What are your creative pasttimes?
Reply #29 - November 16, 2017, 12:23 AM
I don’t know if being an accidental numismatist would, in the great scheme of things, count as having what the average Joe might call a creative hobby. The accidental bit is for my never intentionally looking for rare 50p and £2 coins. I keep them as they come, and only recently have I achieved moderate success in convincing the local shop keeper to become a co-conspirator, lending a helping hand to an absent-minded chap in pursuit of his narrower interest of collecting 50p coins.
The shop keeper is one of those friendly lads who would correct you, on the spot, if you ventured he comes from other than the western part of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He, moreover, doesn’t really believe in asking people what their names are. So, the last time I had left home having forgotten to have enough cash on me, I asked him if he absolutely minded putting things on my tab, as it were.
The good lad obliged immediately, a fact which I put down to my being a regular (if somewhat sorry) sight. When I came back the following day to pay off what I was owed — naturally, by asking him “how much?” — he looked into his books and said “£7.58 please”. It was then that I thought I ought to ask him, just out of interest really, to tell me under what name I was being noted. His answer came back without the slightest hesitation: “50p Man!”
Lest I am accused of taking too narrower a view of collecting loose change, I hasten to say that I have departed from these two genres (50p & £2) more than once in recent times. As it happened, it was in favour of a £1 coin which proudly holds 88 on the so-called Scarcity Index.
No. The reason why I really, really thought of becoming a collector of coins was because I had been thinking of Abdul Malik bin Marwan minting the first Islamic currency; when I was growing up in Saudi, the smallest banknote was 1 Riyal which bore at least one side of Abdul Malik bin Marwan’s first coin.
But I generally like to play creatively. Having left Islam in my mid-twenties, I find it a life affirming to rediscover the inquisitive child underneath it all. I play most of my waking with most things. I seem to remember reading something by a familiar someone that the world — all the world, he was very keen to stress — is a stage.
Only a few days ago, I thought and wrote the following letter to my local MP:
Dear Jane Doe MP
Allow me to offer my belated congratulations to you on becoming the member for my neck of the woods in London.
It has been a number of years since I first started harbouring a loathing for the Tories whom many of your constituents would frankly think of as Capitalist Hyenas. Hitherto our opinions were not sought by your predecessor and where voluntarily offered were not appreciated. It was him and his objectionable party who have been blocking the wheel of this society’s progress in which you and I believe so very firmly.
I had genuinely longed for the glorious day when a champion of the people (and might I add, not unlike Jane Doe MP) would come along to represent this little swing seat of ours. I stayed up terribly late during the night of the general election results with attention rapt on the wireless. The intensity with which the entirety of our household had prayed to Allah for you to win would have been worth your while to witness and behold.
Further, I remember clearly the conversation we had on my doorstep on the meagre wisdom of putting up with Jeremy Corbyn being at the helm of our great political movement. The impression I definitely came away with was one of you focusing, upon being newly elected, on delivering the sort of Brexit the country thought it had voted for; that that was far more important than the particular direction to which the old boy, and his water-cooler theorist & pal, Diane Abbot, might lurch. You assured me that there still are great virtues in being an effective Opposition. We parted ways exchanging warm expressions of alliance and mutual goodwill.
We are proud of your successful election last year in which our household, no doubt, has played a distinctly supplicatory part. Even the cat, Khadija, was up and about in the small hours lending moral support to the praying congregation and seemed adamant to regard the democratic occasion with the solemnity it largely deserved. Therefore, it is for the modest part that our well-wishing household would like to extend you an invitation on behalf of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) to embrace the only true God, Allah.
Should you do us the honour of visiting our home, for us to witness you taking the Shahada and for you to be given appropriate sartorial advice, it is our intention to share with you the spiritual ins and outs surrounding the successful conversion of His Excellency Simon Collis CMG, UK’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, to Islam in 2016.
We look forward to hearing from you as well as having you over in the near future.
Abu-Khadija bin Adam
But the fact to the matter is, the cat Khadija does not exist (nor does Allah for that matter). I intend to write to her again in case she ignores the first letter but this time to enlist her help with finding our would-be missing, nonexistent cat, Khadija.
Khadija wouldn’t have had any pictures because our version of Islam strictly forbids taking pictures of living things as that will be a thinly veiled (and contemptible) effort to rivalling Allah in His matchless creativity.
I will then write to her that we thankfully have been able to find Khadija who just gave birth to 5 kittens but alas, their father would be unknown to us. Would she therefore be relied upon to intervene and assist in locating their probably Persian daddy before getting Khadija spayed once and for all.
After that, who knows if our household would not seek Jane Doe MP's assistance in arranging the marriage of Khadija, would be coming up to 9 years of age next February, to Larry, the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office and 10 Downing Street. Larry would, needless to say, have to convert to Islam first because otherwise, the moral risks would be great to their future offspring and their offspring after that.