Your brother was with you the whole time right?
A: No, he's married with children.
Q: You were alone??!!
Q: Without a man?
Q: Living alone?
A: you know, I really have to go...
Q: Did you cover your face while you were there?
A: no, just my head.
A: Listen, dear aunt, I have to go .. really
Q: Your sister here, how old is she?
Q: Why doesn't she wear the face veil???
A: Because she's 14.
Q: But .....
A: It was lovely meeting you! See you soon!
And off we went (running) towards the surgical ward.