(for this particular episode, not in general, just to head off the wiseasses at the pass)
I was driving past the Galleria, a very large and very upscale shopping mall here in Houston, on my way home from work yesterday. At a red light, a group of people walked in front of me on their way into the mall. There were two men, wearing khaki chinos and polo shirts, who looked to be Middle Eastern and in their 30s or 40s. There were two women with them, both pushing strollers - one woman had a single stroller and the other had a tandem stroller. The women were wearing black robes that covered them from head to foot, all the way to the wrists and ankles, as well as black headdresses that left nothing of the face exposed except for their eyes. For reference, it was blazingly, swelteringly hot yesterday, as is usually the case in July in Houston.
I was instantly furious. For as pissed as I was, the women might as well have been wearing leg irons. I assumed (and I’m open to other likely interpretations) that these people belonged to a Muslim sect that requires women to be covered in public. Just seeing the women bundled up under black cloth in miserable heat, hidden from view, while their (presumably) husbands and kids strolled or rode in khakis and short pants, drove me nuts.
It reminded me of when I used to live in Utah and the polygamists would come into town, to go to the Costco, the public pool or the mini-golf course. The men and boys would all be wearing khakis and polos, and the girls and women would all be wearing awful homemade pioneer dresses that came to the wrist and ankle and would have looked at home in a Little House on the Prairie rerun. I actually remember one time at a water park where the girls tromped around in those dresses (not riding any of the attractions, obviously) while the boys wore swimming suits and appeared to have a blast.
So am I an judgmental prick for wanting to conk these people in the head? (The women as well as the men!) Do I just need to learn to be more tolerant of different religions and cultures? I either need to be validated here, or have my head straightened out. Help?