November 03, 2006

Low Morale

'Normal' Conversations Part 2
As I walk last night behind two ladies in their early thirties, one of them receives a text message on her phone. She opens the message as she continues walking. ‘I – hear – news – that - you – you – are – on – the – verge – of – a - civil – war - Mama – is – very – worried – please – tell – us – how – the – situation – is’, she reads aloud. “Yee, dakhilak habibti, please mail her everything is just fine” the other woman replies dramatically. “ That is just the last thing we need right now, mamma dying of a heart attack.”

At work, a friend is trying to book a flight to London for work. “I cannot find one friggin’ seat out of the country. Everyone is leaving. All flights out are fully booked, but incoming flights are empty. I used to laugh at those idiots leaving! And you know who is the ‘habla’ (the idiot)? Me! This country is over, finito, finished.”

A discussion in the cafeteria with colleagues. “I want to move to Australia, but my husband wants to go to the States. Oh well, at least we agree on something.” ‘What’s that?” I ask. “Well, we both want to leave Lebanon.”

During a Halloween party, one guest, dressed up as Ousama Bin Laden, says; “I wanted to dress up as Hassan Nasrallah, but I was afraid the Israelis might blow me up, thinking I was the real one.

The moral is as low as I have ever seen it in Lebanon. What happened? Are we on the rebound from last summer or did the Israelis send us a tainted shipment of Prozac?

Cluster bombs
As Lebanese, and mainly Lebanese children, continue to die from cluster bombs left behind by our thoughtful Southern neighbors, you are invited to participate in the first national day against Cluster Munitions tomorrow, Saturday, November 4th, at Martyr's Square Area, across from Azariyeh bldg., from 11AM to 10PM.

On A Personal Note
I had to get glasses this week. A first one for me. The forces of gravity slowly but surely get a tighter grip on me; I suddenly noticed last month that I had difficulty reading my watch. Not really a difficulty, I can read the dial just fine, but my arm is somehow not long enough anymore. And things that are far away tend to get a little blurry when I am tired. Which with my job is just about all the time.

So to the ophthalmologist I went. It took me maybe 17 minutes to find out what the problem was, which frames I want for my glasses (+0.5 for reading glasses and -0.25/-0.75 for far viewing glasses) and how much I had to pay ($120). I could pick up the glasses the next day.
Now if I would have to do this in Holland, first I would have to make an appointment with the family doctor (takes approx. 3 days), who would give me a referral form for an eye doctor. Then you make an appointment with the eye doctor (approx. 3 weeks) who would then give you a prescription to go to an optician, who would ask you to come pick up your glasses after a week, charging you close to $500. The only good thing is that medical care pays the bill.
Well, I don’t mind shelling $120 for 17 minutes of work.

I must say I feel rather like a dog with these eyes. Glasses, I mean.


Anonymous said...

is that you, or is it the neigbours cat?

Ms Levantine said...

Lebanon is paradoxical: morale is indeed very low, but as you noted in your previous post, Beirut is mushrooming and real estate is selling at record prices. Go figure.

Sietske said...

The 'neighbor's cat? Hmmm, now let me see who that is. I think this might be a family member of mine.