Friday, July 28, 2006

Sales, sandwiches & shoe shiners

I've done all the shopping and hording I could possibly do, purchased reserves of toiletpaper, soap, candles, tuna, beans, water, olive oil, even though I never eat at home. They're just there for the emergency that's bound to happen. But when?

I eat shish taouk sandwiches for two days in a row, followed by a double dose of shwarma, and now falafel from Malik Batata (King of Potato). I have trouble keeping my food down when I see that poster on display of the blond vixen with french fies piled on her head, but my options are limited. I wouldn't have gotten myself into this messy habit of a sandwich a day keeps the IAF away, if I'd known this would go on for sooooo long.

Most of the clothing boutiques in Hamra are open, or in the process of running closing sales. Hey Gulf tourists! Yeah, you, the ones who left before the shit even really hit the fan: there's maaaassive sales on. Sure you don't want to come back for a little shopping? I'm sure your respective royal families can broker a ceasefire for the occasion.

Regusto-- a restaurant and bar on Hamra street that I used to frequent-- is finally serving $5 steaks and beer again; but I've become neurotic about the quality of meat, especially when the dogs in my neighborhood don't bark anymore. The shoe-shining boys with their portable koffers are working the streets; men in suits read the paper lifting one foot at a time to be vigorously polished. The remaining Filipino maids are now honorary Lebanese. They shop, they loiter, they chat up a storm. Waste and garbage are piling up; entire streets serve as garbage depots, because Sukleen-- the street cleaning company owned by Hariri-- is short on staff now after the exodus of south-east Asians and Syrian workers. Every other car has 'TV' stuck to the roof and rear window. Surely they can't all be TV journalists. They're trying to cheat death! Well, the IAF knows better. Behind every TV sticker is a soccer mom and her little terror tykes.

I detest this pseudo-normalcy. It is excruciatingly tedious. Probably this entire city is delirious from boredom; fear and anxiety turn to lethargy very quickly. Its not that fear is essentially a drab emotion, no more than glee or happiness perhaps, but one tires of the same sentiment.I'd prefer to watch the Teletubbies, photocopy volumes of blank paper, feed pigeons, fold napkins, polish silverware, than live like this for much longer. Oh, but I do vastly prefer this to random slaughter, ceaseless attacks, evacuation orders under fire, the absence of food and drinking water. Just for the record.

Theories of war, in circulation:

1) Everytime Germany loses to Italy in the World Cup, Israel invades Lebanon (1982, 2006)
2) Israel schedules invasions for the summer, so that students won't be around to protest (1982, 2006)
3) Israel is pounding Lebanese land in the hope of discovering oil
4) Lebanon is an expendable state for all its competing allies, destined for proxy wars, in part due to the opportunism and attention-seeking of its political class
5) Israel wants to cleanse the south of the Shia
6) Hariri wants to re-rebuild the country and will share the spoils with Saudi Arabia and the US

Feel free to expand in the comments...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Israel is pounding lebanese land in the hope of discovering oil"
Very funny!
My first laugh in 3 weeks!
thank you.
Xavier
Sydney