Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 27th, 2011

Free!  Working 12 hours a day: Not Earning a dime

Estimates are that over 3 billion people are surviving on less than$2 a day.  So far, I have been living with not a dime in my pocket for an entire year. I work 12 hours a day and not earning a dime; with a twist:  I am “enjoying ” free board and lodging by an implicit contract drawn by me.

I lived for 20 years in the USA and received the highest academic diplomas, and worked on most minimum wage jobs, before and after graduation:  I had to survive in a society where I had no community support for proper introduction and references.  

I returned to Lebanon in 2000, before the 9/11/2001 attack on the Twin Towers, and felt glad to be away from a climate where “Arab”-looking individuals were subjugated to many kinds of humiliations, indignities, and increased covert restrictions and discrimination.

I have been living with my elderly parents ever since.  It is a gradual process:  They were old but still functional.  I could go on with a normal life-style and not having to deal with daily chores, like house maintenance, cleaning, vacuuming, washing dishes…

It was a gradual process:  My folks got steadily older as I felt I was getting there too.  Gradually but steadily, I had to come to the rescue:  First, you are asked to handle physical tasks that the folks can no longer do; then, the varieties of tasks increase into other kinds of skills and capabilities.

It is not just a matter of cleaning once room.  Actually, since I arrived from the USA, I fought off my mother from rearranging my room, closets, washing the curtains, re-hanging curtains, getting accustomed to the newer locations of my personal belonging…

I had volunteered to wash the dishes but was kicked out of the kitchen…I was relegated to driving my folks around, visiting relatives, health check-ups, buying a dozen of medicines, paying the bills of the phone (no modern facilities to sending checks)…

I had to take care of a garden, plowing, planting, gathering, watering (no water in the 7-month dry season and we have to purchase truckloads of water…)  

I ended up taking care of the chicken, a number that grew to over a hundred, buy chicken feed, vitamins, medicines for the chicken, bartering eggs for meat and other stuff, collect dead chickens (mauled and eaten by other chicken, rats… ), wear special clothes in the downpours and stepping in mud, dirt, just to satisfy the well-being of chicken… 

The funny part is when I decided to sell all the fowls and was surprised to facing an uprising on my hands:  They wanted the fowls around.  No one would even contribute to the expense of the ever costly feed or even help feeding and cleaning the chicken “quarters”.

It is not just a matter of cleaning once room. I ended up feeding the cats, the dogs, search the supermarkets for leftover meat for the animals (they are not even house pets).  The vegetarian members of the extended family refuse to bring in leftover meat for the pets and refuse to take care feeding the pets…

It is not just a matter of cleaning once room.  Mother’s arthritis ailments worsened and I had to hang cloths to dry, wash dishes, mop the floors, vacuum the carpets, cut tough vegetables, press the lemon…

It is not just a matter of cleaning once room.  It is no longer carrying the gas “bonbons” for cooking, the filtered water Jeri cans, climbing ladders to fetch objects…  I am the household care taker, but mother insists on cooking and doing a few chores when she feels a little better in the morning:  She feels worse when she does not contribute in the house work:  She has got to work, like men have to leave the house to “work” and be out of the “skirts”.

Personally engaging in the daily chores gives the correct perspective to what living is:  Washing the dishes, mopping the floor, doing laundry, tending the garden…Running away to work as excuse to avoiding doing house chores, and learning what it takes to get life going is a sure sign of unhappiness and non satisfaction, later on in life.

How can we appreciate life and improve our potentials if we refuse to face life’s exigencies of constant maintenance every day?  We are necessarily meditating as we participate in daily chores: a reminder for humility and missed potentials.

I disagree with regimentation for meditation of apprentices in temples.  They wake up early morning before sun rises.  Before breakfast, they clean completely their residence:  They tidy and dust rooms, hallway and garden, and even mop the floor,  everyday no matter what.  They take time to do these chores casually, serenely, not in a hurry.

They cook breakfast for everybody and  completely clean the kitchen before they start meditation, study and excise. Of course afternoon is similar.  They don’t drink alcohol, caffeine, or smoke cigarettes.  They are supposedly doing only things good for their minds.  They follow strictly their daily schedule for many years in order to taming “each negative egos” to get permission to advancing to next levels? I don’t know.

I agree that to do everyday basic daily tasks (clean-up…) is very important to cleansing our minds each day. Each day the mind is refreshed by the action of cleaning and cleansing.  I cannot agree that the purpose of living is simply doing the daily chores:  We have natural rights to enjoy life; we have natural passions that need to be satisfied.

The hell with regimentation if it must enslave me for years in order to satisfy the “master’s” view or opinion of how life should be lived, and what we should do every day.  Learn and then find your own way: It shouldn’t take so many years to discover your passions and act upon them:  Just get on doing and acting.

There are chores for the morning; chores for the afternoon; and chores for the evening.  There are times for learning, reading, studying, writing, publishing, earning a living, and meditation.  You don’t want to reach old age before you realize that all these “levels for perfection” are a string of falsehoods.

There is this whole world to discover, people to listen to, to discuss with, to change your ideas and perspectives on life and nature.  You don’t need to be confined in a place, a method, a way of life to learn and improve yourself and find joy, satisfaction, and happiness. 

You don’t want to reach old age before you realize that all these “levels for perfection” were initiation to slavery habits, of restricting the potentials of your mind, and futile constraints on your vital natural rights.

I work 14 hrs a day, everyday, rain or shine, official working day and holidays.  Besides my long list of daily chores I read, write, and publish everyday, rain or shine… I love to contribute extending tribute to the hard-working people in all domain of life, culture, and knowledge.

I work 14 hrs a day: Earning not a nickel.  I paint the windows, doors, and walls: Earning not a nickel.  I do the glass windows: Earning not a nickel. Am I working?  Is what I am doing kind of working? Should I be earning some kind of money to say: “I have a job.  I am working hard”?

I read and hear young people, having a job or jobless, experiencing depressed mood swing:  They work on shortening the depression and anxiety periods by changing habits (food varieties, sleep periods, exercise periods…).  I don’t feel depressed:  I learned what makes me happy and what gives me joy.

As long as I have a book handy, I am as “happy as happy can be”:  All books are interesting and I mine gems from even the lousiest of books. As long as there are documentaries and fine movies, I am happy and discover plenty of topics to critique and relay the news to others via by blog.

I work 14 hrs a day and earning not a single nickel, but I don’t get sick as I used to, when I worked on lousy jobs for companies in return for lousy money.  I paid my dues to society and have nothing to prove. I am healthy, alert, and happy ironing out my views on life and the universe.




February 2011

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