Why does every thing seem to slow down during Ramadan?
Lunatic drivers seem to be the only people going fast these days, both before and after breakfast. Banks, who with their typical 9 to 3 hours already make it hard for customers to bank, seem to close shop before they even open, with their 9 to 1 Ramadan schedule. Four hours!? Heck, I should have been a banker!
Ministries, government departments and boards, forget about it. Everyone is half asleep. Everyone comes in late and starts to disappear around the duhr prayer time. Some will even advise you to come back after Ramadan is over when they can “think straight”. As if Ramadan was a mental blockade over the weekend.
People move slow before ftoor, because they’re hungry and tired and lazy and drowsy and craving for a nicotine fix. And then people move slowly after ftoor because they’re stuffed and can’t move and are just plain sleepy.
A few years back I remember economist Fahed Al-Fanek attempting to figure out the economic loses during Ramadan. He took GDP, divided it by 365 and removed the 30 days of Ramadan. Suffice to say there are more holes in that formula than there are on a sinking boat.
It may be near impossible to actually figure out how much we lose economically during this month. People don’t seem to work, or are too busy trying to avoid work. Businesses cut their 9 to 5 working hours in half. And I can only imagine what Ramadan will be like in the summer months!
Yes! The Ramadan summers! Can you imagine what it will be like for the next couple of decades while Ramadan travels back in time, into the summer months. Where everyone is hot and thirsty and sweating? How will people behave then? What will economic loses look like then?
But wait, money isn’t the only thing we lose…
People also seem to lose small fractions of their mind or sanity. Everyone seems to get a little stupider than usual, a little meaner, and a little more unforgiving, and Ramadan becomes their scapegoat.
Yesterday, I spent a great deal of the day driving around Amman and all around town police patrol cars were positioned in various places, to fine people. I don’t know what the occasion was, but I’m guessing someone up top told them to go out and, you know, do their job.
I must’ve passed by 10 of these “hot spots” and every one of them, I kid you not, was situated in the worst possible place. They were actually causing accidents because they either moved too close into the traffic or became visual obstructions. One decided to park on the Kindi intersection just as people are trying to drive up the hill towards the Four Seasons. Cars wanting to turn right toward the Rabia district had to swerve around the cop cars.
This is my first Ramadan in the country for almost 7 years so forgive me if I sound a bit harsh. A lot has changed in those few years. First of all, I drive now, which means I get to notice things in Jordan that I didn’t notice as a kid. But more importantly I became accustomed to having Ramadan be just a purely spiritual month, where I am fasting and praying and reading, and the rest of the western world is spinning around me, oblivious to my condition. And that helped expand the experience of Ramadan for me.
But with everyone fasting in a much larger community, and with the culture of Ramadan all around us, the world seems to slow down more and more.
By the time Eid comes around, this side of the world will come to a grinding halt.