Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘assume his grandeur

What fruit stew “compote” has to do with old man George?

What I mean by “compote” is the slicing and dicing of all kinds of fruits and boiling the mix for just a minute, and adding a single spoon of sugar to the mix.

It does not stand to reason to stew fresh fruits, except if the members of the family lack this patience to peel a fruit or crunch on hard fruit…

In my case, I gather the fruits that are spoiling or on the verge of spoilage and retrieve and cut out the good parts and dump them all for a short cooking process. I can eat my compot over a week, with or without flakes, coffee, or anything else…

A week ago, I was throwing my trash bag in the public bin and noticed plenty of fruits dumped in the bin.  These fruits originated from the shop of George, an old grumpy man, and the husband of one of my aunts, my neighbors.

I decided to ask George to retrieve the “rotting” fruits, which cannot be sold in any case, from the assorted varieties displayed.  My aunt didn’t mind, and even refused to take money for my small bag of very ripe and spoiling fruits.  I suggested to the couple to try to emulate me in stewing the fruits. They mocked me on account that there are plenty of fruits and no one has the time or energy to stew fruits, and that no one will eat them anyway…

Today, I was not that “lucky”. This old grouchy person was alone in the shop and dozing around 3 pm. I read a daily and waited for him to wake up. I bought a pack of cigarette and told him that I intend to select spoiling fruits.  It went fine for a minute and then George changed his mind and got upset and refused that I go ahead with my selection…

To make matter worse, he compounded the refusal by creating a pretext to get verbally angry, like I am not a valuable customer, like the very few who “patronize” his small business…It felt like he wanted to kick me out…I said: “George, I know you are sleepy and tired…let’s cool it down”

It seems when George is angry he goes the extra miles into insanity and refuses to hear anything.

It happened that this month the library is closed for vacation and made it a habit to pay george a visit after siesta, knowing that he will be lonely and no one around to visit or buy anything.

George is voluble and I learned to be patient, half listening to the same broken records of those previous “customers” he hates, despises, he is not “hot” with…and they are so many that he didn’t manage to retain any neighbors to buy from him…

I do not reply or interject: I have never repeated or cared to retell these stories to anyone, not even my parents (who knows all these stories)…I simply avoid to spread these kinds of telltales…and I was not in the mood of becoming one of his target for his venomous tongue…

George has a good heart,is very helpful with manual labor and volunteer his expertise in civil works.  During my extensive absence from Lebanon, my parents linked to the public sewer system, but the local section was badly constructed and it was my job to clear and clean this portion at the beginning of the winter season, after the stench becomes unbearable and stuff oozed out in the parking lot…George would come and help me out with his labor and equiments…It was also an occasion of reminding me of the faulty system and its many deficiencies, and the urgency to reconstruct this section…

George married aunt Mary who visited Lebanon from Africa just to get married. Mary got a few suitors, but George was younger, handsome, healthy, hard-working, and malleable…

George and mary returned from Africa in the early 70’s a were the first couple to purchase a land in Kuneitra (a mile from the large town of Beit Chabab) and to  build their 3-story building in 1969. We followed suit in 1970. George opened his “Supermarket” and they were doing fine, even during the long civil war. These kind of trading is profitable: you increase the price over the inflation rate, and you receive cheap lots of goods, no question asked of how and where they were looted from…

After the civil war, modern supermarkets mushroomed in the area, a really modern mini-markets close by competed easily with George’s antiquated supermarket. Actually, george and my aunt do their accounts with pencil on  cut-out cardboard pieces. No calculators are used, and obviously, computers are not to be contemplated.  It takes too long to write the name of the product purchased and then double-check the computation, the old fashion…

George has no patience for these details, and his additions are frequently in errors: It is not that george is poor in math, he just does not align properly the relevant  zeroes…

When aunt Mary steps in the shop, and she is the main “patron and boss”, she has to double-check on the accounts of George, and George learned to do the vanishing act, out of sight and out of hearing range.  It is very painful when customers listen to the harsh complaints of Mary, and how profits disappear when George is attending the shop in her absence…

Customers, living a bit away from our neighborhood, (George had kicked out from his shop every neighbors and bad mouth every one of them), prefer to visit during the absence of Mary for excellent bargaining deals and satisfactory computational errors…

Kunetra is currently a very expensive Real Estates corner, studded with rich and varied kinds of villas…

George could be funny with swift quick replies, but what can you do when old age and sickness assault you and you are reduced to be confined in a shop from 6am to 8 pm, with only 15 minutes break for lunch, eating all alone?

My attempt at keeping George company ultimately backfired, as I suspected it will, sooner or later.  I had noticed that george manages to be upset with anyone around in the shop and most probably, he battles with his shadow very frequently…

Old man George looked slender most of his life and very healthy. In the last two years, he had to undergo a dangerous surgical operation and cancer therapy.  He is gaining a whole lot of weight and increasing steadily, and yet he claims not to be eating almost anything.  His family members know that he keeps eating, a piece of fruit here, fixing sandwiches, chips,…And George is getting irascible and very unpredictable when his angry moods surface…

I say: “If George can’t find anyone in sight to vent his rage, he frequently battle with his shadows…”

This is the story of an unassuming person who grew sick with age, and the virus of acknowledging that youth has gone and done with has seeped in his brain and he rebelled: “This is as good a time as any to assume my individuality…” in ridiculous and haphazardly ways, exaggerating his boasting statements that pierce the stars…

Old man George can be bought for a nickel, and didn’t have a dime to spare

Should this sad situation prevent me from resuming fruit stewing? I think not.

The humanity of old men (80 and over) in pain, in rage, confused, hard on hearing, short of sight, wondering why they were created, why they are still alive…

The good old-time was when the elder family members died in their 60’s so that the younger ones can go on with their natural life of struggling efficiently with their survival…

Note 1:  It was an inconsequential event, pretty funny when you think of it.  I am realizing that it is these small irrelevant events that constitute fantastic materials for good stories. George got his spot in my blog: It never occurred to me to write about George, until he got it in his head to “assume his grandeur“, a life of steady toil, from 5 am to 8 pm, since childhood.

Note 2: I suspect George is a highly impressionable weak man. A guy that I didn’t see for the last 35 years came to town to visit. His name is also George and he bad mouthed me in the morning in the presence of old George, kind of I might be injected with sedatives…and old George nodded in agreement. I refrained from retorting and read the daily as if this guy didn’t exist.  This guy has hired old George’s brother to take care of the electrical work for a house that his son is building. The departing sentence of old George was: “No one can suffer you…”

How come this event has to take place just in the afternoon? Sort of old George got it in his head that it is alright to attack me verbally, for no substantial reasons…as long as someone else dared to bad mouth me?


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2021
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