Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I have lately been shopping for gynecologists and obstetricians... shopping literally. I have seen a handful of them so far. I do understand that visiting a gyneco will never be a comfortable experience, but it shouldn't at least be a traumatizing one! However, in a frustrated society like ours, finding a good male gynecologist is hard and finding a good female one is even harder. I remember back at university when that stupid Med student used to brag in front of other guys how lucky he is because when he becomes a gynecologist, he would see as many naked women and women's genitals as he wishes! He did traumatize me to be honest and I still remember him every time I shop for a new gyneco. I would enter the clinic, scrutinize the Doctor, look for any lust in his eyes, and ask all sorts of questions, as if interviewing him for a job. They could be the best gynecos ever, but that doesn't make the experience any less pitiful. After seeing many of them in Lebanon, I ended up with a sort of categorization. You have the stupid ones, often religious, who would ask you "Miss or Mrs.?" to find out whether you are sexually active! and those who would instantly assume that you are married if they find after check-up you weren't virgin. Tell them you are single and you would get that forced smile betrayed by the round eyes!! Now you have the other category of gynecos who ask you to strip the moment you are in the clinic. They do the check-up in every single visit even if you were there just to ask a question. The third category is those, usually the older type, who look very nice at first, the teaching type, drawing vaginas and uteruses on paper, explaining all sorts of things you have to know, you say, finally that's the one, then, once the lecture is over, they take you behind the curtains, and ask you to strip while they stay there watching... sometimes even offering a hand! And finally you have the female gynecos. Those come in two types, the frustrated, never-had-sex-type and the hell-with-confidentiality-type. The first category are those self-hating women who give you the face of disgust and nag about how horrible it is to be a woman. They would be anything but gentle during check-ups. Now the- hell-with-confidentiality-type are the funniest. One of them once asked me where I am from and noted it down on my file (I now have files all the over the country) and when I asked why she needed to know this information, she said so that she doesn't give me an appointment that would coincide with another woman's from my area. At the end of that session, she offered me coffee and told me the life story of the woman who had left the room right before I came in, not only disclosing all her medical history but also telling me all sorts of gossips about her personal life! I never visited her again, and I opened a new file somewhere else. Now there is this one Doctor I visited lately who falls out of any categorization. I hated him at first, maybe because he was very handsome and relatively young. He also had this smirk that was hard to decipher. I thought that he is the arrogant type and that what goes through his mind is "all of you stupid patients who visit me!" He probably thought "if you are not a doctor then you are stupid." I judged him right away, and my first impression was that this guy is masquerading as a professional physician and said “the worst is yet to come!” But to my surprise, the visit went extremely well. He didn't ask for a check-up on my first visit and he kept a very decent and proficient attitude all through. Finally, a genuine gynecologist! I found out later that he is gay and that was truly relieving. Impartiality! I thought. That’s what makes a good gynecologist.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Dear sectarian Lebanese people, those celebrating and those lamenting alike, amid those comi-tragic moments that you are all passing through, I bring you good news. Cheer up, the end of the tunnel is near. Dear Maronites, Christian Orthodox, Sunni, Shia, Alawites, Armenians, Druze etc. etc. etc. worry not for soon you will have a new sectarian government that will be more sectarian than ever so that it represents you all. It will be much more balanced than you have ever had so that it preserves your national unity, and it will be much more retarded than it had ever ever been so that it can respond to all your concerns and address your fears. Dear Christians, fear not, for this government will impose contraceptives on all Muslims. Dear pious Lebanese, fear not because art control and media censorships will be imposed stricter than ever not to scratch your feelings (in the meantime use your remote control devices). The next government is one that has learned from the lessons of the past. It will not allow a soul to dare insult your sectarian leader or religious figure. It will impose on buses and cabs to dangle crosses and crescents from their rear-view mirrors to give you a choice in which to ride. There will be equal Christian transportation means as Muslim ones, and there will be mixed ones too with a cross and a crescent embracing for those who have reached higher levels of co-existence and brotherhood, for the new Government will give you a choice. So why the long faces? Cheer up, the end of the tunnel is near.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I don't know what it means to live day by day yet I decided today to live as such, to live today. But in what sense? does it mean, not to think about tomorrow? or not to plan for next week or next year? or not to care for yesterday or last year? or is it rather not to worry about the after? For some, it could mean no more than to put food on the table today and God helps tomorrow. For others it is merely to take Nancy out today and worry about Carla tomorrow. But for me this morning, it just meant to wake up and try to lead a normal day, a day I would not care to remember. I told myself: today, live with no aim, delete the word purpose from your dictionary, and let dreams be your worst enemy. Ask no questions and look for no answers. Just wake up and let each breath bring you a new fragrance, open your eyes and see (as Saramago says), listen to the music in words and forget the words, just be led by your senses. Carpe Diem? I wondered. Maybe. But it is funny when you think that the more you live by Carpe Diem the less you might leave this world with a mark, the less you will be remembered over the ages. But who cares if your life was watched in a film strip or read in a book or searched over the internet a hundred years after you are gone. You are gone. Maybe it is not important after all to leave a mark in life, maybe, it is more important that life leaves marks on you.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I attended the other day the funeral of a man in his late seventies. At the funeral, I heard people talking about his widow's "'Iddiyeh" or 'counting' which refers to a custom still practiced among some Muslims where the widow must lock herself at home for 100 days before she is allowed to go out. To be honest, I didn't quite understand the reason right away until I realized that this has to do with sex. Of course! When it comes to religion, sex and dignity have some mysterious links. She should lock herself in so that, in case she found herself pregnant, society wouldn't doubt for a second that her late husband was indeed the father. Poor woman, I thought. When he died, her husband was almost 80 and she was in her late sixties for God's sake!
P.S. In case this crossed your mind, let us be clear, this practice is not common among Christians not because of any greater enlightenment, but, because if a Christian woman locked at home after her husband dies, gets pregnant, there is no way to tell whether the father is her late husband or the holy spirit!
Why do I happen to know some of those Lebanese who befriend you depending on how many cheese varieties you can name provided that Halloumi and Picon are not among them? Those might be rare, you think? but take the ones for example who rate the taste of food by its price. It must be delicious because it is expensive. That's also how they choose where to dine, for instance, by the price list! And the lesser the food in a plate the merrier! They won't tell you that the food is great because it is expensive, they are not that stupid after all... they will only say that they like the place because it is clean. Recommend a cheaper place and you would directly hear the phrase "it's too popular" only to mean "filthy" or "poor", two words they usually use interchangeably. So those people will find the same camembert they eat in Beirut for 10 Dollars more tasty than the camembert baring the same label in Paris, (of course!) and those people would find Somali Banana in Beirut utterly delicious and local banana in Somalia just Yuck! To those I say: if you cannot cure yourself from your inferiority complexes, you can just cut it short and chew a 50 dollar bill for breakfast, a 100 Dollar bill for lunch and how about a Diamond for dinner?
One of their favorite sections
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I love this line from Gabriel Garcia Marquez for I can almost read Beirut hidden between the lines: "How noble this city must be (...)for we have spent four hundred years trying to finish it off and we still have not succeeded." Love in the time of Cholera.
Or did we?
Or did we?
How can some Lebanese people not see that this is a sectarian emblem? I mean this is so evident that any further explanation would be like defining what the word is is. We will never have a decent state or regime or nation or whatever you may call it until we stop seeing people as such, and it differs less if the cross and the crescent are embracing or pointing guns at each others. It is just the same thing. The more you see this emblem the more you realize the levels of sectarianism that this country has reached. You won't need a Boutus Harb to remind you of that.