There was a lady sitting in the car next to ours at the Acapulco’s in Torrance. While I took my kid out of his car seat, I glanced over at the lady and noticed she was wearing what appeared to be a niqāb, or veil worn by muslim women which covers the entire head and face, leaving only the eyes open.

She sat there in the hazy afternoon, just waiting in the lot. It reminded me of other instances where I’d seen muslim women waiting in their cars. I didn’t stare, of course, but as I carried my son to the restaurant, I wondered how she felt. Was she happy? I have nothing against muslims, nor anything against any religious faiths in that matter. I believe everyone should worship as they please. But when I see someone set in strict accordance with clothing or dress, I wonder if they ever want a “free dress” day, like they do in Catholic schools—a day to let loose from the uniform and dress however you want. I had a “free dress” day once in 2nd grade (I went to Notre Dame) and totally forgot about it when the day arrived, so I was the only kid in class in uniform that day. Laughing stock.


Nevertheless, seeing this lady reminded me of another muslim lady I saw at Magic Mountain years ago. Except this one was covered entirely in a burqa, from head to toe. It was summer, and it was hot. Once again, she was waiting alone, by the exit of the Batman rollercoaster. Of course, given the full draping of black cloth in the heat of Valencia, she surely turned the heads of every patron who walked by. Suddenly, a kid ran up to her excitedly and turned to his mom in the distance. “Aw, cool!!! Look mom! A ninja! Can you take a picture? Please??” He posed by her with the biggest smile as the muslim lady looked down at him, confused. But his mom didn’t pay much attention, so in a few minutes he walked away, disappointed.
I wondered what went through her head at that moment, to be treated like a park mascot because of her clothing. Did she ever reconsider what she’d wear to amusement parks? Or did she not have a choice anyway? There’s your thought for Valentine’s Day.

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