It is hot, and I am in the first minutes of what is going to be a long day of travel. They’re expecting me in Namus, and I’ve only just left Dir Edis after a long wait in front of the little post office. I should say: a long sit on the step outside the post office, watching the ants go into and out of their holes. I’ve been here two years now and sometimes I worry about my fascination with the ants.
So I am relieved when the bus finally arrives. It’s a bus I don’t recognize and the driver is identifiably religious, wearing the hat marking him a hajji and a long white dishdash, with his red-and-white kaffiyeh wrapped over his shoulders. He also has a vague bruise in the middle of his forehead. I know it’s completely unfair, but I’m always a little more wary of men dressed like this, I guess because they seem more likely to be offended by anything I do wrong. So I avert my eyes as I hand him my coins and sit down demurely several seats behind him.