Diaries of an Indignant Lebanese — part 2

Friday, August 13, 2021

8:45

I had three minutes of electricity around 7 AM. And then back to nothing.

Still nothing.

If it’s anything like yesterday, “nothing” will stay until 12:00 PM. I have a meeting at 10:00 AM… The optimism! Some never learn, right?

10:08

The optimism of a Lebanese living in the unknown. Would today’s unknown be in favor of productivity?

A question only answered by the generator guy, the Electricité du Liban — or what’s left of it.

12:22

Just called two coffee shops to ask if (1) they have electricity and (2) their internet connection doesn’t go on and off like Christmas lights. The manager of one of the coffee shops made an irresistible offer: the air conditioning on top of the electricity and the internet. He knows his priorities. I answered “sold” on the phone. I am going there in a bit.

14:33

I am at the coffee shop. A woman is criticizing another woman for not cooking for her kids. The mother’s mother and their mother-in-law do not escape the blame. How could they let the “domestique” do the cooking? And the deliveries? Everything is a “delivery, delivery, delivery.”

The owner of the café is here, sitting with a friend. It has been one year and nine days since the Beirut port explosion. He’s still telling the story of how he was thrown by the blow, of how he risked a deadly injury. He’s fully vaccinated now with the much wanted Pfizer vaccine and everybody in the café now knows that.

I have no idea how the others are working, reading, focusing. I guess challenges never really let go of us.

Tesla, Edison, Tim Berners-Lee, and Willis Carrier are happily dancing in the café. Life is good. I will try to slide into my focus as the young man on my left eats his chicken salad and the old man on my right reads his second journal, sipping a glass of white wine that is no longer cold.

15:15

Drowning in the smell of chicken aioli (the sandwich — the salad is over). Don’t send help.

Cool turns to cold; the scarf turns to a shawl. I repeat, do not send help.

Chicken aioli just sneezed. The nomad life is dangerous. Send help.

18:15

Two power shutdowns of a few UPS beeps each. Not enough for a picture as proof.

19:25

*Sends picture as proof*

21:07

I escaped two roadblocks. The first, circumvented thanks to an officer who was reorienting traffic. The second, because I chose not to wait patiently until the gods open the gates to home — or the portal to hell—, navigated through unknown streets, twirled, swiveled, pivoted, changed trajectories, followed the cars, ignored the street signs that said “No entry”, at last found a glimmer of hope in a familiar bridge on a horizon of dim concrete, and arrived back home.

Driving in opposite direction? I reached dangerous levels of carelessness…

21:12

*Sends picture of an Aperol Spritz mistaken for a sangria*

21:21

Power cut as I was washing the veggies. Finished in the dark. I think I am a bat, I must have an echo locator.

21:25

I think the generator guy is done for the day. Must have been tiring hours, running all those machines, with his sheer willpower supplanting the fuel oil that was lost in unknown streets, twirling, swiveling, pivoting, changing trajectories, following orders beyond borders.

Sleeping in the dark tonight, life upside down. Wait… I AM A BAT!

21:32

*Sends a black background*

This is not a black background. This is the dining room. Welcome to my cave.

This is based on an actual conversation with a friend in France.