Friday, August 14, 2009


His name is Ahmed.

"Ni Hao" Ahmed greets me in his funny Chinese. On any given day, Ahmed would holler at he in either Chinese, English, Arabic, or French, depending on his mood.

Ahmed was born in Iraq, he lived in Lebanon.

"In Lebanon," He would say, "we say hello to people in English, Arabic, or French, everyday." He learned "Ni Hao" from me - without third intonation. Ahmed didn't learn English in school. He told me he was never in school since he came to the States in high-school age.

I didn't know his name was Ahmed, although I had patronized his coffee shop since forever. He didn't bother me with such details besides chatting me up with soccer. Until, a guy upset him one day.

"This guy is a douche bag." His chin motioned to a leaving figure, wide and white, while he prepared for my latte.

"He asks me what my name is, and I tell him I'm Ahmed. Then he starts to ask me what do I think of the Nine-Eleven; his son is in CIA blah, blah. WTF, just because I have an Arabic name doesn't make me have anything to do with terrorist." Ahmed raises his voices a bit. He never raised his voice over anything besides soccer and holler to the girls.

I like South Park, I like douche bags in South Park, so I don't use the word often. But Ahmed doesn't mess around.

I actually caught the end of their conversation, wherein the guy commented that "It would be interesting to see how they would kiss up Russia and China's asses." He was talking about Obama.

"Yeah," Ahmed continued with his no-nonsense approach, "What about kissing asses, who cares, I say it's better than going around killing people."

You don't need to know Ahmed's name to know he is Arabic. His looks, deep and big eyes, shaved bear line, are, for the lack of better words, quite mid-eastern.

Ahmed has a fondness for Asian girls, especially Chinese. "Asian girls are the best." He would say. When Ahmed speaks of Asia, he means East Asia, possibly South East Asia too, but nothing beyond, although he is very proud of Iraqi soccer team beating Chinese in the Asia Cup.

"This girl has her third boyfriend in two weeks. What's up with Asian girl liking white guys?" He was speaking of the girl having ice cream with a masculine guy in the corner. I couldn't answer that question. For a moment, I almost felt guilty I couldn't hook him up with a Chinese girl many times he asked me. He looked pretty white himself, at least to me.

That's when I told him I was going to Australia.

"Really? Beautiful place, but I wouldn't want to go on those beaches though. Do you watch Animal Channel? There was this guy holding crocodiles. He was in TV commercials, he was everywhere."

Ahmed gave me an incredulous look after I replied no, and continued:"One day, he went to Australia, and stung by a fish. Then he was gone. No Animal Channel, nowhere." He inhaled, "He was dead, just like that."

"Good luck man." Now he remembered to add.

Ahmed doesn't mess around.


P.S.: The person Ahmed referred to, I later learned, through google, was Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter". He was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.

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  1. Ahmed sounds like a nice guy to talk with. Hope is coffee is good.

    And nice to see your back blogging again.

  2. Lovely post! Dropping by. Have a nice day!

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