Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Dead Fake Society

Some people in Lebanon find pride in pretending that they do not remember your name. They think that by doing that they project an image of themselves as important and busy people. The most annoying among them are those who tell you "remind me of your name?" "of yes, yes, we met yesterday!!!". And you would be sure that when you met only "yesterday", that person had asked you all kinds of personal questions about you let alone where your name comes from and had listed all the people they know with that name (because they know a lot of people of course). Yesterday, I witnessed a conversation where a guy told another "of course, I know you, you are XX, my friend always talks about you!" I find out later on that the guy is gay. I don't want to stereotype, but I specifically asked if he was gay because of this not so common behavior among straight men in Lebanon. (Not to say that this behavior cannot be found equally among Lebanese gays).
Now there is this other category of people with whom you might have had long conversations or had coffee with let's say not so long ago or had an unforgettable fight with, or seen a million times, and then one day they pass by, throw a glance at you, a glance of "I know you", then lower their eyes and go by without even a smile. I do understand that in some of these situations, one or each of the two people would be wondering if the other had recognized them, but in most cases, it is this recognition that they find hard to admit.
So this pretentious Lebanese knows a lot of people, you included, and behaves the same with all of them. When they find themselves in a crowd but unaccompanied, you find them restlessly looking for familiar faces, and then they spot you and they run towards you, with "don't you remember me? we met yesterday". Of course you remember them but then you would say "remind me of your name!!!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Slow motion

I was stuck in the traffic and I was stricken by how everyone around me was stupid: the policeman, the muscled guy in the black shirt, the street boy begging to wash his car, the curly headed lady leaning over the steering wheel unaware of how the horn of her Peugeot is making me want to put an end to her life. I am not going to accept that they are all victims of a bigger problem beyond them called traffic jam in Lebanon. No, that is one thing and their stupidity is something else. But nothing made me want to jump out of my car more than that stupid very old man with that stupid smile on his wrinkled face driving as slow as if he is walking on a high rope above the Amazon river, because he thinks that the slower he goes, the slower time becomes and the farther away his death.

I was waiting for the elevator, cross legged, my elbow on the elevator's edge, when I realized that I have been waiting for more than five minutes. I remember I had a rush of thoughts invading my head, some meaningful ones and some nonsense. I can't remember any of these thoughts now, all I remember is the image of me waiting by the elevator, cross legged, my elbow on the elevator's edge. I did not see myself stand there, yet in my memory I have that copy image of myself standing there and that useless memory is now carved in my head. As useless as it sounds, as stored it is in my memory to the extent that I have to write it down here so that I get it out of my system. And yet now it has become even more memorable after it has been written.

Before the age of speed, and when everything around was slow, the "meantime" had a certain meaning. Roads were not mere connecting lines but were part of the destination plan. People used to take food for the road, stop for a bonfire, or just contemplate sceneries. In the slow motion age, same as in the speed age, people invent coping systems. Here we are stuck in between the two ages, we are like that stupid old wrinkled man in the car unable to reach to nowhere and slowing everyone behind us.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Critique and self critique

I love when people say things about me (good or bad) that I don't already know about myself. It's rare but when it happens, I am impressed. One of them is that "I have the talent to change the subject without giving my interlocutor the time to react". How annoying!!! and yes, I do this sometimes.

Animal Pain

I am not so much of an activist for animal rights. Not that I don't care but that can't be among the top things I care for when so many human beings enjoy less rights than many animals. But it breaks my heart to see a dog with three legs, or an old donkey with an injured back, even a bug with crushed wings struggling to fly, or any animal in pain, more than to see a human being in pain. Maybe because I know what physical pain is for humans but I wonder what it is like for animals. Humans can make a certain philosophy out of pain, but what do animals do? what's their defense mechanism. Who do they blame? How do they unleash their anger?

The Fall

It's about to rain now. If my grandfather was here now he would probably tell me how the next olive season would be like. I say, when it rains, it feels right. Good things usually happen to me during the fall, not so much during the summer for instance. But that's not the reason why I like fall; on the contrary, it is because I like it that good things happen. Not so clear. I see. But I will find better ways to explain it to myself.

My Mother Fairuz

Today I go see Fairuz and "see" not only refers to sight here but it involves the five senses combined in the verb "to feel". Fairuz for me is something I breathe. This is not poetry, but I can't imagine myself born in an age where Fairuz is yet to be born or has gone long ago. This icon has done to my being, affected what I am now, and carved my mind and emotional intelligence more than any other ideology, religion, science, or philosophy has. If you can define music then I can define the feeling Fairuz inflicts on me. This feeling is a weird mixture of the fragrances of my childhood, the pain of adolescence, and the sweet and sour tastes of my days. There were days when I thought that Fairuz could be my mother. I like this theory about mothers, that motherhood could be seen on women's faces and that there are women you meet that you feel could have been your mother, Fairuz is one of them. This is another feeling that I find hard to explain. It is not in their attitude but rather in their facial expressions, in their eyes, in the age of their skin and in the pain below it. Fairuz is all of this.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I think that the word "habibi" is the most beautiful word in the Arabic language both phonetically and semantically. You only have to hear either fairuz or myself say it to know what I mean.