Kalid, the taxi driver from Dubai who took me from the airport to Brook and Gian’s new home in Chapel Hill, was full of Thanksgiving wisdom.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s not about religion. It still came up, but we agreed. “ISIS is not Islam,” Kalid tells me. “The Koran says that anyone who kills a stranger is not a Muslim.” As a secular Muslim, he says that Jews and Muslims are brothers.
“You know, you can be a good person without being religious,” I say. Kalid considers this, then says that he’s learning a lot from me. My teacher self is appreciative.
I’m surprised when he adds, “The Palestinians are not good people.” I point out that there are good people and not so good in every ethnic group, but that I believe 95 percent of us are decent folks, we’re all part of the human race, and that race is a social construct.
He likes this.
And, there’s always politics. “We need a president who’s a mother,” Kalid says. I couldn’t agree more. He loves the Clintons, and thinks that Wild Bill was the best president ever.
Kalid’s been in this country for five years and already owns his cab, a gas station, and a small grocery store. “I make good money,” he says. I’m happy for him.
His background reminds me a little of President Obama’s. His father came from Dubai to attend Harvard, and is now a retired engineer living in Minnesota.
As my kids sometimes say, I often find out more about cab drivers than their families know.
I love these conversations. Perhaps I’m a born interviewer.
With my own family, I try to be quiet. Let them take the initiative.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving. I’m happily doing my own thing at Brook and Gian’s gorgeous Carolina home, eating chocolate, knitting Ethan’s scarf, and waiting till they’re ready for a field trip.
But first, Brook comes downstairs after doing some schoolwork. It’s time for Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m ready.