Day four in the office with the marathon sessions! We get forty-five minutes for lunch and two-five minute breaks!

I use the one in the afternoon, at 2:30 to pray. The first day was great, there was an empty boardroom. I just popped in there, dropped my sweater on the floor and prayed. But ever since then the board room’s been occupied and I’ve been praying in the corridor, on the way to women’s bathroom.

It’s carpeted and clean, but very narrow and the only spot wide enough is in front of one of those doors with the little number combination lock thingies. Well every day, I never saw anyone come through the door, but today, yup, someone came through.

I had my back to the door, and it opened gently, hesitantly, hitting my backside, and the lady said, “Oh, excuse me. I need to get out.”

Well I couldn’t say anything, not when I was praying, it would have broken my prayer, so I just shuffled out of the way. The door opened a bit more, touched my backside again, so I shuffled over even more until she could open it all the way.

I don’t know what she thought. Here I was, standing in front of a paper towel laid on the floor (my prayer mat for my face) and my purse in front (as a sitrah–kind of a barrier so that if anyone walked in front of me, my purse would block me from prostrating to them) and I was looking down at the floor, still in prayer, looking like I was mumbling to myself.

She said, “Oh, excuse me. I’m so sorry.” Then she paused and said, “Are you okay?”

I still couldn’t answer. I just moved back a step so that when I went to prostrate my face would land on the piece of paper towel.

Then she left and I finished my prayer.

When I was done and walking back towards our own meeting room, I saw a lady talking to the reception guy, and it sounded like her.

I went up and said, “Oh I’m so sorry for blocking the door.”

“No, no! I’m so sorry for disturbing you!”

“Oh no, I’m sorry. It was my fault. I’ve been praying all week and nobody came through it.”

Back and forth we went like that, till it got kind of silly and yet it was kind of cute too.

She was so sweet! And I am so grateful.

But then, that’s the way I find most people are. They’re very accommodating.

When I was younger I used to be so self-conscious about praying in public. I felt like one of those dancing African tribesmen on display for the National Geographic cameras, just imagining what people must be thinking of me.

Now, I was just embarrassed about having blocked the door.

I could’t help it, and there was no real inconvenience, but still.

Oh well, there was no helping it. I really couldn’t find anyplace better to pray.