16 March 2007

if i were a ghost i wouldn't haunt this place.

Pictures of the snow...

As things turned out, I would have been better curled up in bed watching The West Wing and eating popcorn all day, instead of venturing into the storm. After sliding into a pile of frozen slush on my way out of work, I headed to the gym only to discover that it had closed for the storm, locking me out of a run and a hot shower. In my haste to catch a cab, I butt-slid a few feet down the hill, found a cab, and proceeded home to rediscover why I hadn't showered there since the weekend we moved in. My roommates, in their infinite wisdom, had orchestrated a chili party for the evening, so, given my feelings on beans, I hightailed it out of there to meet Matt and Fleming for dinner. I trudged through the slush, avoided a hit-and-run crossing the road, and stopped at the ATM, where I caught the attention of a shabab and his sidekick.

At first I thought he was just going to mug me, but oh, if wishing made it so. He actually wanted to declare his love for me, repeatedly, so I ignored him and he went back to his friend. Then he came back again, grabbed me, I yelled at him, and he left. I tried to hurry along the road to find a cab, but the boots and the slush weren't conducive to rapid escape. He came back one last time, declared his love, grabbed me again, and attempted to kiss me. Yes, the men in this country are pigs and I'm not going to make excuses for them anymore. In the throes of my disgust and anger, I forgot about the can of mace in my purse that Fleming had given me for just such an occasion, and instead continued to yell at him. I kept waving for a cab as I walked away, but they were all full because of the snow.

Finally, a cab with an older woman and her three daughters, all veiled, stopped and waved me over to share their cab. Veiled women in the Middle East are like nuns in Rome - when the men get creepy, flock to the women of god. As I made conversation with the one next to me in the back, she explained her veil/face covering, implying that if I was wearing it, the shabab wouldn't have been harassing me. (FYI, it was snowing, so I was in a coat, scarf, and hat - not exactly the most scandalous getup. But that's irrelevant - there's nothing a woman can wear or not wear that somehow makes it acceptable for her to be treated as a subhuman piece of meat, and that's the way I'm looked at here). Anyway, she then asked if I was a Christian, which led us into a discussion of why I don't have a religion. I didn't have the Arabic vocabulary or the stamina to explain my disdain for orgainzed faith, so I just said I liked to study all of them. Next, she proceeded to tell me about the beauty of a faith that views me as immoral, violent, sexually deviant, and ignorant, and I contemplated telling her how I really felt, but pretended not to understand her Arabic instead.

She then fed me knaffa, an Arabic dessert I find rather foul, which was just icing on the cake. I switched the conversation to Abdoun, the area of town we were going to, and ended up trying to explain sushi in Arabic, a feat at which I failed spectatularly. I finally got to the restaurant, only to discover that I had also managed to sit in gum during the course of the taxi ride. Yippee. Thanks to pan-Asian, Oreo ice cream, and the company of two of my favorite people, the day ended on a good note, but I am finding myself increasingly hostile to the notion that the sexual repression of this region is somehow just different, and not actually detrimental to social progress.

Moral of the story: in the words of the recently-discovered David Dondero, "If I were a ghost, I wouldn't haunt this place."

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