Adonis Diaries

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Lost in recurring sad night dreams: Wandering around this flat university town..

It is good to have a context to my horrible recurring night dreams, particularly those re-run dreams that evolve with slight alterations, due to my attempts for Lucid Dream editing.

I spent about 8 years in a flat university town, on and off on two visits, for “continuing education” purposes.

The first trip lasted 2 years and was great in many aspects of novelty, adventure, surprises, experiences, aches, joy, frustration… and youth. The USA was open to foreign students and the universities were facilitated their living and enrollment. The Iranian students were the most engaged and active, demanding the fall of the Shah regime…

Six years later, my second trip extended beyond my expectation for another 6 years of total boredom, helplessness, poverty, closed horizon, and getting much older than my classmates and acquaintances…

In both visits I had a return ticket that I never used. My visa was good for 5 years, but I never could afford to return and visit my folks during the civil war…

During my second extended stay, the USA was closing down its welcoming doors and most research grants were funded by the military: Even permanent residents were turned down on account of top secret research.  Laws relevant to health and safety in the workplace were relaxed, ignored and numbers of inspectors cut down. A period covering Reagan and Bush Sr.

Actually, my decision to leave for another stint had no sense. Except this feeling of closed horizons in Lebanon: The civil war was on, but the year I left witnessed a long reprieve and my family could not comprehend my decision.

A month after I settled in the university town, the civil war broke up again, much violent and haphazard than previously. And my parents lived for 6 months in the basement.

As in the first rip, I didn’t apply or tried to connect and plan anything:  I had to be in the place and take it from there. I could offer the excuse that the postal services and phone connections were not functioning in Lebanon, but I am the type who abhor planning in advance for critical decisions, except the most futile and irrelevant decisions.

I wrote about my experiences in my auto-biography, and this post is about my recurring harassing dreams.

The harassing part of these scenarios is that the various versions insist on blending the worst depressing and melancholic of events in both trips.  My Lucid efforts to mix in a few refreshing stories are frequently overruled.

And the tackiest of all is that each version is shot as if I am back on a third, a fourth trip. And to do what?

Like I didn’t finish my dissertation and I’m trying to get rid of this burden once for all. It is not the kind of dissertations that if you read some more in the literature you can reach a closure. No, you have just a couple of short articles on the topic and the authors have admitted that they don’t know of a solution. And it is a mathematical problem for someone who is no mathematician, about optimizing stochastic demands for production. Don’t expect me to expound on these terms: I am in no mood for these craps.

I admit that I was not pleased with either my master’s thesis or my PhD dissertation and I feel that I didn’t get a closure academically.

Or like I am invited to give a lecture and I overstayed for a few nights, roaming these square blocks on the north side of the campus, and trying to discover anything new that replaced the older images. The post office is no longer for receiving hard copies and the friendly coffee shops were replaced by multinational franchises…

Or I’m biking at night going home and cannot recollect which apartment I’m living in: I moved so many times in all kinds of sleeping arrangements that I’m totally disoriented. And I’m thinking hard of any “friend” to visit in order to get my memory at ease…

Or I’m wandering in this flat town and realizing that I have no cash, no checks and no credit cards. If I had a credit card I cannot remember the password: It has been so long that I lately used any of these financial facilities.  And the only bank in town is not at a walking or even a biking distance. In the next version, I should open a branch of the bank on these stupid blocks.

There used to be “specialized” bars for singers and fans of Grateful Dead or Bob Marley… and I don’t see them in my dreams. Even the nude bar of Walter Mitty never appears in these dreams… And I know that my dream brain is pretty artistic and inventive, and I wish my dream brain would insert a few scenes of these bars and enjoy fully what I didn’t in real life.

One of the versions made me walk a few hills and noticed historical sites, in this totally flat town with no history at all. This flat university town gets a few colors at the start of the Fall season as students flocks from the southern States and the beginning of the football season. The stadium is packed with the university red and white colors and I had to submit to the boring and unimaginative US fiesta-types: All boozing and shouting and screaming and cursing and nothing to show for in tradition and culture.

A flat university town that empties at Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. The whole town is mine and nothing that matter: Nowhere to investigate, climb, get lost in a forest… Except a nasty wind whirling a few leaves in a desolate moonish landscape…

It was my mistake never to find out how this university was established. I conjecture that it might have been a military barrack for further expansion of the US territory down south, or maybe a concentration camp for native Indians…

The native Indians claim that tornadoes never hit this flat town, on account that it is bordered by small rivers? While Dell City, 20 miles north and bordering Oklahoma City, is frequently devastated by tornadoes.

Another recurring dream is being overwhelmed with baggage. I never travel with more than two suitcases: When I move to another apartment or town, I leave everything in place and give away almost everything, even if I have a single dollar… And yet, my dreams want me to be going back and forth gathering all kinds of belonging and getting pretty much nervous, and I have to wake up.

There is another university in the middle of nowhere. This center of education was meant to teach agricultural disciplines: It currently graduate students in all fields except agriculture…

My last week in this flat town was the most boring and melancholic in my life. The students had vacated the premises and I was wandering endlessly around the empty blocks, this desert of dried up soul, blocked spirit, not a penny in my pocket to open up any lousy opportunity in my diminished imagination… Taking stock of my stupid situation: Where from there?

No relatives or close friends to call on, regroup, celebrate, share…

And I had to go on and survive.

You may read “The Tunnel” chapter in my auto-biography category

Twenty years later, and I am still hurting; (Jan. 28, 2010)

I returned to the USA in 1986 for a PhD program in industrial/Human Factors in engineering.  It hurts to recollect this non efficacious decision that was hasty, as all my previous decisions were, a split-second decision with no turning back.  Anyway, most of my jobs and positions after graduation were not related to my specialty, a specialty that I am still trying to define and explain to myself.

Luckily, 15 years later in 2001, I had the opportunity to teach at a university in Lebanon, on part-time basis, two courses related to Human Factors in engineering.  That was a golden opportunity to write over 50 professional articles, 25 of which were my way to re-discover what this field of industrial engineering/Human Factors is all about, in this fast evolving technological breakthrough, and transmits its concept.   I thus published on wordpress.com the category “What is that concept of Human Factors in Engineering?

I applied for a Canadian emigration visa in 1990, a year before graduation, but it was denied me: the Canadian consulate in Houston did not interview me at all. After inviting me for an interview the consulate told me by letter that since I have a USA visa then I had to go back home for application or something to that effect.

I left with $5,000 of my own saved money, much devalued by inflation. Again, I had no one to receive me at the airport and had no acquaintances to shelter me. It was the same lonely and frustrating process as my first travel.  It was as if I never learn anything from past mishaps, but I knew my destination this time around, and what to expect to see. There were no internet facilities at the time and no versatile communications.

I stayed two days at the temporary university boarding building.  A bright Lebanese undergraduate student in electrical engineering named Ghassan visited me at the dorm and connected me with a Lebanese graduate student in Environmental Engineering who rented a house far from campus. This graduate student agreed to take me in for a week and I used to accompany him in his car, mornings and evenings.

Ghassan was an undergraduate electrical engineer and ended up obtaining his PhD in the same year of my graduation; he got a job with Cisco in Oklahoma City while I was totally exposed to an uncertain future.

I forgot the name of the Environmental engineer: my memory is the weakest element of my brain, especially in recall. I remember that I aided this student during his PhD project; I connected him with the specialized person in data design and acquisition and then I helped him imputing data for statistical analysis. He insisted on paying me and when I finally asked for $100 for an entire month of work (I was totally broke at the time) he got furious for accepting the money since he took me in for free, 5 years ago for a week.  This is a typical Lebanese testing gimmick for loyalty or whatever you label it; they insist and your role is to continue refusing, but I was not proficient in that custom and abhorred it.

In the meantime, I had contacted the university student foreign office and a lovely structural engineering undergraduate, a Tunisian student named Suhail, agreed to share his university apartment with me.  Suhail loved everything that is Lebanese, food, music and all, but I was not up to his expectations.  Suhail was a bright and caring person; he finished his PhD in no time and wrote an “artificial intelligent” computer program for structural engineers; the program would prompt you with inquiries and at the end it would suggest the proper equation to use for your problem or project.

The notion of artificial intelligence was the rage at the time and I had audited a course on that topic because I could not afford tuition; I read many books on the topic.  I was working four part-time jobs at minimum wages, within university campus, because I am a law-abiding kind of guy.

Suhail got married at the same period with a Palestinian/US girl in Norman and got a son; he did all these things while I was plugging in to get past my General Exam. I think Suhail’s wife name was Wafaa and she helped her parents in a restaurant that specialized in Near Eastern food. I recall that we occasionally had the specialty of the day around lunch time; probably Suhail’s visits were much more frequent.

Suhail aided me greatly in writing the computer program for my computer generated experiment. I started writing the program in Pascal but I was not that proficient in programming and Suhail translated my ideas into C++.  I had audited a course in C++ because I could not afford any tuition, but had to stop coming to class: I thought that I was taking an introductory course in C++ but discovered quickly that the computer engineers were already proficient in that programming language. The funny part was that the team I was added to were gracious enough to deliver me the programming instructions of its final project.

The Dean, who was from India, refused me a grant and Dr. Foote, my former MS advisor, would not support me as I expected of him. I had no choice but to enroll in order to straighten my visa status from business visa to graduate student.  I paid the full exorbitant tuition for the minimum 12 credit-hours and was completely broke by the end of the semester. I had to take three undergraduate courses, two of them I had taken but the third one (Experimental Design) turned out to be the most interesting and very important for my field and for scientific mind.

I settle for the Human Factor specialty within the industrial engineering department because Dr. Purswell agreed to be my advisor next semester, and offered me a quarter scholarships which allowed me reduced tuition fees.  Dr. Purswell was more interested in the health and safety aspects in this field: he had a private company in forensic engineering for work related accidents.

There were not enough graduate Human Factors courses in the industrial engineering department for a PhD program: the human factors field was not well-developed as the other industrial engineering specialties and the university lacked qualified professors in that field. I was lucky to complement my graduate course requirements in many other departments such as psychology, “quantitative psychology”, marketing, accounting, economics, and education which offered me new perspectives and approaches to the human element in all these artificial human made systems.

I enrolled in a couple of graduate courses in the Psychology department and I felt at home; my heart got set on the cognitive aspect of human capabilities and limitations instead of the physical aspects that is known as Ergonomics, and the modeling of the human body versus the functions of the brain.

I had taken many courses in cognitive psychology and various statistical modeling and software analysis programs, frequently used in marketing, business, psychology, and econometrics.  One professor by the name Getty gave me credits for the Pascal programming language, the next semester, when I paid for the course that I had audited and did all the homework and exams.

I was hooked to the cognitive field in Human Factors but my advisor would have none to do with cognition for my dissertation because he was not interested in such a field and it was not in his line of business.

To be fair, Dr. Purswell was more than patient with me and let me write two proposals related to cognition that both were turned down within a year.  I attempted several times to get on teams working on interesting projects but I was turned down on account that I should have security clearances; what? GM requires security clearance for designing a new ergonomically functional board for its cars! Or the other project for selecting a dozen indicators, sort of operation measurement of the mental and sensory responses of individuals for flying military jets.  The project was done and I attended the presentation.  I guess this project is operational in selecting applicants.

Finally, Dr. Purswell had to deliver an ultimatum or he would have no choice but to suspend my scholarships. I was ordered to stop all part-time jobs. I obeyed and within a semester I wrote the proposal.  I then designed the experiment, finished setting up the fictitious chemical lab, and carried out several intelligence testing protocols just to divert the true objective from the over 120 “subjects” whom I enrolled mostly from first year Psychology students: they are required to submit to experiments for credit-hours.

That semester was hectic but a lot of fun. The next semester was the worst of all semesters because I had input thousands of data and read hundreds of pages of computer statistical results and then the gruesome task of writing up my dissertation.

I had Dr. Schlegel in my advisory team and he forced me to use a specialized word processing program, simply because the print was professional and versatile; the problem was that no one could interpret it when I got stuck, except Dr. Schlegel; I had occasionally to wait a couple of weeks to meet with him in order to untangle stupid word processing glitches.

What still hurt, after 20 years, is that I was not satisfied with my thesis.  Not that practical applications are expected from an engineer, but because no one controlled the process of my experiment.  What was initially an excellent design of the experiment that turned out to get out of the designed program.

The analysis would no longer correspond to cause and effect designed experiment and I had to contend with descriptive analyses that ruined all the pride that I had as an excellent scientific mind.

I am still hurting; I am glad that the publishing company for dissertations refused to publish it, because the manuscript had a numbered blank page and I could do nothing about it: I had no money at all. to recopy the entire manuscript. And didn’t care for the thesis to be published anyway.

All scarce money going down the drain and no professional future in the horizon.

I am hurting because I hated academia after graduation, and tried my best to keeping academic life at bay, working on lousy jobs hoping that my “unconscious” depression would subside.

This mental block never let go and I had no support system to get on the right track.  Yes, I wasted my life as a professional, but deep in my mind and my heart I know that I have a better and sounder scientific mind than many professionals that I know, and I am still interested in many fields of study and have the capabilities to untangle the good valid scientific projects from the faked ones.

Linda was dressed up in Black: Introspection (Addendum #3)

Note: The following addenda have been written several years earlier. Nothing are better than relationships with women to refresh your memory for locations, emotions and details. T

he resilient nature of women and their compassion, when in love, cannot but add clues to your emotional levels and the trajectory of improvement to understanding life’s complex fabrics.

Decked in Black (Nov. 2002)

I never knew how I met her.  All that I recall is that she used to drive to Norman to see a Kuwaiti student that I knew as acquaintance.

Why she selected me out of so many eligible guys? It beats me.

She was tall, beautiful, svelte and blond.  We started kissing a lot, in the back and front seat of her car.

Always in her car; I had none.  Long, hot and deep kisses they were.  She never allowed my right hand to wander for long, all over her luscious body.

One day, she called me up and I agreed to spend the night at her place on Saturday.

I had never tried to take her phone number; maybe because she was dating some else or because I could not afford dating, or maybe I had a sixth sense that told me that I am not ready for women’s troubles.

Actually, I don’t recall that we ever spoke before, sort of any kind of conversation, we just kissed.

I requested that she parks at least a block away from my place. I insisted more than twice on that delicate matter: I was heading an Arab student organization, mostly from Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. I could not afford any back stabbing on romantic grounds.

She came on time and parked right in front of my apartment.  I felt dead furious.

After a short drive, I confronted her with my displeasure. I could not shake off my anger which was a sign of an impending fiasco.

She was decked in black from head to toe; black hat, black dress, black stocking and black shoes.

She was extremely proud of her dress and especially pleased with her black stocking and asked for my opinion.

Her timing was wrong. I jumped at the opportunity to tell her the truth. “I don’t like black stockings.” I said. A tempestuous silence fell between us. I immediately wished that I could have swallowed my tongue. My quick limbic nervous system decided that I earned myself a long life grudge from this lady.

I braced myself for an unending night, tumultuous in its stillness. She parked in front of a brand new apartment complex. As soon as I entered I felt utterly sick and stepped out. I pretended to see the scenery that could not exist. The smell of new furniture, in an air-conditioned environ that is never vented to let in fresh air, was overpowering to my olfactory senses. The apartment was new and empty.

I opened the refrigerator and it was empty, nada, nothing. As we say in Lebanon, “the fridge was whistling”.

A dead body in the place could not have frightened me as much as this empty fridge.

I was wondering if this apartment was really hers, or worst, that she just rented it and I was the first to honor the place.

Talk was out of the question in my condition and I opted for some action. I attempted to lift her and discovered that she was stone heavy. I could not shift her much less lift her and I felt totally stupid and weak.

She shouted, looking me straight in the eyes, saying: “If you are thinking what I am thinking you want, then you are an idiot.” So we sat on the new sofa. My spirit was already completely destroyed because of new furniture odor.

She tried to read a few verses from a Bible, the down South Bible, of course, and the only book in this place. I was adamant not to be drawn into this nonsense of religious conversation.  So, we decided to go dancing for a change.

I knew by now that nothing was going to work tonight. The spirit of partying was lacking and she could not dance.

The dancing place was not of the intimate kind. We returned home promptly.

She suggested that I sleep on the couch; I refused bluntly. We ended sleeping together on her queen sized bed.  I mean the shorter sized bed.

I don’t recall sleeping that night because of that rarefied air and of peculiar odor. I woke up early and started making a move on her. She was dead tired to stop me; until my hands got closer to her “secret”. She would say: “Adonis, please give me thirty minutes more of sleep and I’ll drive you back.”

During that half an hour I kept undressing her slowly and diligently. I realized how huge, heavy and white her thighs are. No wonder that so much weight was hidden under her long dress.

Six years later, on my second trip to the USA, I was told that she married a truck driver. The Kuwaiti student had committed suicide.

If anyone has a current version “Of Human Bondage”, other than the book of Somerset Maugham, then please forward the title.

Introspection: Raine (addendum 2)

Raines is my Initiator; or May Be Not.  (Nov. 2002)

My roommate used to travel two hours on weekends to work as a bartender at an Army base in Lawton.  He spent the rest of the week studying to be a pharmacist in Oklahoma City.  He was my roommate in Norman; one hour away to school, the other direction from work. I drove in his Spitfire one fall weekend in 1977 for a birthday party.

Linda and Raines were there, and I have never met them before. Linda was utterly gorgeous and tall. Her red-headed girl friend was sort of rotund and short, with a lovely face. Uncharacteristically, I was in a good humor. I think that I was funny in my French accent or in any of the several languages I know.

My conversation was mostly of small talks, and still is mostly. I naturally act drunk on water and orange juice when I’m around a captive audience of lovely girls. Linda picked me as her companion for the evening.  She would not separate from me. My roommate had the eyes for Linda for some times prior to the event.

Being a better Casanova than me, he cut me off several times and managed to keep Linda for the night. I had many proofs that my friend is an unchallenged Casanova. I once met the most beautiful girl on Earth while seeing a movie on campus, solo as usual. I didn’t even ask her “What’s your name”.

A week later, coming to our apartment at midnight, at the closing hour of the main library on campus, “The most beautiful girl” was there with him, supposedly studying together. It was a blistering cold night and I had to visit the bathroom urgently. Coming out, she had vanished. “Where is she?” I asked my roommate. He joked: “She heard the Niagara Falls of your piss and got a fright.”

“Do you realize that she is the one I told you was the most beautiful girl?” He recovered from his surprise and said: “She had been after me for a while. She definitely wants me. I guess that I will not touch her for the sake of your feelings.” I believed him, at least for not making any further moves himself.  Lisa was studying pharmacy too. I met her five years later at a bar in Norman and I barely talked to her. She was selling for a drug company.

I had the impression at the party that a certain deal was agreed on behind my back. Raines promptly made her move as my new girl friend. I acquiesced reluctantly.

A week later, the two girls paid us an evening visit. It was implicitly clear how the division was arranged. I felt terribly jittery and somehow uncooperative. I was not comfortable with the realization of my de facto coming “initiation”.  I delayed as much as I could.  I suggested taking a hot bath.

Raines agreed cheerfully and we played like kids, splashing water and all. The other couple was heard laughing at us and giggling in the next room. What was to be done was almost inevitable. I am not sure who turned off the light in my bedroom but it suited me grandly. I requested that she mounts me, Raines being the expert, a single mother with a child. I wish I was candid with Raines: It would have saved me much grief, pain and humiliation.

She mounted me with fugue. Her rubbing on my uncircumcised prick was extremely harsh. The pain was humongous, shooting through my body and spreading to my head. I reasoned that this might be the normal price when you commit a major Sin. I was not to be initiated that night and did not sleep a wink.

It felt extremely sensitive and looked swollen and violet. I could not suffer any contact with any fabric, especially the kinds of Raines’ fabric. For three days I wore a Jallabieh, a large loose white tunic. For three days I looked ridiculous on campus. I checked at the University clinic. The lady physician referred me to a male “specialist”.

A close friend of mine accompanied me to the specialist. The doctor was cool and within three seconds covered the head of my rod with the retracted skin. Yeah, it was a rod since that fateful night, and I wish it stays so for the duration of my active life. The physician trained me how to retract the skin and cover it back. I was to exercise this new game twice a day for the rest my active life.

My friend had a quick chat with the physician and emerged saying: “Adonis, is this your first time?” “Oh, no, no, certainly not the first time” I replied.

He was obviously on the right track but I denied it to save a standing manhood honor, not vehemently though.

Damn it, his assumption was not correct either.  It was not even the first time. I was still at zero time and terribly anxious and puzzled. Incredible! I am not totally sure who initiated me even now. It might be Sonja:  I remember she told me that I needed practice.

Sonia, Sonja, originally from Indonesia and living in Houston, invited me to her apartment.  I was her neighbor and had expressed my appreciation for her beauty. She met me wearing a Geisha outfit, white socks and Geisha footwear. I was re-appreciative for her originality and complemented her beauty. Sonia admitted that I showed progress in my performances the night I bade her farewell before I flew back to my Lebanon in 1979.

Since the physician’s recommended exercise was to last forever and for a lifetime I thus decided to be circumscribed. I did not heal fast and could not see Raines anytime soon for a rematch. One morning, Raines drove two hours to see me. She did not have the heart to try my new implement. I suggested licking her cunt. The stench was awful, driving that long in a burning summer day, and I did not insist.

What’s with this crazy Napoleon? During his retreat from his failed Russian campaign, he mailed a letter to then his wife Josephine, telling her that he will be joining her soon and ordering her not to wash at all.

A year later, I called up Raines from Houston. I had two tickets for the Eagle’s concert and wanted to treat her well.  She called back 3 hours later with a negative answer. She said that she has recently converted to Jehovah Witnesses, that she is a born again Christian, and that too much fun of this kind is nefarious to her born again soul.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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