What to expect when you’re ramadaning
So it’s that time of the year again; a month that was originally meant to enable Muslims to strengthen their bond with God. But that was a long time ago, before they invented television and cigarettes.
For those of you who don’t know, the concept of fasting in Ramadan was originally intended for people to fast and see the world from the eyes of those less fortunate, thus making us more appreciative of what we have and encouraging us to give to those in need.
Do I really need to tell you how different the on-ground scenario in Egypt is? Really?
It’s only been a couple of days since the holy month started, and we’ve got a long way to go. However, I felt the need (as usual) to get a few things off my chest, and this is sort of my official ranting haven. So let’s talk about some of the things you can expect during Ramadan in Cairo.
Before I begin, please bear in mind that Ramadan is basically about millions of Egyptians feeling hungry, thirsty, horny, tired and/or suffering from nicotine/alcohol/caffeine/drug withdrawal.
#1 Zombie Mode
You and 90% of the people around you are in zombie mode -all throughout the day. In the morning, you may be craving coffee, cigarettes, a green smoothie or food and so you wake up feeling groggy and irritable. Throughout the day you feel thirsty because the weather is fucking ridiculous. Did you know Ramadan is not going to occur in the winter for another 11 years? Double suicide, anyone?
So you might be thinking that everything evens out after iftar, but that’s only because you’re an amateur. You see, we Egyptians have this weird habit of stuffing ourselves with anything and everything within our sight when it’s finally time to eat. As a result, you feel like a different kind of zombie when you’ve eaten; you’re no longer irritable, you’re just super sleepy and completely useless.
My advice is that some genius call the producers of “The Walking Dead” and have them save shitloads of money on cast and makeup by simply filming all their zombie scenes here during Ramadan. Everyone wins.
#2 TV is Everything
Once upon a time, a certain idiot decided that it would be a fantastic idea to air several useless shows during Ramadan to benefit from the fact that we love to sit on our asses all day because we’re so tired and unable to eat. To be honest, that idiot was really smart.
See, most of our outings revolve around eating and drinking, so we’re usually stuck at home after coming back from work. And what else can we do? Read? Study? Sit with our families? Pray? No, we watch endless hours of shows about betrayal and prostitution and Se3eedi families. In fact, shows during Ramadan are usually so obscene that you might as well grab a sandwich and stare at Fifi Abdou’s boobs because you’re just contradicting yourself.
As for TV ads, we like to treat our ads this month the same way America treats ads during the super bowl. Corporations invest all their money on that perfect, meaningless ad that people will be discussing endlessly because we are so fascinated by the concept of marketing.
#3 The “3ozooma” Loop
One of the nice things about Ramadan is the fact that friends and family come together for big gatherings where we enjoy eating way too much food -and talking about the same things we talk about every single year. Let me summarize these topics in a list:
a) How great the food is
b) How tough the weather is
c) What shows are popular this year
d) How Ramez Galal is an asshole and how his pranks can actually kill someone
e) How great/awful each ad is
f) How Ramadan is so tough this year
g) How Ramadan flew by this year
h) Politics and how the current president is doing (optional)
If you’re stumped at the next 3ozooma and you’re not sure what to say, just print out this list and you’ll fit right in.
#4 Extreme Judgment
While Islam is supposed to encourage kindness, lack of judgment and open mindedness, we like to do the exact opposite. During Ramadan, you are judged if you take even a sip of water when everyone else is fasting. It’s like the general community isn’t even aware that the population includes Christians, girls on their periods, people who are sick or people who just don’t want to fast. It’s supposed to be none of their business, but we are experts at sticking our noses where they don’t belong. Don’t get me wrong, if you eat/drink/smoke in the street during the day, people might not comment -but they will definitely stare and they will most certainly judge. Every person believes they are better than everyone else.
#5 Everyone is a Saint
You know how a major part of our population is made up of guys who love harassing women in the streets? Well, about 80% of these guys become complete saints during this month and actually do not resort to catcalls or grabbing your lady parts for no reason. As soon as the month ends, however, they go right back to their animalistic urges.
When a guy harasses a girl during Ramadan, her usual response is “it’s Ramadan! How dare you?!”
Do NOT tell him not to harass you because it’s Ramadan. Tell him not to harass you because he is not entitled to harass you anytime or anywhere. Ramadan is not your leverage; the fact that he is an asshole is. Kick that motherfucker in the nuts because he deserves it regardless of what time of the year it is.
#6 Work is at a Standstill
This one is self explanatory so I almost considered not adding it, but what the hell. Because the entire population is hungry, thirsty, tired, horny or suffering from caffeine/nicotine/alcohol/drug withdrawal, we are all in a state of being hungover (for lack of a better term) for an entire month. It’s like gathering up a bunch of PMSing girls in a room and expecting them to be productive.
Work either stops or goes a lot slower than usual during this month. This is a fact that will never change -even in 11 years when it’s winter time again.
Coincidentally, I believe this is the same number of years it will take for winter to arrive in Game of Thrones, too. Just saying.
Every person treats this month differently, and you have the right to. Do whatever you want as long as you’re happy.
Until then, don’t forget to make use of all the great desserts and try not to balloon up when your mom’s friend offers up that fifth serving of fatta.
Ramadan Kareem, everyone!