on older stories, running out of gas, yoga, etc.

Dubai, March 22, 2016

Last year, when I became infatuated with a ginger-bearded bald man, I filled an entire moleskine notebook with my thoughts and feelings and angst and all that you have. I could have written everything on the blog then, but I never did. That's good, because I seem to be compensating, sort of, by doing a lot of that now.

Funnily enough, I stopped writing my diary entries because I had to start writing my dissertation. And in a way, this allowed me to think no more of the ginger-bearded bald man than as a brief encounter long lost to the terrible-dealing hands of fate. A short while on, he somehow turned into a joke between Pippa and I, making us notice bald men and how attractive their bald heads were.

Also, funnily enough, the diary ended with an unfinished story, possibly a story that would have been the funniest/most interesting out of everything I had written in the diary.

It's the one where, on the last day of the Fringe festival, I met the craziest man in Edinburgh. He had red nailpolish on, a scarf tied around his (bald, totally unsexy) head and sunglasses on, and spoke about a hundred words per second. He looked Middle Eastern, so when he found out that I was Arab, he started asking me a thousand questions (your favourite song from Fairuz, your favourite verse by Mahmoud Darwich, etc.) And to my replies, he flurried excitedly, high as he was on whatever he smoked. With sudden jerks, he would say: "Oh I love you!" and meeting me seemed to have had a strong effect on his bizarre brain. He claimed that he had written scripts for plays, movies, TV shows, all of which he was sure that I would have seen, but as he refused to identify himself, there was no way for me to find out who he was. (I'll slip in here that I think he was nobody of particular interest to anyone, least of all me.) He told me about his childhood, about how he burnt the Quran, about how he had created his very own goddesses, all of which left me baffled, at loss for words. All I could do was nod shyly, not knowing whether to sit there and be confused or get up and leave. He then said that he had gotten a PhD in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc, clever creature that he was, and proceeded to emptying all of the contents of his tote bag on the floor, just so he could find a pen and paper to write down the name and number of his 'associate' to give to me. (I was surprised that he had an associate to begin with). He specified that I should call her on thursday, nearly begged me to do so, so he could hire me (to do whatever he did, which, up until this day, I have not figured out.)

There were not enough seconds in a minute to contain the amount of words he uttered, or the speed of his very drugged speech. Pippa and her boyfriend had to come and tell me that they were leaving (meaning that we were all leaving together, minus scarf-headed man) to drag me away from him. He thought that they were leaving alone, and that I was staying with him, and said (to Pippa) not without even more excitement: "If you leave and I never see you again, I will be the happiest man on earth." We had to explain to him that I was going too. Eventually we walked away, and I cannot begin to describe how I felt the minute he disappeared from my sight. Relieved, delirious, odd, perplexed, and really really excited? All of those things. And I kept bringing him up. I couldn't believe the conversation I had just had with him. Later on, we went to see the fireworks marking the end of the Fringe festival, up on Calton Hill. Unsurprisingly, it rained.

That happened on the 31st of August of last year. I don't know why I never finished writing the story in my diary. That was the last thing I wrote in it. And now I'm back on here. I'm glad that the story has come out now. I expect myself to polish it as the days go by, even after I've published the post. Especially if I remember more details.

-- March 23, 2016

I stopped writing yesterday, because of the obvious sleep, tiredness from all the idleness.

Just now, I was sitting downstairs with the kids, as they watched the most bizarre thing on TV. What even is a minecraft? A video game, apparently, with characters made from large pixels, living in a perfectly pixelated world. I think what they were watching was an internet video uploaded by some very mine-crafty (pun! crafty, get it?) users, who seem to have recorded their playing, and have added some silly captions on top. I am very certain that my cousins, absorbed as they were, hardly understood the abbreviated "nvm" and "idk" in the captions. But ah, this has brought me up to the guest room, the room I have been sleeping in for the past few days to finish this post.

Dubai, strangely, is beginning to grow on me. I think it's not just because of the omnipresence of Waitrose stores/products, but because of the fact that life seems so relaxed and calm here. Easy, almost. The opposite of Beirut, really. In all honesty, it seems very tempting to think that I could work and save some money here, so that I could move to my tree-infused cities and get lost in the forests night after night, dream after dream. But I can't bring myself to accept to live in a city with no forests, even temporarily. I am unsure of whether I could live in a city of perpetual cloudiness, a city where the sky is often more hazy than blue. But then, Glasgow was like that. But Glasgow had all the trees.

Yesterday, Waed and I nearly ran out of gas in the middle of the highway. We spent about half an hour, scouting for a gas station. We called my uncle in hysterics and eventually, he helped us locate one. The nice little man at the station found it very very odd that Waed was taking a photo of me with a large delirious smile on my face and two thumbs up by the fuel dispensers. He even asked if we were okay, to which we replied that we were, but that we had just spent a half hour, scared we might get stuck on a highway in the desert with hardly any battery in our phone. The good news is that we made it home safely, with plenty of gas to spare.

I then took the metro to meet my other cousin, who lives here as well. We chatted during the entire afternoon, about heartbreaks, and relationships and then about one's purpose in life and mindfulness. Mindfulness is a good thing if it turns into a habit. I'll admit that I left her house feeling slightly glum. But in the words of the wise Taylor Swift, I shook it off, and when I made it back to my uncle's place, had dinner with the kids and everyone and things seemed to be okay for a while. Waed proposed that we attend a flow yoga class, which we rushed to be at on time (but ended up walking into late anyway.) It is really difficult to put excited kids to bed. Malek demanded a story and I obliged. I read to him 'I want my hat back' then just sat there and watched him fidget and turn endlessly, struggling to fall asleep. I tried to remember the hour at which Moustafa and I used to go to bed nearly fifteen years ago, when we were ten and twelve years old. I recall us going to bed really late and never wanting to get up in the morning, and then being driven to school by a very angry and agitated mum, and arriving to class at the last minute, despite living a mere ten minutes away from school.

Yoga felt good, except I could hardly understand what the Philippina lady was saying, in terms of yoga poses. She spoke so fast, and I know I can't do fast, especially with yoga, which I have only just begun to do. The exercises were tough, and lying on my back was also painful because of a sunburnt skin, courtesy of my two hours at the beach two days ago. At the end of the session, I decided that the lady knew everything there was to know about yoga (which she did, but she was not a doctor). I proceeded to asking her about my neck pain repeating that 'it was very very painful' about twice or thrice. She seemed exasperated and I felt stupid. But anyway.

(All of that was yesterday.)

As for today, it was good. Another trip, to another mall. And then, lunch with Waed and my uncle at the DIFC, a fancy hangout for businessmen laden with restaurants. When we returned home, we organised the kids' colouring pencils sharpening the broken pencils then placing them inside a neat plexiglass box. The activity was therapeutic. I seem to have drifted so far off from life, into the realm of kids and schools and colouring pencils and backpacks, etc. It is a strange world to go back to, albeit temporarily.

I am going to end this post here. For no reason at all, except that I have just washed my (smelly, I think) armpits and I am getting hot. 


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