February 3rd, 2009

First (used) car in California in 1989

Setting: San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA, 1989/1990

Searched: "popular used cars 1989", "used cars 1989", and variations thereof; browsed 1980s and 1970s automobiles categories at Wikipedia

My 16-year-old female character, who is the younger of two kids in a middle-class family, is in need of her first car. Well, actually, she's already in possession of it. I just don't know what it is, and that's where I'm hoping you can help me.

Ideally, the car would be at least five years old by the time she got it, but not something of the Oh, God, I'm embarrassed to be driving this thing variety. Her friend drives an 1985 Pontiac Fiero SE, which she thinks is a lot cooler than her car.

What might she drive that fits this description? Alternately, if you or your friends or siblings got your first car in the late 80s or very early 90s, what was it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Tags:

Burqua vs Abaya

Scene: present day central Texas, hot spring day at a farmer's market. A yuppie woman is confronted with a young lady dressed in striking purple Muslim clothing.

Search criterion: Burqua, Abaya, "Muslim clothing," "cultural etiquette of Muslim clothing"

Problem: I can't seem to find a resource that would help me figure out whether this lady would be dressed in a Burqua or an Abaya. I'm basing her character off a girl I once saw on a college campus. The defining characteristic was the fact that even though she was wearing this gorgeous draped purple fabric, she had an unfortunate pair of glasses sticking out over her eye-slit (which cannot possibly be the correct term...) That was all there was to her appearance, and I was very struck by it. But now I find myself facing the same assumptions for which I wanted to call out my yuppie character.

I thought it was a Burqua, but according to this, she was probably wearing a head scarf of some kind. But that won't work, either, because it was one single piece of purple silk draped over her body! The same site says that Burqua (what is the plural of this term??) conceal all of a woman's body including the eyes, which are covered with a mesh screen. So that clearly can't be what she is wearing. I thought perhaps Abaya, but the same source says that the Abaya is usually black.

Questions: First, what is the correct term for the item of clothing I originally saw? What's the plural for that term? What do you call the slit for the eyes, if anything? And then, if I had a witless whitebread American try to give the young lady a compliment on her "Burqua" if indeed it wasn't a Burqua, then how would the young lady react culturally? Would it be insulting to a cosmopolitan young lady from the "Arab gulf countries" to have her Abaya mistaken for a Burqua from Afghanistan? Is the dress itself considered sacred by some Muslim women?

Can anyone help me figure this out so that the author doesn't end up looking as idiotic and uncultured as the yuppie character she's trying to write? Many thanks in advance--I won't be able to reply until early this afternoon.

EDIT: One final question/clarification. I need to know the correct term for the item of clothing I originally saw and the possible countries of origin. I don't know where the original young lady came from, and it is pretty necessary to the story. Thanks again!

Contingency plans

Do the Anglican Communion, the Church of England, or Her Majesty's Government have any contingency plans for a possible future destruction of the city of Canterbury? Would the title of the Archbishop of Canterbury remain the same, or would it change based upon what city he went do? Would the Archbishop of York simply become the new relevant Instrument of Communion through the principle of Epikeia?

ETA: I Googled various iterations of 'Canterbury contingency plan' and 'Cantuar contingency plan'. I'm aware that he actually lives in Lambeth, but in the story this is part of a generalised destruction of the entire Thames-Medway area, including central London. The cause being a catastrophic flood that means that you can take a rowboat out to the seventh floor of the Gherkin, I don't think rebuilding the cities in question is really a viable option.

Title Priorities

I have a character who is a British citizen with a doctorate in medical research and has been knighted in recognition for his contribution to medicine. When formally addressed, would he always be Sir Roger? Under what conditions would he be called Dr. Landsworth?