Sunday, March 07, 2010

Flying while Muslim and forgetful

I just had to share this story because I laughed so hard I almost peed when I heard it. I just hope I tell the story as good as my dad did.

My father is Muslim, not conservative or anything, but fairly observant. He wears identifiably Islamic dress. Being black, he more often gets "read" as "friendly African" than "scary Muslim" by those inclined to do such "reading." That is, until the whole Nigerian underwear bomb thing happened.

He is, incidentally, also a scientist and as such is a bit of a gadget tech nerd geek kind of person. He also does a lot of business travel.

Naturally he has an iPhone. Naturally he also has a "call to prayer" app for his iPhone. And, being a bit on the daffy forgetful side and oddly inept with technology for a techie guy (I get a lot of pocket calls from this same iPhone), naturally he also forgot to turn off his iPhone before getting on a plane during his last business trip.

Literally, my poor father took one step onto the crowded plane and his call to prayer app went off, turned all the way up, blasting "Alllaaaaahhhhu Akbar, Allllaaaaaahuuuu Akbar!" in front of all the passengers and crew.

Everyone gasped, turned to look at him, eyes wide. The lower lip of the flight attendant standing next to him started to quiver. With the strains of the adhan filling the cabin and images of getting tackled by some Soldier of Fortune-reading Teabagger Militiaman running through his head, my dad slowly took the iPhone out of his pocket and silenced it, saying, "Sorry, it's just my phone!"

Hearing his New York accent must have relaxed everyone and they all audibly exhaled at once. A Hispanic man in front of him started cracking up laughing. Oh, just a regular American dude, no worries.

I wish I could have seen their faces! I would have cracked jokes the entire flight.

"You thought he had a bomb! My dad! The Star Trek nerd! You almost peed yourself in fear because a phone made a noise you heard once in a movie!"



CrackerLilo said...

Molly Ivins said something great once about how fear makes people hurt *themselves*. This illustrates that idea quite vividly.

Or as my favorite T-shirt says, "Living in fear sucks!"

I'm glad your dad had a good sense of humor around people who live in fear, and came away with only a good story.

Vanessa said...

I just wonder what they thought it was. A singing bomb?

Daver said...

That is a great story cause your dad is one of the most non-threatening person I know.