Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 31st, 2009

Ye, Stiff-Necked Levantine (April 2, 2009)

 Note:  I decided to re-post because the opposition is to win the next election

There are millions upon millions of Lebanese in the Diaspora.  Since the civil war in 1975, anyone who could borrow for a plane ticket immigrated.  In the city of Sao Paolo in Brazil there are more Lebanese descendents than all Lebanese citizens.  Many boldly declared that they have cut the bridges and burned the ships, never to return to their homeland, as if infamy was a badge of honor.

This tiny land that was coveted by hundreds of Empires for its milk and honey; this land that exported to the world olive oil, wine, and dried fruit; this land that built cities and created the alphabet; this land that manufactured and roamed the seas and oceans and transacted with every people is reaching bottom.  This land of water and cool sources has no potable water.

International Zionism never relinquished its zeal to bust our doors and sap our energy and determination, even after being defeated twice in less than a decade.

This land that exported highly cultured and educated people is reduced to graduating sectarian, uncouth and poorly cultured new generations that barely can read or write.

We don’t want you to come and talk the talk of the sectarian. We don’t want you to behave the pessimist and defeatist.  We need you to come and walk the walk of the free; to experience the harsh life of the brave, to participate in our miseries, to revolt and to change and reform a tiny Nation that led the world for millennia.  

You in the Diaspora, you might have earned individual successes, medals, honors, or riches but you can never erase a tiny dot of the huge and ugly blotch that scars your forehead.  As long as your homeland is humiliated, shriveled, and under-developed among the nations then this scar will be prominent on your forehead and on your descendents’ because you bare a large part of the responsibility for our degradation and instability.

We need you to bolster the fainthearted who dream ever harder to inflating the rank of the Diaspora.  We need you to come and prevent those hot air arrogant bourgeois from taking away the arms of the steadfast, brave, and resisting patriots.

 

“Ye, stiff-necked Levantine; ye the uncircumcised in heart, ears, and tongue.  My curses are on you and your descendents in the Diaspora to the end of time. Ye, blasphemous Levantine, wizen up; never dare take my curse lightly!”

Nelson Chip: Tagger (February 5, 2009)

 

            I got the idea of this article out of a chapter in the French book “Like a drifting eagled” by the Lebanese author Alexandre Najjar. 

Nelson Chip is a tagger; that is how he describes his profession.  Nelson cannot help it; he always carries a painting “bomb” to tag his graffiti on anything drab, ugly, plain boring; he tags on crumbling walls, graying train carriages, dirty metro subways but never on private properties, telephone booths, private cars, or window shops. Nelson is not a drug addict or a drunkard; he works alone and by night fall; he likes his privacy and solitude. Nelson tags works of art, messages of peace, of hope, expressive words in order to cheer up what he judges to be drab and uninspiring; many gangs try to emulate his artistic calligraphy design by tagging their war names for narcissistic exhibition. 

            Larry Chip is his brother; he also paints.  The ID plaque on his combat uniform states “CDR-Larry Chip-Combat Artist”.  The Navy Art Gallery dispatched Larry to Kuwait during Desert Storm war against Iraq in 1992.  Larry’s job was to draw soldiers and immortalize the G.I.  He then painted over 30 of these portraits for the exhibit in his honor.  During the war, Larry was distinguished and received recognition by painting graffiti on missiles and bomb shells destined for the Iraqi civilians.

            Two brothers, two artists; Nelson is serving jail terms for carrying a painting bomb in his bag; he is charged of “voluntary defacing, degrading, deterioration of public properties and monuments”.  Nelson is no longer permitted shaving foam; he said: “My hands itch when I carry a painting bomb; I have to relieve my idea, to express my revolt; I have then this irrepressible desire to paint”   Larry returned home a War Hero; the famous and glamorous are flocking to watch his artistic “chef d’oeuvre” in Washington, DC.

            Two brothers, two artists “painters”; Nelson’s art are still emulated by the little people to express their frustrated emotions and miserable living.  Larry’s graffiti disintegrated; only the hate mongers are emulating his art: the Zionists painted blasphemous graffiti on missiles and shells targeted to Palestinian babies in Gaza.

San Francisco: Soothing recollections May 31, 2009

The trip to San Francisco from Oklahoma to attend the Human Factors convention lasted almost 3 days and I spent my money on junk food. This is a period I’m still not ready to face much less to write about but I finally came around to tell it. Suffice to admit that I roomed with my adviser in the hotel and that he woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that my snoring was loud.

After the convention was over, I was on the verge of joining the file of the homeless. I stayed at the studio of a referral that I got in Norman for one night in Ashbury Heights. I had later many occasions to walk this famous street during the period when the hippies selected it as headquarter for their movement.

The next morning I was feeling sick because of too much nervous tension. I called my cousin Nassif in Vancouver and all that I got was a reprimand “Adonis, you are always in trouble”. I called Ali who was working in Canada but he had no referrals in San Francisco to stay over. I used an old number of Ali’s in Houston and it seems that this number connect him everywhere he relocates.

I know that I slept one night at an Algerian student who was the manager of the restaurant “Marrakech” that served Moroccan dishes; it was one of the longest nights and the most nerve wracking wait for this Algerian student to show up and pick me up.

It was a cold night and I waited for over three hours sitting on my suitcase wondering if he is ever going to show up. I had nowhere to go and no money for any decent lodging facility.  The next day I slept at a hostel for foreign student visitors for two nights in Downtown San Francisco.

The Algerian student referred me to two Spanish students living in a foggy neighborhood; the fog enveloped this quarter 20 hours a day. I had shelter for a week at the foreign students from Spain and they were very nice.

I managed to be hired in a full-service retirement hotel, for room and board in exchange of 4 hours work a day. The Spanish students could not believe that I landed a job that quickly. I accepted all the overtime I could get in all the departments, until I was offered the job of assistant to the manager three weeks later.  I was fooled by the offer of $1,200 a month which turned out to be less than $900 after all kinds of deductions but I fulfilled my “word” to stay a whole year in that position.

My cousin Patrick visited me once when he was attending a conference in San Francisco for the anesthesiologists. I enjoyed my stay in this lovely city of San Francisco and visited frequently all its parks and waterfronts and beaches, carrying a book with me.

I had also located a nearby covered swimming pool that I patronized three times a week.  I had the opportunity to tour the neighboring towns around San Francisco with co-workers and a French older woman called Michelle that I helped secure a part-time position at the Hotel.  The red headed Michelle carried all her belonging in the trunk of her small beat up car and she invited me on her many excursions out of town.

I saw many famous locations because I was responsible for arranging tours to the elder residents and I was to be part of the trip for supervision purposes.  The City offered a van with a driver and we toured San Francisco once a week and I took pictures and described the tour in the monthly promotional brochure along with the monthly events in the Hotel.

I was caring for elder persons, mostly ladies, but in my state of confusion for my future and frustration in not finding within my spirit of what I loved to do for a job didn’t leave much space in my soul for sincere compassion.  Practically, I cared better than most of the managerial staff because I was new to this environment of human spiritual misery and I was highly respected by the “clients”.

The retirees knew of my higher education but never asked me “why are you working in such an institution with your degree?”; it is as people in the US are accustomed to seeing all kinds of individuals working temporary jobs that turned out to be more permanent than proclaimed.

One elder man of over 80 of age, tall and of powerful constitution, committed suicide a week after his “incarceration” by falling in a stairwell from the eighth floor.  Many of the elder ladies whom I cared for passed away during my job but I was not shaken emotionally, or that what I thought at the time.

I think that I read most of the famous authors who lived in and around San Francisco. I had a Mexican girlfriend. (You may read my post in the addendum to my introspection “Chica Lupita”)

I have toured Marin County, the forest of the highest Red trees, ventured to Monterrey, Big Sur, Little Sur, Carmel, and all the environs.  There was old Jake who was a gambling addict; he used to receive invitations from the casinos for free rooms in Reno.  I joined him twice because he needed company.

I played little and ate a lot; food and drinks were cheap and in abundance, and enjoyed looking at pretty servers too.  We traveled on two occasions as a group in a van belonging to an employee and spent glorious days up north and tasted wine in wine counties and farmhouses.

I recall that I had an interview for a job in statistical analysis and had to board several ferries to reach destination; luckily, I didn’t get the job but it was a good exposure for various transport facilities. All in all, my stay in San Francisco was the loveliest and most enriching experience in the US.

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society and I wanted to attend it. It was a long trip of two days and we passed through Salt Lake City and I visited the temple of the Mormons.

There was snow and the University of Boulder was lovely. During the second day of the convention my advisor failed to show up and I had no copy of my dissertation and I felt frustrated for not being prepared to deliver anything even though I was invited by the chairperson of the session to do it.  I had the opportunity to tour Denver by night and boarded the spacious and large bus that crosses Main Street.

The return trip was long. A week later I was to battle a discrimination case.  There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles; she had no one to testify on her behalf.  The girl was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager. I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.  I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish the whole year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.

I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.  I thus patronized an office on Van Ness Road that was funded by the City and aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.  In one of my posts titled “Are you searching for a job?” I wrote:

“I recall that in 1991 the US was in serious recession during the Bush Sr. Administration and jobs were frighteningly scarce.  I had graduated with a PhD degree in Industrial/Human Factors engineering and missed better periods for hiring academicians.

I was working as assistant to manager at a retirement community in Downtown San Francisco and visited an employment center on Van ness Road. It was a center meant to help you out rewrite your CV for the nth time anytime you wanted to apply for the scarce job announcements posted in the center.

People swarmed this center just to feel busy and serious about searching for a job but not that hot for finding one.  I guess the center was one of the hundreds of facilities with the sole purpose to blaming the citizens for failure to doing their due diligence and compete since no one is about to beg you to work for them.  If you failed to re-write your CV and spent more money on useless stamps per day then you are not making good use of this “valuable” help facility.

This was the period when ridiculous denials were the custom of the land. For example, this custodian at NASA who claims that he is contributing to sending astronauts to the moon; or redefining their jobs as sanitation “engineering”.  I recall that I was forced to accept a job cleaning and vacuuming the main library while working on my dissertation.

I fooled my spirit into believing that as long as I am doing my job perfectly and with excitement then I am learning the value of a job well done, sort as a training period for toughening my character.  A state of denial is not a bad reaction; it is successive states of denials that can be deleterious to your development”.

I was very curious and enjoyed being among crowds; I attended the public events such as Shakespeare in the park, the free open concerts, joined the homosexual yearly celebrations, and the Latinos Days of Independence.  Unfortunately, I was mugged on a wonderful evening 50 feet from my hotel and I was hospitalized.  I never believed that I might be a statistics. Nobody in the hotel heard anything or even noticed what happened when I returned from the hospital.

I refrained from going out for three weeks.  Walking in San Francisco even during the day was no pleasure anymore: there were too many beggars along the streets and they were not a peaceful lot.  I was glad to move to Washington DC for a change but no city compares to San Fran in variety, beauty, and recreational facilities.

I never walked as much as my two years stay in San Fran.  This was a wonderful period when I devoured all kinds of books on a daily basis; I had the pleasure to be acquainted with most of the famous Bay Areas authors from Henry Miller, to John Steinbeck, to Jack London, and the Beatnik movement.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2009
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