Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Smokers are humans too

For long, smokers have suppressed non-smokers and imposed their smoke on the noses and lungs of non-smokers and for long non-smokers had to suffocate and inhale that shit and not utter a word, but that was long ago. Today, even smokers take pride in asking other smokers to put off their cigarettes. That's all fine and okay. Smoking has been banned in public in many places around the world and that's fine. Airport smoking rooms are designed to give you an idea of what hell feels like. That's also fine. But in coffee houses which are my favorite hangout places, discrimination against smokers is not fine; Non-smoking sections are always nicer with much more comfy couches almost inspiring you to quit smoking altogether just to enjoy those seats. When trying new coffee houses, I am naturally attracted to the non-smoking sections, not because they smell nicer but because, in Lebanon, they are usually empty and more dimly lit with lower coffee tables and nicer seats, only the waiters see my pack of cigarettes, lift their eyebrows and point to the other unappealing side of the place. On that side, it's like another world. There you are like an outcast. You understand the need for this segregation but all you ask for is an equally nice couch and some warmth. You hardly find a couch in the smoking section, mostly uncomfortable chairs, the waiter hardly takes notice of you, but they do change your ashtray after every puff. Is that some kind of punishment for our vulnerabilities? Until they ban smoking in public places, I demand an equal treatment of non-smokers, or otherwise charge us less!
P.S. Smoking is banned in my house, except in the kitchen where there are no couches but I don't charge people in my house!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My gray hair talking

Today I also thought that Life is short enough to endure its sufferings and long enough to forget them. But I might change my mind tomorrow.


Today, I remembered something that my father said to me long ago, when I was a kid. I don't remember anymore the context or why he said that but surprisingly, his words survived somehow the damages in my memory. "I think that nothing surprises me anymore and that nothing would break me anymore. I have reached a kind of immunity that makes me bear anything, anything", he said, or something along that, but pretty much the essence of it. Despite my young age, those words shook me, and I thought that I understood exactly what he meant. I started imagining the worst of situations and thinking whether he would truly be able to get through them, like: even if I commit suicide? or if I lose my sight because you mistakenly hit my eye with a pen? and some worse stuff, and I had no answer if that wouldn't break him. But now I know, that what he meant to say was that he had seen the worst. No one would dare say such a thing unless they have seen the worst.

A glimpse back

Sometimes I read some of my older posts again and I feel that I am reading them for the first time, as if someone else wrote them, and there are times when I truly get interested and start nodding in a sign of approval, but there are other posts which I totally don't agree with. Is that weird? Is it a matter of forgetfulness or am I just changing (let's not say growing)?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Love in the time of Poo-lera

I was enjoying the Sunny Sunday today when I saw this couple on the street and they so seemed to me like a framed painting on a wall so I couldn't stop myself from taking that picture. I did breach photography ethics, maybe, although their faces don't show and the street was poo free. If you happen to know them, you don't need to tell them.

I can't throw away all of my shoes!!!!!!

Ashrafiyeh people, I have noticed, love dogs. There is a dog, at least one, in almost every house in Ashrafiyeh. I am still trying to figure out why. I lived in Hamra street for a while, and many people there had dogs too, but Ashrafiyeh seems like a dog city. Dogs here almost outnumber the residents. I have nothing against dogs, on the contrary, they are cute, but their poo isn't. I mean if it is dry, I can stand it, but, you gotta try to understand me, sometimes, I wear high heals, and other times, I read my messages while walking on the sidewalk, and these little nice poos left by your cute dog stick on my shoes!!! How can I say this without hurting your or your dog's feelings? What if you clean your dog's poo from time to time? Please? I wanna keep my shoes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mothers' Day

A short drive in the streets of Beirut these days, ahead of Mothers' day, most advertisements send these not so subliminal messages: Mom, there you go: now you can cook, clean, and get fitter.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The taste of gray

Cooking and gray hair. Those were my two latest discoveries. They do not necessarily go hand in hand but they did in my case. There isn't supposed to be any correlation between the two or any cause effect relation, and there wasn't, they just coincided, or did they? Cooking for me is some form of yoga and spirit lifting. It gets me thinking (sometimes just singing). I also do it for fun and get to boost my ego when people like my food. There is something magical in that. I am not flattered when people praise some of my traits (I do have many), but when they say "emmmmm", I find myself saying "isn't? isn't". I now do that so often that I guess many people are afraid to tell me sometimes that my food wasn't so great!. And I got to understand why my parents talked about how delicious the food is while having lunch, while I used to take that for granted. That was fine until the first gray hairs started mushrooming on my head. Everyday, I discover a new one. I have no feelings towards them, or more precisely, I don't know what to feel. I do care but not negatively, nor positively. Something is changing in me. It feels like a new age phase and it doesn't at all give me the impression of any signs of more wisdom. I am just naturally thinking whether I should dye my hair or leave the natural whiteness invade the rest of my youth. It is so sudden a change that I am reluctant to accept it. Maybe growth should have some intermittent phases, preparatory ones in between age eras. When gray hair seemed to be a very far away concern, I tried all sorts of hair colors. I dyed in red and black and I was blond for a while, until I screwed it all up and was relieved when my hair finally regained its natural color. But now that it has, I have to start dying it all again? dye it to its natural color? or the closest I can get? I refuse. Anyhow, this brought with it a whole new dilemma: how to address some people. As you grow up, you often find yourself not knowing if it is more appropriate if you keep on addressing certain people with "'ammo" (or uncle) or "tante", as you used to, especially with a particular "breed" of them, those "tantes" who are age freeks, often believing that they do look young, sometimes even acting as teenagers, and who get annoyed if you hint in anyway to their age. "Do I look to you like a tante?" they would say, although you grew up addressing them this way. This also applies to many men as well. As you approach thirty, many people in their fifties or sixties start looking at you as a peer, and you feel truly uncomfortable addressing them by their names, you are not used to it anyway, take your parents' friends for example -some of mine are truly following Benjamin button's growth pattern- you end up avoiding some sentence structures that corner you to address them. With gray hair the matter becomes worse. You have more gray hair than they do! Now cooking only complicates matters. You are sincerely interested in learning from their cooking experience, but they want to talk to you about liposuction, of course! They also insist that you should dye you hair and remove your belly, because the way you are makes them look fake. The whole world should change for them to seem natural. You are still bewildered whether you say their name upfront, you hesitate and you remember that woman who dyes her children's hair blond so that no one doubts that she is a natural blond, even when her eyebrows and hair roots betray all her goals. Then you remember the first time your mother bought you a bra and how proud you felt wearing it that you wanted to show its laces off, to tell the world that you are no longer a kid. You are a grown up. You go to the kitchen, smell your almost ready food. It maybe smells like your mom's. Then a short glance at your first gray hair reminds you that maybe they did bring with them a little more wisdom that you thought.