Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Kirby

Something about the period after my PhD in the USA


In the wilderness


After I earned my PhD in 1991, I loitered for another 10 years throughout the USA, not working in my field or in any teaching jobs: I was disheartened and frustrated and refused to think about any plans for the future. 

It must have been a case of acute depression not recognized by me, and no one to count on for friendship. I just survived and I still didn’t tend efficiently to all these scars.

All in all, I lived and studied and worked in the USA for 20 years and returned definitely to Lebanon without even applying to a residence status though I enjoyed continuous work permits for many years.


After my formal graduation in May 1991 with a PhD in industrial engineering (in the field of Human Factors) I was almost totally broke and the university town of Norman in summer-time was completely boring and I suffocated in this “hole” after over six years and barely leaving it.  The University was closed for part of the summer and I had no idea how to spend my time in this town that swallowed the best of my adulthood.

There was just this corner on the north side of campus with a few bars and Walter Mitty, the nude institution; I used occasionally to go there with Boubkeur during happy hours, between 1 to 5 p.m. and order a pitcher of draft beer at the hottest period of the day and when the girls were not asked to get frantic with their boobs and buttocks.  

In one of the few bars, a clone singer of Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia used to play almost every night; this singer and guitarist was a carbon copy of late Garcia in appearance, attire, and style.  There was this coffee shop that served all kinds of Starbucks varieties and we would meet there most of the time and patronize it anywhere it transferred shops around corners. 

I met there Suzanne in Starbucks; she was a tall, beautiful girl with long blonde hair.  Suzanne was the girlfriend in the last two months of a Lebanese PhD graduate in structural engineering from the University of Stillwater.  At my graduation and her graduation in Law, Suzanne invited me to her adoptive parents’ home; her friends took several pictures in my graduation gown.

I had bought my advisor’s old car three months ago; then the cold weather did not help.  The car needed tires and I preferred to give it away to my landlord instead of sinking in dear money on a car that I had no confidence in its proper functioning, even in the near term. Kirby, my landlord, could not believe my giving away a car and made me sign a paper to that effect, maybe for tax purposes.

This landlord was a good man, straight and kind to me; I paid around $100 for the whole ground flat. Kirby refurbished the upper floor to accommodate two apartments that rented $200 per month each.

Kirby married Rebecca; a half blooded American Indian, who was my previous landlord from whom I rented a room in the upper floor. Kirby was in the business of purchasing properties on foreclosures and then repaired them with his own hands.  

I recall a Christmas Eve when my flat got flooded and the electricity went out and Kirby came and repaired what was needed and then brought the vacuum cleaner the next day to suck out the moisture and dry the shaggy carpet. 

I spent a terrible cold night, alone amid the smell of humidity.




July 2022

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