The alarm clock went off at 5:45. I was pissed off I had to go for an ultrasound at 7:00 am, on an empty stomach, with no caffeine to aid the short drive and jump-start the brain. By the time 5 pm rolled around, the inventory of what I took for granted today included:
- Modern medicine at its best, that is making sure I have days and days ahead of me;
- Walking into a bakery and reward myself with a hot from the oven cream croissant and a steaming cup of coffee;
- Being welcomed and valued at work;
- Shooting off a couple of emails from my phone as I am standing in an elevator;
- Enjoying a Lebanese meal for lunch, because it’s what I felt like;
- Driving my car to and from everywhere I needed to go;
- Sitting here, writing whatever pleases me;
- Flopping on the couch and picking the latest show on Netflix.
Some of those things I took for granted today, things I did or received without giving them a second thought, stem from choices based on my individuality.
I also take for granted, every minute of my day, the information I have access to and my discerning ability to sort through it and being able to express my opinions, loud or otherwise (mostly yelling “moron” at the tv).
And there, at the bottom of one of the New York Times International news pages I spot a sweet story about four Palestinian women who have taken to biking in Gaza. Despite the ridicule and the insults of men, of those who deem they shouldn’t bike because it’s the behaviour of whores, because their place is in the home, making babies, preparing food and tending to the house. Unseen.
“When I ride, I feel like I am flying. I feel free” one of the women says.
“I lost 11 pounds” the oldest remarks.
They ride at dawn, when few people can see them. But they ride. On rickety bikes, down war ravaged streets. They don’t stop for a coffee and a cream croissant, nobody thanks them for the unpaid work they do. They would rather be labelled whores than giving up the one, tiny little thing they love. The one thing I so take for granted, I can’t even be bothered to do it.
Hillary might be president in a few months. Legislation has been passed to make it unlawful for a woman to be paid less than a man for equal work. I don’t have to be grateful for everything I take for granted. I don’t have to be grateful for living in a country that allows me the to be the kind of woman I choose to be. I only have to remember, from time to time, that the work is far from done. And that if I ever need inspiration, I needn’t look further than at other women.