Monday, 3 December 2012

Soft Carpets - am I the only one?

You know that feeling when you hear nails on a blackboard, or a fork against a plate, that sound that goes 'right through' you?

Well I get that with soft carpets. Any soft material really. I can barely stand to touch fleece. Woolen jumpers too.

This isn't much of a problem. I just don't wear fleeces, avoid wool and generally all is well. Except in one scenario. Soft carpets.

Soft carpets give me no choice about where I put my feet. The desi etiquette of not wearing shoes in the house mean I'm often forced to feel soft carpets or be unforgivably impolite and keep my shoes on. But again, I don't spend that much time in other people's homes so it is a minor inconvenience at most.

But by far the biggest problem is the Muslim pre-occupation with soft materials for places of worship.

As a child, erroneously convinced that prayer could only be made on a prayer mat (almost all of which use some soft velvet type material) I avoided prayer simply because I didn't want to touch the prayer mat. Once my parents finally understood this, my mother very kindly brought me a cotton prayer mat (one I still use to this day even though I've outgrown it by a few feet).

So again, I've found strategies to deal with soft prayer mats and all is well.

Except for mosques. Mosques insist on soft prayer mats as some bizarre indication of the importance of prayer or something. And generous donors who provide mosques with luxurious, deeply woven, soft, carpets mean any mosque (even the humble 'house mosque') can install them.

I can't explain how much anguish this causes me. Not all mosques have them, some have a thinner, coarser, material that provides no problem.

But the majority of mosques have soft carpets.

This means I often have to mentally prepare myself before going to a mosque. During Ramadan, when I expect to spend more time in a mosque, I usually wear leather socks that shield me from directly touching the carpet (although I still have to ensure I only 'lightly' touch it with my hands).

In 24 years however, I have never found another person with the same problem.

I need a support group. Moral encouragement. Something. Anything.

Has anyone else had the same problem but overcome it?