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10/29 Today's Episode of the Tarumit Show

I know that people like to watch me. See what the tarumit (foreign female) is doing today. If it's interesting/unusual/unexpected enough, folks will comment, either to me or to each other. If it's *really* interesting, the story will be swapped for the next few days. Long after I've forgotten the incident, someone will mention, "Hey, so I heard..." and I'll have to laugh with them at my own absurdity.

Today, on "The Tarumit Show", our favorite foreign girl went shopping, swinging a small butane tank in one hand. She came back a few minutes later carrying a black plastic bag, a small butane tank, and a -- wait, what's that? -- why yes, it's a broom! How unwieldy! How odd! Stay tuned...

So as I walked, the knob slipped off the buta tank, the whole thing slipped out of my hand, and I ended up kneeling on the street, broom and bag at my side, trying to attach a small piece of plastic to a large metal tank, watching a car drive towards me.

By the time I'd picked the tank, sack, and broom back up, the car had passed me. (Thanks to the renewed rumors of a royal visit, public improvements are back with a this case, it's the road widening.)

I continued down the street, aiming for my door, only a hundred or so yards away.

A small boy said, "Hi!" I greeted him back, and he chirped, "So you dropped your buta tank, eh?" I grinned, nodded, and said, "Yup, it fell." He turned to his friend. "She said, 'Yup, it fell'!" The friend, who having been only six inches further away from me had in fact heard the whole exchange, said, "Really? Wow!"

Yes, sportsfans, Kauthar is a rock star.

Ten meters later, I casually greeted a group of teenage girls sitting on the far side of the road. They were discussing the possible contents of my opaque black grocery bag. I was fairly impressed when my 17-year-old cousin correctly identified pumpkin, just from the bulge in one side of the bag.

But today's episode had a surprise twist ending...

When I got to my front door, I went through the usual routine with my slightly mis-aligned steel door: set down everything so both hands are free, then grasp the handle-bar in my right hand, the key in my left hand, and pull sharply back with the right while twisting with the left. This gets the lock unlatched, but doesn't actually open the door. Thanks to the misalignment, the metal pinches at the top of the doorframe, holding itself closed. Pushing my steel door isn't terribly comfortable, so I generally just kick it. This pushes the pinched metal apart, and the door swings open. I've done it a thousand times (at least!), so don't think about it anymore. It's routine: set down things, grab, pull, twist, kick, enter. Whole production takes a second or two at the most.

But this time...this time, when the door swung open, a slender kitty came shooting out.

Lhumdullah (or luckily, or reflexively, or because my karma is good - as you like), my hand shot down and grabbed the kitty by the tummy. I heard the cries of, "Ooh, a cat!" from the teenage girls and whoever else was passing on the road. I turned, smiled, held her up and said, "Yes, it's a cat!" Keeping her firmly in one hand, I moved all my other items - broom, buta, pumpkin-in-a-sack - into my front stairs, then kicked the door shut behind me. (Grabbed-about-the-tummy is not a good way to carry cats, I realize, but Tamohat is a tough little Moroccan kitty, and she could take it. Not that she didn't put up a fuss, as the scratches on my wrist and neck will attest...)

A few minutes later, some little girls came to my door, undoubtedly looking for the kitty. Their knocks were so tentative, though, that I delayed responding. (There are a many possible sources of a sound like knuckles on metal, around here.) By the time I got to the door - scooping up Tamohat en route, since she was making another break for freedom - the girls had scampered off.

Just a shopping trip in the life of a Peace Corps Volunteer...

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