on traffic jams.
I am trying to think of a witty opening to this blog post.
We move on.
Saturdays and Sundays during summer have established themselves as the ultimate mountain adventure. (If you can't sense the irony in my statement, then I'm in serious loss of credibility)
Mountain (in the dictionary of my sweet family) does not equal adventure. It equals boredom, a little calm and relaxation, mosquitoes, exceeding my 3G quota in less than half an hour in addition to lots of gossip-infused late nights with (other members of our) family.
At least the weather is an upgrade to the hell hole that continues to slowly swallow Beirut.
Well the end of another weekend has just nudged us a few days closer to the end of the year. And as for every end of a weekend, there we were, packing our thousand and one suitcase, and driving destination Beirut.
Here's how things went:
We packed and drove, hoping to arrive home within 25 minutes.
25 minutes after our initial departure, after the camouflaged singing in the car, the peeking at the cotton candy-laden clowns, the starry-eyed gazing at the pink sunset in between the buildings and the trees, and the addition of a few more lanes all going to Beirut (when you know that the road can only take two lanes of cars at once, you'll understand the comment)... cars began to slow down, reaching a point where they stopped altogether.
Now, traffic jams are common in this part of the world (in any part of the world really). One minute we were driving in peace (pun very much intended), and the next we were stopping (almost dead in our tracks).
Nobody could move forward anymore, nobody could go through. And here we were, turning off our cars.
At first, it was fun. I tried to snap that much drooled-over picture of the sunset for a quick instagram. (Dull picture did not make the cut.)
Then I put my resourcefulness to good use, taking out my Salman Rushdie book to read, but fearing the honks that would make themselves heard in the event that the car in front of me moved forth without my noticing it. So I spent a full five minutes alternating my eyes between reading one sentence and looking up to make sure that we were still in the freeze position.
(I'm going to need to reread those two paragraphs.)
Then the socializing began. People got out of their cars, they began to walk around, their phones glued to their ears, informing their relatives of this unfortunate happening, or hoping to hear the tiniest bit of information. Some said this. Others said that. We had no idea what was happening. The road was blocked and that was all we knew. Nobody was allowed through, including those who decided to outsmart the vans that were transporting them, and the rest of us cars, choosing to walk to destination.
When the freeze period stretched, some decided to elude, by driving in the opposite direction (in other words, the direction that takes us to the mountains), also aiming to outsmart us losers in the cars.
Too bad for them, because they missed out on quite a fun show. Yes, a show. Because really, what do you do, when you're young and you're wild, and you can't reach your destination because you live in a dangerous country, where, yes, maybe, there was this car they suspected was carrying something close to a bomb and they were quite possibly dismantling said bomb (or simply interrogating the driver for a really long time)?
You dance. You put on some loud music, and dance. I did not do it of course, but the young, the wild and the restless could not help themselves. And so, in the middle of the highway, where cars were all parked around, awaiting freedom, some people turned up the music and improvised a dabkeh festival!
All took place under my watchful this-is-so-gonna-go-into-my-blog eyes. (It's probably worth mentioning that I attempted to publish a facebook status to document my disbelief at what was happening, but I seem to have been too nervous/excited, because my status turned out to be nonsensical, and went straight to the only-me exhibition space).
At last, we were set free. People packed themselves into their cars/mode of transportation and drove to wherever they were going.
As for me? I got quite the show. I mean, we were worried, obviously. My mom, a few cars away was calling me every second, to make sure I was doing okay, and "to munch on some grapes or an apple if I got bored". And my brother, from the safe haven of his internet-and-AC-equipped location, facebook-messaged me serious cogitations on the situation in the country and obvious conclusions as to why we had stopped.
But an hour and a half of a mountain adventure I did get. And then it was back home that we went.
At last. My love has come along, my lonely days are over.
(Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
ps: did you notice how I've only ever written one "thursday book" post? Pity.
pps: this was happening, while New York fashion week is in full swing! I'm a blogger! I want to watch the shows front row too, not some dabkeh festival! Bahaha.