Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Montgomery County

Swimming with Rachel

Note: Re-edit  of “Rachel of Bethesda: Introspection. Written in 2002 and posted in March 18, 2009

Addendum # 10 of my autobiography 

Rachel’s Sixth Sense (Nov. 2002)

I used to swim at a Navy complex in Bethesda, Montgomery County, from 1993 to 1998.

I patronized this affordable facility at least three times a week, mostly around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

She was a beauty by any standard. I think she was a cadet in the Navy, following swimming training and evaluation.

I wanted to get to know her, but could not talk to her during her busy swimming schedule.

I wrote her a song and kept a copy with me for the next time I see her.

Here is the song: 

Beautiful girls sense me.  They know for sure,

Exactly, what I’m up to.

They sense me in a split-second and get busy.

She swims with energy, non-stop.

She swims fine, back strokes, crawl, in laps.

I do all that too, leisurely.

She swims constantly and does not breathe.

  I have strong senses too:

She is not taking a break.  Not Today.

I decide for a note, dropped on her towel.

It should say: “I think you are beautiful”.

Everything I see in you is beautiful”.

I feel more at ease and then, hope takes the extra step.

She must take a short break, any second now.

My brain is boiling and I am editing.

My sentence should be reduced to the bare essentials.

“I think you are beautiful, everything I see in you is beautiful” is too long:

No time for her to hear me out.

Just “Beautiful!” will not do: I know that by now.

“You are beautiful!” is about right.

I am swimming leisurely.  There is no movement around me.

There is no towel.  She vanished.

Hang it all.  I’ll write about that swim.

The next time I saw her in the swimming pool I made sure that she saw me drop a piece of paper on her towel.  And I left.

A week later, I asked her: “What’s your name?”  She simply said: “It’s Rachel and I’m dating”.

That was all that was said between us.  Not even a thank you or an allusion to the note.

History repeats its cycle. All I can ever get is the first name.

Rachel’s girl friends in the swimming team started to notice me intently, every time I was there, swimming, and swimming.

A personal poem is a big deal, no matter how you denigrate it publicly.

 How the State of Maryland is Amazing?

I lived in the State of  Maryland for over 6 years, in the late 1990’s, mostly close to Washington DC, Bethesda, Kensington., Gettysburg… I ventured to Baltimore, Annapolis, Frederick and once spent a couple of days by a lake high on the mountain.

I knew these regions very close: I dabbed in Real Estates in Montgomery County. I walked plenty and distributed leaflets in each street for listed houses “For sale“…

I did visit Philadelphia visiting a high school class mate of mine in Lebanon Charles Helou, who was teaching math at a university.  Dr. Helou was #1 in the French mathemen exam in Lebanon in 1969.  We visited Helou family along with my sister and brother-in-law Victor. On our way back we stumbled on a gay parade. We never saw Charles again.

I visited New York City and New York State for 3 days with the family of Nicholas Choukeir. And I once and went boating in Maryland.

Though I don’t recall drinking local beer or hearing of any local brewery.

BS in Bmore posted this March 25, 2014

15 Reasons Why Maryland is Amazing

I may not have chosen to grow up in Maryland, but I did decide to continue to live here (and trust me, I have thought about moving away, California always sounds nice).

There is just something about Maryland that keeps me here and keeps me happy.

On this day, 380 years ago, the first European settlers landed on what is now known as the great state of Maryland. In honor of Maryland day, I bring you 15 reasons why Maryland is amazing:

1. We have all 4 seasons. While snow at the end of March is not ideal, it is going to be in the 60s later this week. Maryland, you crazy. I like you, but you’re crazy.

seasons

2. Getting crabs in Maryland is not a bad thing. Blue crabs that is.

marylandcrab

3. We have it all. Beaches, mountains, cities, farmland. You can hike, bike, swim or boat, whatever your little heart desires.

beachesmountains

4. The National Aquarium is in Maryland. No, not the Baltimore Aquarium, not the Maryland Aquarium, the National Aquarium. We don’t mess around when it comes to our fishies. We’re serious.

national-aquarium

5. Two words: Old Bay. I grew up putting this on everything… popcorn, pizza, crabs, french fries, chicken, macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, potato chips… heck, I’ve even tried Old Bay ice cream.

I now work at McCormick & Company where I get to talk about Old Bay everyday AND it’s encouraged. Can you say dream job?

oldbay

6. Maryland is really funny shaped, which makes for great jewelry. A square with a heart in it just wouldn’t be the same (no offense Colorado, you’re still awesome).

maryland heart

7. We have this crazy, yet beautiful flag. It’s yellow. It’s red. It’s in your face. Who came up with this pattern? I like it. Plus it makes for some great clothing and accessories. Thank you Route One Apparel(Photo credit: @linnylou_who, Twitter, posted on Route One Apparel’s Facebook Page)

maryland-flag-scarf

8. Maryland is home to many historic towns. Annapolis, Baltimore, Frederick, Old Ellicott City and so much more.

Some of my favorite times are spent wandering historic main streets exploring the shops and restaurants. (and apparently I like to take photos of couples holding hands in these places)

historictowns

9. We’re not quite “Northern”, we’re not quite “Southern,” which means when we head north or south, we don’t quite fit in, but the silver lining is that no one really dislikes us.

10. Maryland makes some damn fine beer.

Flying Dog, Heavy Seas, Union Brewery, DuClaw, Brewer’s Alley and so many other craft brewers. It’s easier to “buy local” when your local beer is top notch.

flyingdogbeer

11. Location, location, location.

While Maryland is great, variety is the spice of life. We are within close proximity to many other top US cities. Wherever you might be in Maryland, you could wake up one morning and take a day trip to DC, Philadelphia, NYC and more. No big deal.

philly-dc-nyc

12. You can only find Berger cookies here. They are rich and decadent.

Sure, the FDA’s proposed ban on trans fat could put them out of business, but you know it is worth it.

verger-cookies

13. I have not met many other people in the US that have quite as much county pride as Maryland residents.

I’ve actually met people from other states that have no idea what county they are in. Nonetheless, we rep the counties we grew up or live in like no other (hocofoshoyo, now with bmore street cred).

14. It might not be cheap to reside here, but it sure is cheaper than DC

15. This is birdland. Through thick and through thin, we support our Baltimore Orioles and Ravens.

 

Clara from Nigeria: Introspection (Addendum #12)

Smiling for Three (Dec. 2002)

Dedicating this song to Clara

She responded to my numerous ads in a few of the Real Estates magazines.

I used to advertise myself as “Dr. Adonis” since I earned a PhD in 1991 in Industrial Engineering.

This story is taking place around 1999.

My odd ads occasionally generated calls for healing the sick people.

Clara actually wanted to buy herself an apartment.

She could secure a loan for a $100,000 property. She knew her limits, but a palace would be far nicer.

Clara hired me to help her buy her first real dream.

Clara is from Nigeria, living in the USA, working for an International organization.

She is beautiful, in her thirties, a young single mother raising a 10-years old boy.

We toured two dozen properties together, mostly in her car, and we wrote a dozen failed offers.

Finally, she managed to move in, in my first choice of a neighborhood, which she refused to consider 6 months ago.

When we signed the deal she was ecstatic and I was happy for a hard job done.

Clara liked me very much and stuck with me during these depressing successive failures.

Four years later, I remembered her and I am dedicating this song to Clara.

        You know Clara; I am more independent than most men.

I am single, with no children to care for.

One meal suffices and I am not picky with food.

No mortgage to pay.

You are single too,but you have a kid.

You have to work for two.

You have to worry for two.

You have to be scared for two.

A woman, with a child and no family support, emigrating from modern Africa.

A harsh life there, but still a harsher life here in the USA.

        You know Clara; you still have more life than me.

If you smile, you are smiling for two.

When you are happy, you are happy for two.

When you laugh, you are laughing for two.

Not often.

But how could my feelings come close?

        You said: I don’t mind working, worrying, and fearing for more than two people.

I would like, one more time, to be happy.

      I want to smile and laugh for three.

Rachel of Bethesda: Introspection (Addendum # 10)

 

Rachel’s Sixth Sense (Nov. 2002)

 

I used to swim at a Navy complex in Bethesda from 1993 to 1998.

I patronized this affordable facility at least three times a week, mostly around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

 

She was a beauty by any standard. I think she was a cadet in the Navy, following swimming training and evaluation.

I wanted to get to know her, but could not talk to her during her busy schedule. I wrote her a song and kept a copy with me for the next time I see her.

 

Here is the song:

 

Beautiful girls sense me.  They know for sure,

           Exactly, what I’m up to.

They sense me in a split-second and get busy.

           She swims with energy, non-stop.

She swims fine, back strokes, crawl, in laps.

           I do all that too, leisurely.

She swims constantly and does not breathe.

           I have strong senses too:

She is not taking a break.  Not Today.

           I decide for a note, dropped on her towel.

It should say: “I think you are beautiful”.

           Everything I see in you is beautiful”.

I feel more at ease and then, hope takes the extra step.

           She must take a short break, any second now.

My brain is boiling and I am editing.

           My sentence should be reduced to the bare essentials.

“I think you are beautiful, everything I see in you is beautiful” is too long:

           No time for her to hear me out.

 

Just “Beautiful!” will not do: I know that by now.

           “You are beautiful!” is about right.

 I am swimming leisurely.  There is no movement around me.

            There is no towel.  She vanished.

 Hang it all.  I’ll write about that swim.

 

The next time I saw her in the swimming pool I made sure that she saw me drop a piece of paper on her towel.  Then, I left.

 

A week later, I asked her: “What’s your name?”  She simply said: “It’s Rachel and I’m dating”.

That was all that was said between us.  Not even a thank you or an allusion to the note. 

History repeats its cycle. Rachel’s girl friends in the swimming team noticed me intently, every time I was there, swimming, and swimming.

In Real Estates

 

              The course was offered in a large room by a shopping center on the extension of Connecticut Avenue; it was mainly the legal aspects of doing Real Estates and the exam was mainly about its corresponding laws.  I easily passed the exam and I presented myself to the Realtor who paid for the announcement.  This Real Estate institution would be sold to Weichert Realtors two months later and my passage to Hell started big time.  This lady Realtor got pissed off because I accepted to sit for an Open House for another Realtor in the same office and fired me from her “support”. Another lady office manager in Kensington (with the same institution) welcomed me in her office. She ordered me to place at least 50 cold call generating business such as “Would you list or buy properties?”  By now you can have a feeling that females predominated in this line business, at least on percentage basis and in Montgomery County; the independent Realtors, those wiling to pay monthly dues for using a trademark name and pocket the whole commission on sales, were mostly males. 

I diligently did what she wished me to do as a passage for learning the “trade”; I walked house to house in many neighborhoods, every day, asking to list properties; I mailed countless brochures but nothing would do.  I didn’t make a dime for a whole year and I had spent my last nickel. I was a wreck and my acquaintances were scared of the thinness of my face and assumed that I might have AIDS or something.

I finally managed to list a property and sold it but the manager bilked me from the modicum profit I made; not only Weichert wanted 70% on the lousy commission that I set for 3% to list an old and small property but it subtracted around $400 of my net income on the ground of a technicality on one of the clauses referring to a lousy refrigerator.  The worst is that I had the clause correct and had to go to small claims bureau to recover my money after at least five visits to Downtown Washington D.C. and the general manager of Weichert wasting his “precious time” joining me to refute my case.  That is not the end of the story; the next year the IRS wanted part of the money that I recovered from small claims and I had to send at least six letters explaining that I didn’t make a dime last years and showed them the long list of ads that I paid for with my credit cards.

I was fired by the office manager on Christmas Day and my lousy car broke down and it was snowing and I was happy where I rented a room; the married son of the good and classy lady had separated from his wife and returned to give hell at “home”.  The garage charged me $1000 for a transmission that failed to function. I was accepted by the across the road Re/Max office because the manager heard what a hard working guy I was at Weichert.  I didn’t make a dime the next year too and the part owner of Re/Max in Kensington fired me but another part owner re-instated me and asked me to collaborate with a successful Realtor. Things started to move and I made money but nothing was saved because expenses on ads evaporated every income and the IRS was in wait on the assumption that Realtors make more money than they declare.

The road to perdition (Introspection chapter#49)

 

 My brother-in-law, Victor’s assignment, as military attaché of the Lebanese government, lasted barely two years and I had the opportunity to meet with many US officials, the Lebanese community, and Lebanese army officers on training missions.  I was living and working in San Francisco since 1992 and was invited to live with my family in Washington DC, before we relocated to Montgomery County in Maryland.

 

My sister Raymonde prepared countless dinners, all by herself, for dozens of invitees each time. Mother stayed with us for six months and was of great aid preparing dinners.  We toured the USA as a family, a few  Disney’s lands, New York, North Carolina and on.

 

Victor and Raymonde had wider opportunities to tour the USA as invitees of the US military to Hawaii, Colorado, Louisiana, and Niagara Falls and on. I went biking and walking with the kids in the forests.

 

The time came in 1996 for the Choukeir family to leave for Lebanon.  Every member of the family was distraught.  The kids were very unhappy because they experienced a new learning climate for investigative minds; they even learned music and playing musical instruments and tampered with computers.

 

Victor insisted on purchasing and shipping a large gas guzzling van that they used to tour Jordan and Syria in their first year in Lebanon, before it turned a relic, parked and taking space in the parking lot because the kids had grown out of family vacations as a group.

I refused to leave with them.  I had no earning job and I was practically broke; I was plainly conscious that the hardest period is ahead of me, but I refused to succumb yet to a “suicidal life” in Lebanon; I had to make a final push for financial stability.

 

Two months before the order for Victor to definitely return to Lebanon, I had read an announcement that a free course of 3 weeks in Real Estate was opening; this course would permit me to sit for a testing exam that may introduce me into this closed business.

My next four years to the labyrinths of Hell took off, especially for someone with a foreign accent, short, and ungainly, who posted his real estates signs “Dr. Adonis” .  I had a PhD in industrial engineering and was not lying with any title.

I can write a whole book just on my personal experiences in Real Estates business and thus, I would restrain my experience to just a sketchy section of my first two years.  The sign generated many calls from distraught people suffering of physical ailments, but I was of no help.

I have published on wordpress.com five pieces (poems) related to my attitude and feelings on my life in this business, and particular chapters describing my life and the real estates business.

I recall the innumerable hunger, humiliation and indignity I suffered in the first two years in the real estates business, and many more after I started earning a living.

I rented rooms in humid basements.  I finally purchased a decent 4-year old car with my credit card.  I paid the ads of my listed properties with credit cards.  I know how the US lived in the last three decades on just credit cards…

Once, I lost weight and my acquaintances believed I had AIDS.  I got scared and visited a community dispensary and paid $10 for the check up.  The physician sadly told me: “You are not eating properly.”  What can a broke person eat?  I hadn’t discovered any soup kitchen announcement in this ultra wealthy county.

Four years of hell, but I made it with many topics to write about.  Nothing else but frustration and abuse, and many listings generated mostly from 50 calls a day to unknown people, using the phone book, and asking “Do yo care to sell or buy properties?”.  I never liked calling and still don’t.

First Trip to Washington D.C (#47 of my autobiography: Introspection)  February 17, 2009

It happened that in 1992 my brother-in-law Victor was appointed military attaché to Lebanon.  Victor was in Washington, DC for more than a month before he contacted me in San Francisco. He was arranging for the transfer of his family to the USA. 

 

When the whole family arrived I was urged to join them; Adrea was barely four months old and the eldest kid William was about 13.  I was asked to move with them in order to aid with the kids’ English, schooling and various arrangements. I wrote to Raymonde a letter stating that I preferred first to visit with them before I take a decision.

That was my first trip to Washington, DC and I used a map to initiate tours in the Capital. I took Joanna on several day outings because she was kind of depressed. Joanna, eldest daughter and second in the family of 5, later to be augmented with a sixth Chelsea.

Joanna was given the responsibility of caring for Adrea and she felt that she was not the preferred kid (read as much loved) among the five.  Chelsea was to be born five years later when Victor returned definitively to Lebanon. 

 

The next morning I went with Joanna on a discovery tour of Washington DC. Strong with a map, we walked for hours. It does Not take that much hours to tour most of the Capital, including the Congress, the  foreign office… On my second trip I could wander leisurely every street once I got my permit in Real Estate.

Victor had rented a small apartment in a building at walking distance from the Lebanese Embassy. The apartment was expensive, about $1,200 a month, and he was paying from his own saved money before bureaucracy arranged for his salary to be transferred regularly. 

It was summer time and there was a tiny swimming pool on the roof.  I felt that the apartment was too small to accommodate another member and I returned to Frisco.

 

Raymonde urged me to join them on account that the schools are opening and she is not fluent in English and totally unprepared.  I re-joined them a couple months later.

In no time, the kids didn’t need me in their English or schooling; they were fishes in a familiar sea; they quickly mocked my accent.

Six  months later, we moved to Montgomery County at the limit of Washington D.C. and we settled in a rented large split house on Brierly Road.

 

There was a small forest in the neighborhood and tended by a bird association (Aubuston?). We applied to the swimming pool at walking distance but the neighborhood association, mostly Jewish, denied our application. Thus, we had to swim at a Navy complex a couple of miles away, close to the NIH.  

Victor purchased an old car and his official driver Sami rented an apartment close by.

There are at least ten volumes of pictures and as many videos of my stay in Washington, DC and Montgomery County because Victor had purchased a camcorder in a visit to New York with the family of his brother Nicholas, already a Jehovah Witness family . 

Nicholas’ family of three kids stayed with Victor’s for over a month and we toured many counties in the USA. We visited Disney in Orlando and the Jehovah Witness headquarters in the Brooklyn and upper New York States and their modern and large publishing business.


adonis49

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