Monday I drove in to the office, rather than taking the train. The reasons why are unimportant. What was noteworthy was how light traffic was for a Monday morning. Later in the day I realized it was Yom Kippur.
In the evening I passed by the desk of a co-worker who, being Muslim, was observing Ramadan. I knew it was Ramadan, having heard it on the news before I went on vacation. Also, I remembered it being around this time last year, when I made a point of alerting said co-worker when the sun had set each day. Not that he needed to be alerted, of course, but it made me feel like I was helping. He's an affable fellow, and I figure he was probably a bit peckish each day by sunset.
He mentioned how it had been many years since Yom Kippur fell during Ramadan (and hence the Jews and Muslims would be fasting together). He noted hearing something on NPR where the commentator mentioned how when it occurred 30 years ago the Mideast Peace Accords happened, and all seemed rife for peace; then the next time it happened was when Sadat was assassinated.
(We could be wrong about these things; he was just trying to remember what he'd heard, and I'm just trying to remember what he said.)
I quipped, "That means this time we're due for peace, right?" He laughed, because he has a good sense of humor (which is not implying that Muslims ordinarily don't).
Eventually, the conversation turned somehow to how light traffic had been, and I exclaimed in an exaggerated tone, "The Jews should take every day off! It must be their fault that traffic is bad the other days! Maybe Mel Gibson was right!" He laughed again, because he appreciated the absurdity of the quip, not because of anti-Semitism. (I'm sure it was just coincidental that traffic was unusually light that day. What do I know anyway? I take public transportation most of the time.)
I followed with, "If there were a Muslim or agnostic hell, we would certainly be going there for that joke." He chuckled at that as well. I was on a freakin' roll.
(Eh, you had to be there.)
Should I force myself to not eat for a day to repent, just to be on the safe side?
[Yes, technically, Islam does have a hell-like concept, but not in the same context of what I meant by the joke. Yeesh. You haters really gotta break my flow, don'tcha?]