Friday, December 25, 2009

Suddenly and Effortlessly Festive Beirut

All of a sudden, and without prior notice, all stop signs are red, all tail lights are red, all traffic lights are red, green, and yellow, there's red all over my Croton, under the leaves of my African violets, on the telephone directory, on the Murano glass clock, on the signs of gas stations, on the fingernails of dainty girls, on the license plates of taxi cabs, on the squiggly lines under misspelled words, and somewhere on the clothes of every other person walking the streets of Beirut.

As for me, the wine on my lips is red, my cheeks are red, my eyes are red too, not from the wine, from walking around Hamra street on Christmas trying not to think of you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Angus Burger Spirit

San Antonio Airport.

I'm struggling at a MacDonald's cash register to find in the mess of my two bags, coat and many pockets, the one dime I need to close my bill. The young mexican employee at the register tells me not to worry about it and hands me my drink and receipt. I'm a little surprised, but thank her and settle down. "212!" quickly announces the arrival of my Deluxe Angus Burger, snugly wrapped and eagerly waiting to be devoured.

Ten minutes later, with a hint of mayonnaise on my whiskers and a faint scent of onions on my hands, I approach the cash register where the Mexican girl is standing and extend my right arm to her. Thank you for you generosity, I mumble. Happy holidays. Her face lights up. Thank you! she squeals as she tugs on the 20 dollar bill from between my fingers. I release the cash, turn around, get my coat and bags and walk towards the gate.

Gate 7, San Antonio Airport. Christmas carols are playing over my head. A fausse-blonde is sitting in front of me staring at her laptop and listening to her iPod while a huge grin is diametrically distending her cheeks. People are chatting and watching a football game. Children are playing and making a mess. And I'm sitting there watching and savoring the leftover taste of a satisfying meal.

Boy that was an expensive burger, I thought to myself smiling. Next time I should remember to keep all my coins in one place.