The sort of post you get when I stay home on a Friday night

Posted on April 6, 2007


My father prevailed on me to go with him and his best friend, and the best friend’s teenage son, to church today for the Good Friday service. This is a matter of many hours, and I made numerous excuses not to go.

“El keneesa beteb2a zay el 3ataba fil a3yad!”

“Away bas leeha rawnak bardo.”

“Sa3tein leehom rawnak. Arba3 sa3at, la2.”

“Beyekhlas el rawnak ba3d sa3tein?”


So I put on a dress and heels and went. This, however, proved to be highly inappropriate garb for a Coptic church on Good Friday (we dress up more in the protestant churches), but I have never been on Good Friday before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been to a single Coptic mass. My dad’s friend shoved me in through the women’s side and told me to meet them outside when they started saying the *insert Coptic word here*. I had no idea how I would be able to tell when this was taking place, but I obediently stood there in the back (all the seats had been taken possibly months before) trying to figure out what was going on and amusing myself during the portions of the service that were in Coptic by counting how many women had bad blonde dye jobs within sight (nine). There may have been more, but half of them had their hair covered with mantillas.

During the singing of one such 15-minute word, the liturgy came to a sudden halt and the priest cleared his throat and said, “Fee tifl hena ismo Philopateer. Lawsama7to mamto teegi takhdo (There’s a child here named Philopateer. Could his mother come and get him please).” I stifled a laugh. Who the hell calls her kid that name – but I figure there is nothing to be feared for a child who managed to make his way through so many people right onto the pulpit, and didn’t choke on the incense either.

After a while I figured the service was coming to a close as the Lord’s prayer was being said, and I managed to get outside, where my dad was not. Everyone under the age of 30, however, was. I called my dad, and it appeared that the service was going to extend for some more hours. I figured my spiritual growth was not going to reach its zenith standing for hours on high heels listening to a language I do not know. I also did not have a very high opinion on what I did hear and understand in Arabic. It seems to be that Christ himself should get a bit more mention in the service than he appeared to, compared with other much lesser beings. So I went home, and reconvened with the family and friends later on to eat taa3miya and foul nabet and pretend that we were fasting, although none of us are. We shouted a bit about politics, shook our heads over the sorry state of the country, and went home.

Posted in: Copts, my family