November 3rd, 2011

I wish…

(a semi-quarter partial list.)


That when I walk through the beautiful Barouk Cedar Forest, between trees that are hundreds and thousands of years old, that I wouldn’t see an advertisement for Bank Med there.


That when I’ve already dodged 10 cars that unwittingly almost pulverized me in their haste to get to Uncle Deek’s or Starbucks, I wouldn’t then be crunched out of my skin during my morning walk by the barreling sound of a semi-truck horn, whose friends all laugh at my reactive catapult in the middle street.


That, oh, that people knew how to use stop lights. Red means stop and green… Anyway, why do we have stop lights in a country that has no law enforcement? Or where most people get their driver’s license by simply paying some whiskered, long pinky-nailed man for it? No body knows how to use the lights. When the little green person lights up, that means pedestrians have the right-of-way. It doesn’t mean T’HASHOU! (Incidentally, pedestrians don’t know how to use them either!)


That ‘electricity’ and ‘traffic’ weren’t daily topics. Sometimes several times a day daily topics. The electricity is here. When does the electricity cut? Tak el dejenteur. Turn on the moteur…


That at 7 pm, when the traffic is dying and the world is slowing, and I’m settling into my apartment for the evening, I didn’t have to hear the construction, still grunting, grinding, and hammering outside my window. Still, since it woke me up this morning, at 7.


That when I’m dying for chocolate and I race the 3 flights of stairs to the vending machine of Fisk Hall, that the much anticipated Kinder Bueno, when unwrapped, didn’t reveal itself as a mushy, dead victim of the heat. And that when I call the number on the vending machine – the one that says, “please call 03558808,” someone would answer.


That when I go into a sunglasses shop with dim lighting on Hamra Avenue, the lady who is smoking and talking on the phone would stop smoking, hang up the phone, say hello, and help me. And when she does finally end her phone call, in which she’s asking the other end, several times, why he hasn’t woken up and gone to work at 6 pm, she would be nice. Just nice.


That my pregnant colleague could come to the department Halloween party because smoking wasn’t allowed indoors. That just once when it matters to people, the government could pass a law and enforce it! (Oh, then maybe I wouldn’t end up smoking too.)


That people weren’t having a boring discussion as to why we shouldn’t vote for Jeita for a wonder of the world.  If the government doesn’t make our country ugly, why must the people feel a need to? It could be worse, guys. Yes, it’s expensive to get in, but maybe when it’s a wonder of the world, it won’t have to charge so much?


That I didn’t have a half-finished, shoddily built, brick red closet in my room. That I didn’t have the opportunity to name it “Close” for its close resemblance to a closet which the “carpenter” at the Bamboo House left half-constructed, disappearing with my $200 and sending his cheik uncle to collect his drills, which I still feel bitter for giving back to him. I also wish that the closet doorknob didn’t fall off this morning. (This story is to be continued in a comic strip on this blog, soon.)


That the white Levis that I had dyed brown a year ago weren’t bleeding onto and ruining the rest of the clothes in my washing loads. I now have many brownish-pinkish tinged clothes. Screw you! (Let me not mention the $400 BCBG dress the “dry cleaner” ruined as well: “I’ll fix it, don’t you worry…”)


That people who have places of service or product, speaking of which, would not lie and cheat their customers. And that they would be trained and actually know the trade under which they advertise themselves. Simple logic: I’m an English teacher, therefore I do not teach math classes. To the “carpenter”: You are a pothead and make bamboo furniture, therefore you are not qualified to construct “things” out of wood. To the dry cleaner: You have a yellow pinky nail longer than your intellectual capacity, therefore please don’t tell me you can fix my dress and pants when you can’t!


That the farmer’s market (Souk el Tayeb) would not move location every single week. I go to Biel and it’s not there, it’s at Beirut Souks. I go to Beirut Souks, and it’s not there, it’s at Biel. What’s with the restlessness?


That the marathon association in Beirut would do more for the runners instead of for the politicians who come in their brand new Nike gear on the day of the marathon and take up all the television air time running a kilo like ducks, completely disregarding the people who have spent months and hundreds of kilometers in training and who have just completed one of the most difficult feats in athletics – running 42.195 kilometers. Perhaps the association, who has raised the entry fee by 20,000 LL (from 40,000 to 60,000) should think about installing amenities for runners (and bikers, and other athletes) throughout the city – ie: running lanes, water fountains, etc. This is a major city, which holds an INTERNATIONAL marathon. What improvements have been made to this end?


That so many of the friends that I’ve met since moving to Beirut 4 years ago were still here. That almost every single one of them didn’t have to leave because this abundant, apathetic country cannot get its shit together!




If you’d like to add your own complaint, please vent here. I feel just a tad better now.





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3 Responses to “Uft.”

  1. Gary says:

    Are we just a wee bit out of sorts today? I suggest that you go back to bed and see if tomorrow brings a brighter outlook!

  2. rima says:

    Says the #1 writer to the Chicago, Illinois Jefferson Park alderman! ha!

  3. walnut says:

    That after I do a freelance job I don’t have to beg for half a year to be paid, because the employer won’t come out and tell me that they’re having money troubles, and keep putting me off with a “next week, I promise” without giving me an answer clear enough for me to plan my finances.

    That not every weekend is an excuse for fireworks, setting off the post-traumatic stress trauma of wondering if another war has begun.

    That when I, a woman in my fricking thirties, have my boyfriend staying overnight, I don’t have to sneak him out the next day to disapproving looks from my neighbors. That they don’t start treating me markedly differently after running into him one too many times, or complaining to the landlord that there is a prostitute living in the building, prompting him to kick me out.

    That I don’t have to listen to a million catcalls in the street a day, some of them so rude and dirty I feel like I’ve just been stripped naked in public.

    That when I get into a service, I don’t have to worry about the driver’s lecherous stare in the mirror, or remarks that start bordering on the lascivious, and then debating whether I should continue the ride and just get the hell to where I’m going while trying to ignore him, or just ask him to let me out (after I’ve already paid) and trying my luck with another one.

    That I don’t have to be more afraid of the darak than I am of street harassers, which means I will never report anything to them lest they start harassing me far worse.

    That after I have moved away to another country to be away from all this crap, and after I have lived there for an entire year, I am still looking over my shoulder at every loud noise, still calculating when the electricity might be cut, and still wondering if my neighbors think I’m a whore.

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