Scratchings in the Dirt

Happy Birthday Carl

Happy B’day little brother! Hope you have many more. Stay low!

You can log onto Carl’s website at to see some of his (sometimes political) art.

Carl lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the past several years. Never a follower, he always found his own path. Carl was a magician, in that he had a disappearing act. One minute he was there and the next he was gone, with no trace. I remember when we both lived in Calgary and would end up at the same party, Carl would disappear in the wee hours only to find someone at work at 4 AM at a bakery somewhere. He would visit with and accept anyone, anywhere, anytime. He never cared about your background or current status he just wanted to visit. He liked the blues bar downtown Calgary on 9th (trying to remember the name) where he might end up dancing on the stage. Anyway, I better stop telling stories. Suffice it to say there are many, interesting stories. Have a good one!!


3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Carl

  1. Thanks Clem,but for the life of me have no idea what your talkin about LOL
    Here is a story for you how I spent my birthday…
    On the way to work tonight, I had a some what trivial, but unsettling experience. It is Ramadan now in Saudi Arabia, so everyone is fasting during the day and at sunset Muslims break-fast and pray. I am teaching evening classes and since my internet connection is down at home, I thought I would come in early to use the computer at work. I could hear the sounds from many different mosques broadcasting over loud speakers to come and pray; right as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful hot evening and the colors in the sky were an ominous bluish pink. I took a different path from my normal route. I was admiring how unusually quiet it was at this hour. It was unsettling in away compared to the normal hustle and bustle of the noisy streets filled with too much traffic was a stark contrast at the moment to the street being totally void of people and cars. As I walked I suddenly saw up ahead a huge group of men all lined up, several rows deep. I felt my stomach clench and the sensation of “being caught” some where I should not have been. There had to have been over 100 men. They were all standing and facing towards me as I approached. They all had their arms folded in the usual stance for prayer; situated in the parking lot of the Obaid hospital which is directly across from the college campus where I work. It was very odd to come across such a huge organized group out in the open in a parking lot. Since I was raised ‘catholic’ and have been conditioned to believe that prayer only occurs in a church or in this case a mosque. I am sure they were looking at me even though I kept my gaze down cast and straight ahead as I crept ever so cautiously past the group. It was a fleeting sensation, which on the surface was fairly insignificant, but to come across suddenly the image of this large group of men out side at dusk when the streets are vacant and quiet was shocking! One sees images of huge groups of men praying in mosques in the newspapers all the time, but it has a much stronger impact to see such an image up close and in person. The collectivism of prayer in groups is said to be more powerful in terms of getting closer to God. In an odd way, I felt that powerful sensation even as I walked past them. The image will be forever seared into my conscience. After the initial relief of being finally out of view and away from the scene; I began having bizarre thoughts of “what if scenarios.” Such as the image of them all of a sudden staring to shout at me or worse; throwing stuff at me or attacking me. Of course this is extreme paranoia working on a westerner’s mentality. I am aware that Islam is a religion of peace, so in reality I was not all that concerned about being attacked. It was just a crazy weird feeling. I will be sure to alter my timing and path next time I choose to go to work early during Ramadam! One never knows what one may run into!

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