57: The imam alarm

When we moved to the new apartment in Azrou, Morocco, we chose a place that shares a wall with the local mosque. You cannot get any closer. We did this deliberately, after having lived for a year and a half in Morocco, within hearing distance of three other mosques. We knew what we were in for – really, we did.

And then the reality. The regular imam is vocally pretty good – or at least, not so bad that I clap my hands over my ears five times a day. BUT, like all working people, he needs to be other places sometimes: maybe the doctor, or the dentist, or for whatever reason, he needs to be away. Then he gets a substitute to make the calls to prayer in his absence. THAT is where the trouble comes in. It is obvious that his replacements are just that….replacements. OMG. They are so nervous. One was giggling over the microphone, and another cleared his throat like, twelve times before he could finish. And tone-deaf? Please. PLEASE. Dude. Have mercy.

One guy was so bad, my CATS came to the rooftop door, asking to be let inside. I was already inside, which still was not far enough away. I cheered when the regular imam called prayer later that evening, it was so bad.

I also thought that the imam would make a great wake-up alarm clock every morning, so I was guaranteed not ever to be late for work. No dice. It did not even take a month before I was blissfully sleeping through the early morning call (5:50). What does wake me, however, is my landlord, one floor down, who wakes up and goes to early morning prayers every day. The apartment doors in this concrete block masonry building are metal security doors, so they clang when they are closed, a lot like the noise of a prison cell door clanging shut. That wakes me.

And, since I am one of those people who gets working on a project, or on the computer, and I sort of “wake up” hours later going, “My shoulders are aching – HEY! It is dark outside! What happened?” I figured that the five daily calls to prayer would regulate my time and I would be aware of the time much more than I normally am, so that would not happen any more. Nope. I only notice if it is a substitute imam. Sheesh.  Entertainment, five times a day, Moroccan-style.