I had one of my finer moments today. In Rue Jeanne d’Arc, West-Beirut. I guess now I will have to avoid this street for several months to come.
But this time I blame it on you, the Lebanese.
What is it with you people? Why do you accept treatment like this? Why do you allow yourselves to get shoved around like that? Why don’t you know your rights, and claim them? You’re normally an assertive people, so why is it always that I have to be the bitch in order to claim something that you all should be doing? Need some explanation? Here it goes.
I have to go and buy some flowers for a friend. I am in the car and I pass by Jeanne d’Arc street (known for its large number of flower and plant shops). It is rush hour, so it is difficult to find a parking. And indeed, most parking spots are taken, except for one that has these orange pillars on it, the kind you use when you’re working on the road.
There are some cars in front in me that obviously are also looking for a spot. They try to turn into that public parking spot with the orange pillars, but they are being turned away by a gentleman in a yellow plastic gillet.
When I get near that spot, I roll down my window, and ask, “I’d like to park here, what’s the problem.”
“Oh, this is for the restaurant.”
“This place is reserved for the restaurant.”
Oh really? Well, it has one of those digital parking machines right next to it, so I sincerely doubt it. A restaurant is now claiming public parking spots, for which you have to pay, as their own? A public parking spot, on a public road? I don’t think so.
“Well, remove them please, because I need to park here, and it is a public spot.”
“No, I cannot do that.”
“Yes, you must. This is not your parking. It is a public road. You cannot claim public road as your own. Move.”
“The owner has a permit.”
Now really? Does he? We’ll see about that. I run over the orange pillars, and barge into the restaurant.
“Who’s the manager?”
“ I am.”
“You claim public parking as your own?”
“It is after four, I can do that.”
“You can do no such thing.”
“Maybe I have a license.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Whatever you say Madam.”
You bet your sorry ass it is whatever I say.
By this time, all his clientele is turning around to see what foreign bitch is making such a ruckus.
But what really gets me is that several cars in front of me all tried to park there, and each one of them accepted to be send away by some silly guy in a plastic orange jacket with the incredible claim that this is ‘his’ private spot, while you all know very well it is on a public road.
When I walk back, the valet guy says indignantly, “You could just have asked me nicely.”
Come again? I have to ask you nicely? Nicely? I have to ask a valet guy ‘nicely’ if I please can park in a public parking spot? It’s a good thing I’m not a black belt, because he’d be picking up his teeth all over the place.
But why do you Lebanese do that? Why do you let yourself be treated like that? Don’t you know the law? This is a public road. You cannot just ‘claim’ a public road as being your own for whatever purpose. Yet three cars in front of me all accepted that absolute ridiculous argument.
Of course, I’m the one complaining about it, so who gets the blame? Yep. The stupid foreigner.
Same thing happened last week in the ski lift. Most people line up reasonably well. There is some showing and pushing, but overall it is a very decent affair. Until last week. There was this one older gentleman – someone who should really know better - who really pushed ever possible button there is to push. He shoved, he pushed, he wiggled, he jabbed, and he’s so bad that he almost make me fall out of the line, and separates me from my daughter. And this is not a young man either, this is a (seemingly) respectable gentleman in his fifties. Expensive outfit, fancy sun glasses, clean shaven, sharp hair cut. Everyone gets pushed out of line, and he keeps shoving and wiggling.
“Excuse me sir, maybe it is better if you step on top of me, because somehow I see no way around me. So go ahead.”
“No, I’m fine,”
“No, you’re not, because you’re totally shoving me away, so if you could move backwards, I can stand up straight again.”
I get this dumb look, a bit of a sheepish smile. He tries to look the other way as if he hasn’t heard me. That is all right by me, pretending you don’t hear me, because I’ll just speak a little louder then.
“SIR, YOU ARE KIND OF PUSHING ME OVER, MAYBE YOU COULD JUST WAIT YOUR TURN AND THEN I WOULDN’T HAVE TO FALL OVER.”
At that point in time, other people in line agree. “Welcome to Lebanon, this is how they are here,” says a young man. A woman with child adds: “This is how they always do it here, it is terrible. Like a zoo. No discipline.” Other people nod in unison.
What do you mean; this is how they are here? This is not at all how most people here are. Only some people are like this. So say something! Get this old fart back in line, push him away, take some action. But no, everyone gets shoved and pushed around, and they shut up.
As always, I’m the only bitch in line.
Oh Lebanese from all corners of the country, please unite and claim your rights, don’t just mope around like meek sheep. Well, I guess I’m done with my diatribe. Got it out of my system again. You may now leave some nasty comment of how uptight I am. I'm keeping track of all your IP addresses.