I have always been fascinated by the human brain. My fascination keeps growing as medicine keeps unveiling the secret workings of this mysterious organ.
To me, the single most mystical aspect of the brain is that, we, as a human specie have gotten around to using only 10% of our brain capacity. Imagine !!! only 10% and look at all the amazing doings the human race has achieved: computer technology, worldwide communication systems, space exploration, amazing music, art, poetry, architecture … and yet sometimes I think that we as a specie haven’t come around to using a single 1% of our brain potential: look at global warming, our inability to solve conflicts unless we kill each other, voting George W. Bush to Office …twice!!!
Why am I telling you all this? Well because yesterday I had a very weird dream and I’ve woken up this morning and was fascinated (yet again) at how human brains process and store information over chronological periods of one’s life.
This whole saga started during the Holidays festivities. One night, I was having dinner with a couple of friends in a restaurant in Gemmayzeh (1). I saw a group of people wearing white T-shirts doing the rounds of restaurants in the area. A group of 3 or 4 walked into the place where we were dining and one of them came straight to our table. She was wearing a T-shirt over her regular clothes that says: “Free Hugs”.
She politely asked me: “Would you care for a Hug? We are spreading the love”. I stood up and told her: “spread away, my friend” and we gave each other a hug.
Now as I sat back to my table I found this to be very weird. I mean come on, we live in a Mediterranean/middle-eastern society so closely knit that sometimes you feel choking on all the “cousins and relatives” you have. Believe me, I CAN feel the love, no need for you to remind me. Besides, we are in the midst of Christmas/New Years Holidays and in a religiously mixed society Adha(2) feast coincided on New Years’ Eve. So believe me I had to bear with a lot of kisses and hugs from relatives I haven’t seen since the 1860 civil war. And to top it all off, I think that some of our relatives wait impatiently for the holidays season to “unleash” all their sexual frustrations on my poor cheeks in the form of hugs and kisses. One of my aunts still “bites my cheeks” every time she sees me and good luck telling her that I am 36 now aunty and not 9 but to no avail. I got so angry at that one time that I told my mom to tame her otherwise if she is biting me again I am going to squash her a tit!!!
Now back to my dream. The above was one aspect of how the dream came about and the second aspect took me back to my years at the engineering school. My freshman year of college, university regulations had it that all freshman students have to stay on-campus. The university I attended was trying a new concept of housing called Quads.
It was a four stories house and each floor had 4 or 5 rooms shared by 2 roommates. The quad had a common recreation area where all quad residents met at night. One of the residents was an African American football player named Billy. He was a six foot six, 300 something pounds fellow from “Bama Bama Alabama” who didn’t say much, kept to himself, and you knew it was Thursday when you would see Billy coming into the house carrying 7 cases of 24 oz. cans of Budweiser beer to carry him through the weekend.
Thank God Billy recycled because I am sure, judging by his beer consumption he would deplete the planet’s aluminum supply all by himself.
Frankly I was afraid of Billy. My Lebanese civil war experience and my inner gut feeling always told me to stay away from the “big fella”. Although I am sure he was a harmless dude.
Now to put one and one together, I watched the superbowl with a couple of friends last Sunday. I enjoy American football very much.
A few days go by and then my brain decides to “unravel” the following scenario on me last night:
I am only wearing boxer shorts, carrying an American football and dashing through the main Gemmayzeh street at 3 in the morning. Behind me, is Billy sprinting to catch me wearing nothing but a white T-shirt which says: “Free Fucks”.
(1) A Hustling and Bustling street in Beirut of Posh restaurants and pubs.
(2) A major Muslim holiday.