الجمعة، 14 أبريل 2017


Took my two older sons to NYC this weekend. We flew in and I decided that we'll take the bus. We wait about 30 minutes for the M60 to arrive and by now the boys are struggling to keep their excited sense of anticipation alive as 30 minute to these boys feels longer than spring break itself. They got on, eyes glazed with a sense of adventure, only to discover that the bus is jam packed. There is barely room to stand. We have our luggage too and when the bus starts moving they realize what their Aba (that's what they call me) meant when he said hold on to the yellow bar. Both almost fall back with the buses abrupt acceleration but I knew they would so I positioned myself already to be their buffer. 10 minutes in...aba how much longer? 20 minutes...Aba I'm tired. Aren't there any seats? I make a seat our their suitcase for them and also teach them lessons I learned so many years ago when I lived here. Keep your feet apart boys, one back and one front, and keep your knees slightly bent. That way when the bus driver stops suddenly you won't trip. By the time we reach the city I figure they've had enough. We get off on 124 and take a cab from there. But all this while, my mind wasn't just on the boys. My mind was on memories made in this city that are more valuable at this stage in my life than perhaps they ever were.
Wake up at 530. Get to the bus stop on 108 and 63 in rego park by 615. If the bus is too jam packed or if it's too late, you're gonna run to continental avenue and queens blvd because the store opens up at 8 and the manager wants you at 730 in Coney Island. A couple of slip ups and that almost impossible to get job, that pays 4.25 cents an hour, will be gone. If that job goes, so do the chances of continuing college next semester. The physical grind of commute, the rough and almost inhumane treatment of the store manager, the coarse demeanor of customers, the decision whether to eat a slice or two slices because that might impact tomorrow's lunch and dinner budget...this is the life I've left behind. But this is the life of so many still and probably by comparison, I had it easy.
I wanted to capture these fleeting thoughts because I wanted to thank my father for instilling in me the value of struggle. I also wanted to give a shout out to all the struggling hard working men and women out there and especially the teens who had to become adults far too soon. Much respect. It was therapeutic getting on the M60 and to remember what I means to stand despite exhaustion alongside strangers trying not to think about the aches in your feet and back while keeping your wobbly body upright as the bus driver does his best to top you over (or so one feels). I wanted to use this as an opportunity to remind young people to put themselves in struggle. To actually enjoy the discomfort of hard work. To find dignity in even the most meager salary and to have the remarks of their prophet SAW carved on their hearts...
‎ ما أكل أحد طعاماً قط خير من أن يأكل من عمل يديه،
 No one has ever had a bite of food better than the one he earned with the labor of his own hands.
Thanks NYC.
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