Welcome to My Lebanese Dream
When all is far, and all is empty, I set sail and dock on a familiar shore, somewhere in my imagination
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
In Memoriam: Space Shuttle Challenger
Twenty years and one day ago, Space Shuttle Challenger and its seven-member crew painted a white cloud over the blue floridian sky of Cape Canaveral. They weren't the first nor the last to die in pursuit of their dream. A dream that started thousands of years ago, when Man lifted his head and started gazing at the stars, looking for meaning in a world ridden by uncertainty and fear. Thousands of years have passed and thousands probably will, and we'll still be looking, maybe through quantum telescopes, in quantum energy-powered space ships, sailing at near the speed of light, while billions of stars and answers to our age-old questions- why we're here, how we came to existence, what is to become of us- rapidly and ironically race away from our grasp.
This, I'm afraid, is our destiny, as is the realization that we will never live with it, and accept.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Jon My Brother
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I finally got the good word about what is to become of me this coming July. God knows it was a long time coming. But it most certainly was worth the wait.
Here's to all your dreams comimg true, folks.
And to many dreams anew.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Snow in Nashville
Nashville's snow storm arrived about a week ago on a Tuesday night and departed on Wednesday morning, after it miraculously sugarcoated the urban landscape with an alarming half-inch of immaculately brittle snow.
In and around Nashville, that's enough to close all schools for at least a day, and wreak havoc among drivers and their unequipped driving machines.
A full inch and poor Davidson county would have been declared a disaster struck area.
Anyway, it was quite enjoyable to indulge in a justifiably late drive to work, while catching a few glimpses of a rare and enthralling sight, before it slowly melted away into memory.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Forty Days Ago, Gebran
His life was stolen. His words remain.
But what good are words if no one cares, and no one dares to listen.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The Retold Story of Y
I don't know if any of you remembers the story of Y. Six months have passed since Y set foot on american soil and covered his back with the rugged and dark cloak of loneliness and exile.
When he first came, he wanted nothing of America but the science and the skill, nothing of its dull and soulless life but the hand that kept pulling him and his memory back to his shaky balcony, the dried up tree behind his half-century old house and the brown humid sand of his childhood playground.
Yesterday, he was back in Nashville after spending ten days in a tormented, grief-stricken land. And for the first time in his life, the sacrilegious thought of living and working in America found itself a small nest in a dark corner of his mind.
"The air was thick with despair, Fouad. People have lost hope. Lebanon is in deep deep mourning. It was different when I left for the first time. My mother had me swear on the holy book that I would immediately come back after a year and a half. This time, she told me to stay in the states if I thought it would guarantee me a better career. That's my mother, who would do anything to have me by her side. I just don't know what to think or how to feel ya Fouad. I do love Lebanon. I will still love Lebanon in spite of everything a thousand times more than anywhere else in the world. But after what I've seen, it might just be better for me not to go back. At least for now."
I wanted to tell Y to stop the nonsense, to stick to his guns, the ones he held when he first unearthed the map to the new world, when he saw the sad truth behind the hollow and utterly meaningless american dream, when he fell more in love with his country than he ever did taking a huge leep away from its borders and its soil.
I wanted to. But I couldn't. In front of me was a man in love with a grain of sand, a cup of dark coffee, a strong handshake, a proud villager on a mountaintop, a thousand year old cedar, an off-shore fotress, and thousands of years of running after a dream that keeps slipping away, and away and away, just like it's supposed to. In front of me was a man in love, painfully opening his eyes to reality.
I could not tell him to close back his eyes only because I refuse to open mine. It would not be fair to drag him down a path of almost inevitable defeat.
Still, on the far-thrown path to my lebanese dream, the same dream Y is probably going to let go of, I choose to follow and abide. Because without it I won't be who I truly am, and to that, I might as well stick a knife in my chest and disappear.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
Sunday, January 15, 2006
NPR Weather Report:
"Today is going to be partly cloudy with a low in the mid 30's and a high in the upper 40's. It's 53 degrees at 8:45"
What can I say. Meteorology is not an exact science.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
I am not a man of too many words.
I can sit and listen to you for hours without feeling the itch to speak. Kinda like a tree or a wall. Or an old psychiatrist. It's not that I am a tree. I do talk, mostly enough to make people aware of my presence and that I am actually breathing and alive. Yes alive. Because I don't move too much either. But that's another story.
So I'm not a man of too many words. Yet sometimes, just sometimes, something happens, planets misalign, winds blow northwest and southeast at the same time, fish start swimming upstream, and I, man of not too many words, start talking.
Not just talking, but talking like there's no tomorrow like I just miraculously discovered the gift of speech like I had spent my life memorizing all the books in the Library of Congress and it was time to share like there was a big crack in the Great Dam of Silence and the whole world was about to get flooded for forty days and forty nights with umm.. let's say unnecessary information. In short, talking kinda like what you just read.
So I taaaalk and taaaalk and then I stop when I realize, well into my enlightening discourse, that the poor soul I was talking to had been gone for some time, not because they weren't interested, well probably that, but also because they had a life to live and goals to pursue that didn't involve my largely unsollicited tangential soliloquy.
What's also interesting is that they usually leave without notice, my victims, not meaning to interrupt maybe, or perturb the depth of my thought, but probably just grabbing the first opportunity to run. Sometimes I'd be looking at them while talking to them, and I see them simply turn around and walk away! I don't know about you, but to me, this "I got distracted and wandered away" strategy is just inconsiderate and rude. So I'm lengthy, irrelevant, and boring. But don't just leave me hanging like a demented old lady! it hurts!
Anyway, as you might have guessed, I usually talk to adults, since I pretend to be an adult myself. And granted, adults are restless and busy. I mean they have things going on in their lives all the time that don't necessarily involve me. But what about kids! Kids are different, no? they are free spirits. They have time and patience and imagination! They should embrace me with open arms!
Yesterday, to my bitter dismay, I realized they were no different, children, the human subspecies I identified with and thought I'd be understood by the most.
This is what happened. And please, whoever you are, keep the details of this story to yourselves. I won't be able to handle another dose of emotional devastation, disenchantment and humiliation before long.
Carrie, our neuropathologist's five-year-old daughter was in the neuropath office waiting for her dad to finish work so that they can both go home and have a yummy dinner. I was there too, in my sub-office, minding my business, reading my textbook and working on my slides.
It was getting close to 6 pm and daddy had to leave the office for 10 minutes, so he asked me to keep an eye on cute little Carrie, so I did. But I also felt the need to make conversation and entertain the little doll. And I did that too. Little did I know. The little monster. Here's the conversation that ensued.
Me- What's your name?
Carrie- I don't want to tell youuu
Me- Oh then I guess you don't have a name!
Carrie- Yes I DO!
Me- It's sad to not have a name. People can't call you to give you candy...
Carrie- But I have a naaame. You have candy?
Me- Maybe (No). So what is your name then?
Me- Ok if you don't tell me your name, I won't tell you mine.
Carrie- Carriiiie (playing with her parents' umbrellas)
Me- Carrie! That's a beautiful name! Do you carry it with you everywhere? (hehe)
Carrie- (Looks at me funny while still playing with the umbrellas)
Me- You like umbrellas?
Me- These are BIG umbrellas, bigger than you.
Carrie- No they're not!
Me- Uhu. They are. See the yellow umbrella is taller than you and the blue umbrella is wider than you. Do you sleep inside the umbrella? Is this your house?
Me- You could if you wanted to, you know.
Carrie- But I don't fit inside!
Me- Sure you do! Once you go in you will see a BIG house with a BIG bed and fluffy sheets and candy!
Carrie- (Again, looks at me funny)
Me- Do you know Alice in Wonderland?
Carrie- (she shakes her head as in No)
Me- You don't know Alice in Wonderland? It's a great children's story. Well if you haven't yet you will. Alice is a little girl who went with a rabbit down a rabbit hole and saw a wonderful magical land called wonderland and while she was there she met the caterpillar and the cheshire cat and she ate the ca..
Me- Goodbye? you.. you don't want to listen to the story?
Carrie- Noooo! Goodbye!
It felt like she was saying "You're boring. Shut up. Go away. No I'll go. Loser"
She waved at me and went inside her dad's office. Her daddy wasn't back yet, as if you hadn't already guessed. That's what you get for being nice and informative.
The mean little barbie doll brat.
It took her father fifteen minutes to come back. I didn't tell him what had happened because I didn't want him to be too hard on her. Because I knew he would understand.
In the meantime, on that friday the 13th's dark and stormy night, I buried my face in a boring neuropathology book while I pondered the meaning and purpose of literature, art, science, history, society, happiness, and life.