Today I took my wife to the doctor’s office at St. Mary’s Hospital for an appointment. While I was waiting in the lobby a nurse went over all of the different issues she needed to keep in mind in order to protect her health during her pregnancy.
My wife was given a sheet of paper with a list of questions regarding health histories in my family and hers and she was asked to list her sexual partners. The nurse told her that a lot of younger women come in and put a question mark next to that question because they have slept with so many boys they have lost count ( that is good ole progressive progress for you… liberating oneself from bourgeois sexual taboos).
The next thing the nurse felt obliged to say was “St. Louis is number one in the nation for…” and at this point my wife is waiting for her to say something positive like thin-crust pizza or frozen custard; but instead was told “syphilis and gonorrhea and is leading in a number of other sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV.” Translation, in addition to being one of the most dangerous cities in America (disregard anything you hear to the contrary from St. Louis urbanists) is also one of the most detrimental places to your private parts if you get around a lot.
We left the hospital in good spirits though and I decided to take her out to eat to give her a better impression of St. Louis (which I am having a hard time selling her on). While I follow the opinion of the Saudi ulama regarding meat in America (while only purchasing dhabiha halal meat for the home) my wife follows the opinion that restricts her from eating non dhabiha meat. So this means in St. Louis, unless you want to eat fish all the time from non-Muslim places, or drive deep into the suburbs for Desi food (and I guess according to PC Ruthie not making that drive makes me an anti-Desi bigot…but then again I am saving gas so our Green Muslims should be happy), your options in the city are very limited.
Why this is the case I do not know. There are many other cities with far fewer Muslims that have many times more halal options; but it is the case and so I had to find a place to go. I settled on going to a bakery operated by a Muslim brother from the former Soviet Union that sells meat and sandwiches on Bates just west of Grand. I ordered two Gyro sandwiches and picked up some halal beef bacon and hot dogs for the house.
I have a love and hate relationship with this St. Louis. But, to be honest with you, if I were not a Muslim I would probably never leave this place. It may not have a lot to offer a lot of people but the cost of living is low, people are friendly, the roads are easy to navigate, I have many dear friends here and much more. For Muslims the problem is the community has never really developed as it should despite the large number of Muslims and the second generation has been a disaster. My last post I was harsh on Zaytuna; hell I would be positively giddy if there were a lot of young Muslims here involved with it or anything else just as long as they remain Muslim. That is why I prefer to raise Muslim kids in places such as New York, New Jersey, DC, Chicago or Philly that have long established Muslim identities that gives Muslim parents support in numbers. You have a very good chance of your child keeping their deen, growing up with other Muslim kids, marrying a Muslim and giving you blessings after you are gone. Even if the kids turn out bad and say your sons become “Burqa Bandits” they are still Muslim and doing dirt with other Muslims. In St. Louis they would just become a Blood or Crip with non-Muslim kids and maybe if they have some deen left become the imam in the joint.
While I am on the subject of the reasons people leave St. Louis I am going to try and tie something in that has no rightful place to be in this post but that is the beauty of blogging. A couple of weeks ago I was in my cab taking a passenger from a hospital to the old Pevely Dairy on Grand and Chouteau.
The dairy has been there forever but will be closing soon and moving to the old Schnucks Dairy in Hazelwood. I knew this from a previous passenger and I also knew that the dairy was laying people off and I asked my passenger if he was going to be able to keep his job and he said no. He then told me he was not looking for another job and said this country is headed in the wrong direction and he is moving to Mexico. So, in other words, he is making hijrah, which is odd because America has always been the land of muhajuroon, but hey times are changing.
While waiting for the guy’s supervisor to come out and meet me on the parking lot to sign the voucher, as if the BBC World Service was providing a soundtrack to my life, a report came on the radio about the economically depressed industrial city of Youngstown, OH and featured the classic song by Bruce Springsteen. Very fitting for that moment.