18  J I M C A R R O L L * * * The world I entered when I stepped off the plane was one for which I was not prepared. While my knowledge of English was sufficient for admission, it was not adequate for the level of com- munication I desired. I was accustomed to being shielded from interaction with unrelated women and now they were all around, not regarding my presence, dressed indecently, speaking openly, hair uncovered. A young woman with long blond hair jostled me as she rushed by, and the contact jarred me. My father arranged for Ali, who had lived in London for sev- eral years, to meet me. I couldn’t have survived otherwise, and for a brief moment I mentally thanked my father. Ali cautioned, “Don’t look at the women. You’ll be tempted, and they will look back.” Then it was off to the university at the Strand campus on the Thames where I was introduced to my Welsh roommate who had initiated his own arrival with a drunken debauch the prior eve- ning. The juxtaposition of my own ideas of propriety and those encountered were too much for me. I promptly fell into the mid- dle of our dorm room, subject to one of episodes that appeared to be a fainting spell, but really consisted of loss of body tone with preserved consciousness. My roommate, Adam, saw this as hi- larious, and it was not a favorable introduction. “You’re drunker than I am,” was his opening greeting. By morning, however, Adam had recovered his sobriety, and we made our temperate acquaintance. “Yacoub, I’m complete- ly embarrassed. I’ve never been on my own before. My father would be furious.” His father was an Anglican minister from Wales. Adam’s own introduction to London and King’s College had been his visitation to the pubs of London in the nearby Cov- ent Garden neighborhood. He continued, “I’m afraid I disgraced myself last night. The freedom was too much for me.”