Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Here is Better.

I love Saturdays. Even more in Summertime. Though I am self-employed and I am passionate about my work, I look forward to Saturdays so I can get to do the things that need you to be in a certain relaxed state of mind: listening to music, reading all those bookmarked articles in your favorite magazines, finishing those last few chapters of the book of the month, doing some design work …
You get the drift, usually the stuff that does not get your adrenaline pumping.

My family, friends and even my ex-wife know that on Saturdays I am not available before lunchtime. I made an agreement with all of them that I would be there for them anytime of the week except on those 4 or 5 hours of a Saturday morning and I begged them if they have to die not to do it during those sacred hours because … they will be on their own.

Since the beginning of the hostilities I pretty much stuck to my routine especially that the bulk of the neighborhood left to the trendy ski-resort town of Faraya and left me quasi alone to enjoy the “peace and quiet” and the abundance of parking spots. So besides the sounds of F-16 rockets falling over the southern suburbs the neighborhood was very quiet making my Saturday morning routine even more enjoyable.

This past Saturday I woke up at 5:00 AM, the Israeli pilots had finished their “nightshift” at around 3:30 AM and gone home to the wife and kids after bombing the living daylights of what is left of the southern suburbs (in “self defense” of course).

The power was on. I flipped my laptop and realized that even the Wi-Fi was receiving an extremely decent signal. Sweet. I prepared what amounts to a full gallon of coffee, hooked my Ipod to the Receiver and had Miles Davis ripping through his rendition of “Summertime” through the neighborhood like an Israeli fighter jet releases its flyers over the city.
I logged on and started opening IE windows like crazy. The whole spectrum of newspapers in the area from Al-Diyyar/Nahar/Safir (1) to Haaretz (2), passing by The NYT, LA Times and the Google News website of several thousand newspapers.

Then at about 8:30 AM I thought I heard my doorbell, but Fairouz’s jazzy Kifak Inta was so loud that the doorbell ring merged through the harmony. Five minutes later, I hear a crisp “knock-knock-knock”. For sure I was not expecting company. So I got a bit worried to tell you the truth. I paused the music and went to the door.

I open and find her! All 142 centimeters of her. She beams that large smile at me and says:
- “Heelo Mister”
- Damiantee, what are you doing here? Didn’t you leave the country already? [Damiantee is my Sri Lankan cleaning lady. She comes by every Wednesday and Saturday to clean the house and do my laundry. I have not seen her since July 12 and assumed that she left]
- No Mister, “Hone” [Here] is better.
- Damiantee I know you don’t watch the news but can’t you hear the bombs? The situation is very bad. You should go back to Sri Lanka for now.
- No, No “Hone Ahsan” [here better].
- Why didn’t you leave with the others?
- Tamil Tigers.
In better times, I am a news junky and would have picked up the reason, but I swear that I heard her say Detroit Tigers and thought to myself: hmmm, I did not know that Damiantee is into Major League Baseball.
I said: chou fi? [what’s going on]
- They are fighting with the government and a lot of people are getting killed. I don’t want to go. “Hone” better.

Somehow I was proud of this woman. She has made the decision that either in her own native country she might die or in Beirut and decided it is better to do it in Beirut!
In my “republic”, she gets the highest Medal of Honor. In my house, she is most definitely getting a raise.

I let her in, put my music back on and go to my laptop.

Two minutes later she comes back horrified.
-Mister, house “bery, bery” dirty.
-Well what do you want, we are at war. Besides, I don’t know where you put the cleaning stuff. [Trying to make her believe that I was gonna clean!!!]

She goes back in and starts her work. I go back to the balcony with a soothing sense that things are slowly getting back to normal.

Stan Getz is now playing “Tonight I shall sleep with a smile on my face.”

(1) Major Lebanese Newspapers
(2) Major Israeli Newspaper

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Save the Eric Dolphy for the moment when those Israeli terrorists slip back home unceremoniously, hopefully to contemplate the moral and political errors they have sought to corrupt others with - our own Prime Minister in the UK, not least.

I was in Beirut last summer, and find it heartbreaking to see the pictures of devastation in the name of Israeli 'self defence'. Beirut was and will be one of the most fantastic cities on earth. I loved the spirit of optimism of the summer of 2005.

Each morning I passed an old man smiling in the sun. Eventually we chatted. He never moved from Beirut, even when the war and bullets left day and night indistinguishable. Proud and resolute, he knew that spirit would overcome almost anything.

If only...

fairy said...

:-) the way u write is very capturing! very nice.

Anonymous said...

Dear brother Ana Min,

Your blog warms my heart. It is so nice to read your humor amongst the chaos over there. You are right on about Bush and his friends. I live in the USA (Wichita, Kansas) and I understand that I am your sister (relative to us all being related spiritually, and physically), somewhere down the line.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for being such a balanced energy over there, for what you do does effect much. Your blogspot was posted on a message board that I frequent at the website www.crimsoncircle.com .

There are many of us around the globe who understand the dualistic nature of what is going on over there. However, know that we allow the divine to occur in order to effect change in the world. I have only compassion and love for you, and for us all in these times of great change. I know that the day is coming when there will be no more war, or killing of my brothers and sisters. When parents will teach their children love of self, and love of humanity.

Blessings of peace to you always,

your sister with love,

Kathleen

Ana Min Beirut said...

Fairy,
coming from you I take that as a great compliment. I read all your blog and fell in love with your writings. Your ability to internalize all what's happening is just mind blowing.
I don't know what can I say to keep your spirits up. Maybe keep reading my blog ! I started it to see if I can still gather the ability to see the funny side, although I feel like someone walking towards the end but still laughing about it. Yet I have this sense of strength that we will prevail. In the end we will prevail, like the generation before us and the one before it ...
We need to keep this country and this city what it is and what it can be ...
Ma Tkhafeh ...khalliki 'Awiyeh ...
kermel Lebnen ...kermel Beirut...

Bikil Mahabeh ....
wahad Min Beirut.

Ana Min Beirut said...

Dear Kathleen,
Your message is very uplifting in these dark days we are living. I decided a long time ago that I will not let war or violence affect me as a human being. I will always use the best weapon against it, a weapon that only humans possess and that is humor and laughter.

I made a promise to myself to always try and look at the funny side of things without being completely insensitive about them.
I thank you for your support and encouraging words and ask for your permission to publish your comments on my blog. I can take out your name if you don't wish it to be published.

Stay safe and keep seeing the funny side ...

Ana Min Beirut.