Friday, February 19th, 2010

The sad truth

I’m not young and I’m not beautiful. No. No. Don’t try to flatter me. I’ve already gotten the flattery and now I see what’s happening.

1. The coffee shop girl says I don’t need a Sprite Light because I’m already so beautiful.

2. When I come out of toilet stall at a restaurant, there stands a prepubescent boy in restaurant uniform. He pushes the soap button for me and hands me a paper towel. And he talks. And he talks, ending with, “How old are you?” “Sixty-two.” “NO! You are in the 20s or 30s.”

I’m laughing so hard, I neglect to wonder at the obsequious flattery.

3. At another toilet later in the day, a woman squirts the soap, hands me a paper towel, and leans back against the wall so I have to step awkwardly over her feet to get out of the rest room. As I stand outside to wait for a friend, the woman opens the door and stands there glaring at me.

Now, I’m starting to realize what’s happening.

4. An Egyptian friend assured us earlier that you pay a taxi just what’s on the meter, no tip. So when we arrive, Johnny rounds up to the next Egyptian Pound and we start to walk away. The driver looks pained and holds the cash toward Johnny as if we dumb foreigners have counted wrong. Johnny checks. It’s correct. We walk away.

5. Four of us foreigners wait to cross a busy street. There are only busy streets here. You take your life in your hands. A policeman hurries to us, and weaves through the traffic ahead of us, stopping cars as he goes. On the other side, he hovers alongside us as we walk away, “Baksheesh! Teep! Teep! Baksheesh!”

Okay. I’m dense. But I get it now.

If a stranger offers unexpectedly kind service, it probably isn’t a gift. If you accept the service, be prepared to tip.

And now I know how much to believe any more beautiful, young compliments.

I am what I am, thank God.

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8 Responses to “The sad truth”

  1. Dear Noel,

    Thank you so much for your posts :) I’m planning on visiting Cairo in May, so I’ve been enjoying your posts so much! Though I have never met you, you and your family are a blessing to me. Thank you! I hope you have a safe time there and back!

  2. Noel

    I think you are a beautiful woman–and I am not asking for a tip. You radiate a beauty, the imprint of a beautiful Savior. I am sure your beauty inside far outweighs that on the outside…but your beauty on the outside seen by these eyes is beautiful indeed. May all who look on you see His beauty.


  3. We’ve never met and I am 29 years younger than yourself. I first saw your blog on the Desiring God website and since I also have 4 boys I felt drawn to read your blog. My children are still very young (ages 8, 5 1/2, 4 and 3) and I have still have so much to learn. I am really appreciating all you have to share you and your husband. I just finished your book ‘Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God’ and was very touched by reading the stories. Thank you.

  4. Ah! To realize you didn’t tip when you should have…the worst feeling. I have felt it a few times but not with the (legitimate) excuse of being in a foreign culture. Oh well; how were you to know?! :)

  5. I love how your camels are smiling in the second picture! Hee! So glad you were able to do this.

  6. 1 Peter 3:3-6 fits you to a tee! You are beautiful in the absolute best way. Your love for God shines through your life so that you reflect our Savior to all the world. There is nothing more beautiful than that!

  7. That is too funny my beautiful friend! :-)

  8. Age is measurable more or less. But, “beautiful” comes in every age and is best measured by more than appearance. Now, I’m not workin for any tips, but you truly are God’s work of beauty. Just you mind that!!
    Thank God that He is the I AM who makes us what we are!
    That is beautiful, indeed!

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