the miserable mister cotton candy

Today, and in commemoration of the end of yet another Sunday, I would like to tell you the story of one very familiar real-life character that I am certain we have all encountered on the road. 

On a Sunday. Specifically.

Do you remember those long Sundays back when you [I say you, but I could very well be talking about myself only] were young, and were trapped in the car with your parents, to go to these restaurants in the wild, where you sat on plastic chairs and tables, and ate grilled fish, meat or kafta [that tasted like burnt coal more than anything else]? Those outings where, once the meal was over, the adults talked around the table about the most dreary of subjects while your either nagged your boredom and got neglected, or had no other choice but to play with kids, who were available back then, but who your never ever spoke to ever again? [Kind of like some* of the people you meet on a four-hour airplane ride.]

Yes, if you do remember all of that, then congratulations, you may proceed to the next level!


But it’s true. At least for me. This is how many of my childhood Sundays were spent.
And the memories I keep of them are wildly imprinted with the long road trips that preceded reaching these places. And who I used to see during these road trips**. 

Open windows in a small car, wind gushing inside, and my grandmother screaming: “Look! Look teta! We’re getting closer to him! Get ready to say hello! Yalla, now! Do you see him? Say hello!”

"Where? I don't see!" I can still hear myself say it. 

Santa, on the road to the mountains. [Sometimes he was simply, The Clown.] And he had cotton candy.

Yes, yes! I was [as my brother was] ready and desperate to say hello! I wanted him to see me waving at him. [Why, though? I don’t know. It doesn’t make much sense to me now.] Go on, Sarah, wave! Wave your hand!  Hurry, before the car drives off. But the car would always drive off, swifter than the moon’s sphere***, swifter than I had the chance to see or wave at anything or anybody. And I would sit back and feel dejected.

He was Santa some days, and he was the Clown on others. But he was always there. And he still is, I think, on the road you take to go to Aley, Bhamdoune, Zahleh and Baalbeck, [and to many other places too.]

He was a source of joy for us. The reason for our excitement, our thrill. My brother and I looked forward to meeting him. This pathetic human being, who had nothing to do with the real Santa [yes, because Santa is real] and nothing to do with a Clown [whose joy can always be regarded with skepticism, {take the Joker, for example}].

That man we jumped out of our seats and got out of our way to say hi to, in the car was in fact the saddest of all creatures. Wearing heavy costumes in the heat of summertime, costumes that suddenly became too thin in the cold of wintertime, he needed this job to keep his family at home warm, to keep it well fed [and well here is an overstatement.] He was merely a man in a costume, melting away under the sun [or freezing with cold] on the highway to sell [reproachable and suspicious] cotton candy to Lebanese kids. Just so he could survive. And so his kids or younger brother and sister would, too.

It beats me to realize how much one's misfortune can bring joy to other, albeit naive, ones.

So this post, is a tribute to him, them, whoever stands at the corner of the road, on the side of a highway or on a sidewalk in whatever weather, wearing the most absurd of costumes [ranging from the regular clown costume, to that of the pink teddy bear], just trying to find a way to make a living, because I truly respect them, and the times I looked on so eagerly, wanting only to wave at them.

That's it for sunday.

Let us all be good to these costumes, and a good night they all shall have. And you shall, too.

*I say "some" because I once met a very good friend of mine on the airplane, I friend I never lost contact with.
**I say road trips; what I actually mean are long, tiresome drives, which later on, transformed into drives to reach Jdita, the one other place I left too much of my childhood at. But that's another story, for another day.
***Shakespeare, A midsummer night's dream. No reason for this sentence to appear here. It didn't make much sense in its real context, it's not supposed to make sense here, either. I was writing "swifter" and it just completed itself all by itself. 

ps: Excuse my reticence these past days. No book or movie were posted about, but I had a very hectic week. You'll get these posts [that you could not care less about] soon.


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