September 25, 2008

On Inspiration (Again)

What inspires the blogger of late
To make no more of a wall than an open gate’

(After Robert Frost, a Cow in Apple Time)

This inspiration issue is truly becoming an issue with me. Friends even mail me to check if I am really alright. (Thank you Theo, Mark and Dimphy). No, I am fine. I just bought a new car, the school year has started (no report cards due until December, so that’s always a good time), my housekeeper says she’ll stay on until the new one comes in, which takes a load off my back and mind, friends are inviting me to their birthdays and hubbie says (shows) he loves me. What more could you want?

But I am truly puzzled by this lack of inspiration. How come that this town, this country, which has inspired me for years and years, suddenly fails to stimulate me?

It is not that we lack the misery. We’ve got power shortages for years to come, the Syrian army is gathering at our borders, the Israelis are warning they are ready to bomb us (again), the mood on the streets is nasty, and we’ve got an inflation rate of some 20%, although when I look at my weekly grocery bill, I think 33% is more like it. The only good news is that we’re not suffering from the financial crisis the way the Americans are, but that is because we’ve been suffering already for the past 10 years, so we got used to it.

Enough material to provide inspiration for years to come, you’d think.

And then, when this afternoon I went to organize the insurance for my new car, there was a traffic policeman guiding me through the process of inserting 500 Lebanese pounds (23 euro cents or 0.33 dollar) into a parking meter. Out came a perfectly white ticket, giving me exactly until 8:06 the next morning to park. (Some 16 hours of parking time).
Now if anything takes away my inspiration, it is digitalized parking tickets. Before you know it, this place becomes just like Abu Dhabi (god forbid) or Dubai (god forbid even more).

What on earth am I going to write about, if we have arrived at digitalized parking tickets? Not much (as I have just proven).
But I wrote it anyway, to steer the conversation on this blog away from Marijke and her sleeping bag (upon her request), and back to life in Lebanon.

I guess what I need is an adventure. I’ve got a 5 day holiday coming up, and I plan to go places. Maybe this will inspire me. Anyone in for an adverture? Sigh.


Kheireddine said...

Here is downtown Montréal, it costs $6 to park for two hours on the street. And you cannot pay for more than two hours!

Marillionlb said...

I can relate to your text, for I am at a loss of words as well. Not that there isn't any new developments in this corner of the woods (jungle is a more appropriate word I guess, I have vented my anger numerously and am beginning to sound like a broken record. Enjoy your time off, maybe you will get to visit some new place and write about it.

ms. tee said...

When you have been spoiled rotten by explosive events, what is an inflation, electric inconveniences, or a few military threats?

And I wouldn't worry about the parking meter. I am certain that, given time, it will generate more amusement than you currently anticipate.

Anonymous said...

TIP: In my town "poor" people ask drivers who leave the parking, for their "old" P-ticket if it still has some time left. The "poor" (wo-)man sells it to a new coming driver for a little less than the orriginal value was.
With a parkingtime of 16 hours, a lot of Beiruties with a low income can earn money with this way of RECYCLING P-TICKETS.
So …… never throw away a ticket, but GIVE it away to be used on and on for the full 16 hour.
Take the time to make pictures from this action!

BTW …… glad you're back, thanks.


Theo said...

No-one talks about the new car!
Is it really true and what is the real reason behind it? (You can tell me in a private mail, as you should because of Abu Dh. anyway). Are you keeping the old one and is it now your 3rd? That doesnt make sense: 2 children and 3 cars? You must have had it "ingeruild"....

Siets, get inspired soon... I got questions from my host here in Amman why I like it so much. I just do, and even in Ramadan, pretty strict here, I just came from a very fancy bar. "Oh yeah" my friends told me, "it's more than 3 stars, so it should be open in Ramadan".


xqwzts said...

Dimphy: Parking meters in Beirut are only valid from 8:00 to 17:00... if 500LL buys you an hour's parking [i assume? i've yet to need to use the meters] and she got her ticket at 16:06 then it just pushes it to the next morning... which also means theres no point in reselling them unless you can find someone gullible enough.

As for inspiration... at some point Beirut gets to you and the apathy and contempt really kicks in [thats how i see it anyway] a long weekend road trip or camp to the north/south/bekaa is usually a fun way to kickstart things... before the summer is completely gone at least!

Anonymous said...

The new car Theo? It's obnoxiously big. Runs 1L:6Km. How about that for a carbon footprint? As compensation I always walk back & forth to my job, otherwise I'd feel too guilty. And as it is just a weekend vehicle, it makes me feel better.

Raffi said...

As if you're not here with us. You're somewhere else, or something other than Lebanon is occupying your mind.

I thought your return would be quicker, but seems not.

Then again, no matter where you are, I encourage you.

Vacation, it's always great!