Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘relatives

I liked my relatives, us

I Like Nous (Written on Nov. 2002)

I need nous (“we” in French), of yesteryears,

Together, an extended family.

Living close to one another

And hopping on a bus for a tour of Lebanon

At a moment notice,


I liked nous, children and growing up.

Way before we became professionals,

Married with children

Scattered in the five corners of the world.


I am cozy within my new nous;

Of a newer generation:

A very restricted family

Of a new generation who abhors extended families.


A new generation who gets busy when called upon to be visited

By an older generation.

Some hide in the attic finishing a much delayed project

A few are locked in the computer room,

Riveted to a stupid monitor.


I woke up at 4 am in the morning, read a book for an hour

And I went back to bed.


I’m now dreaming.

I read the title of this poem and its first “stanza in my dream.

I remember in my dream, the four of us cousins sitting around a table,

Jihad, Hassib, Nassif and I.


It was morning in a well lit room, pretty untidy;

I think we were sitting in the kitchen.

Jihad was reading a newspaper, sipping his cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette.

Hassib was at the other side of the rectangular white table, a pipe helping his readings.

He was restless, acting unperturbed, aloof, and English.

Nassif was cheerful, carefree, not self-centered, an uncharacteristic Nassif.

Nassif is reading in silence, on a white napkin, a piece of poem.


A napkin like the one used in Pizza Huts.

Nassif might have guessed the poem was meant to Hassib and written by me.

Nassif handed Hassib the poem who faked to be unconcerned.


While I was chatting with Nassif, the “English” surreptitiously read the poem and sets it aside.

Nassif is flipping through reams of computer pages,

Printouts we used ages ago, computer statements inputted on punch cards.


Nassif says “This is beautiful” and let me read a few scribbled lines

On one greenish printout.

I said “This is my handwriting. I don’t remember having written these lines”.


I was reading the title and the first stanza.

I woke up from my dream.

A sweet dream, sweet nous, of now grown ups.


Barely meeting altogether, or part of us, once every decades.

Even those living in the same town, we barely meet or visit,

Even before the covid-19 confinement.

During this pandemics, we installed a Whatsapp group to connect every day.

Pretty soon, all overseas cousins disconnected.


As I say: the past is a phase to grow up, Not to dwell upon.

You moved forward, keep moving onward.

Just hold your thoughts a few seconds

Once I sneak into your consciousness.

“Routine”: Not such a bad Schedule (March 5, 2009)


The term “routine” has a bad connotation:  It confers a sense of boredom or a boring person who goes to a boring job and just waits for retirement. This is mostly true for public jobs and people content with steady public jobs. Many private jobs are boring, but economic performance usually sets the tone for heavy turnovers. 

“Routine” is not such a bad schedule for people who love every stage in the daily routine process. I know many professionals who enjoy and thrive on routine.  They wake up by 5 a.m. and read, write, and review their daily agenda and files; they exercise, jog, or swim before leaving to work.  Their workplaces are no further than 15 minutes drive.  Any one who has to drive one hour to work is a tainted “professional” in my dictionary. 

I cannot imagine a conscientious and genuine professional who is willing to submit to long driving trips and wasting precious morning hours battling with traffic and burning their nerves.  I also submit that a genuine professional should respect his physical and emotional well-being.

It is well-documented that human brain needs about 10,000 hours of practice-sessions by age 20 in order to become a top expert in anything, such as music, computer programming, singing, acting, dancing, fashion designer, architect, math, chess-player… It is your consistent  practice for what is your passion that generates a top expert, genius, and a top professional.  You cannot score 10,000 hours of practice sessions without a Routine…

I recall that I knew not a single work of French at the age of 12, before I joined a private French school.  I used to read French books for at least 6 hours a day, seven days a week. Within a year, I wrote far better than French-born students.  Mind you, I didn’t write or read aloud, or spoke fluently French: I just wrote better.  Another proof that it is not feasible to write well before you make the routine of reading a lot, and consistently.

For example I love the routine schedule of my days. If the weather is clement and warm, I wake up early before 6 a.m. and write till 8:30; then I exercise for 45 minutes, I work in the garden, then I spend my morning at the library to publish and check my emails and read and select books for borrowing. I have lunch  around 2:30 and siesta or a nap for an hour. I then remove to my study and resume writing and reading,  I watch the news and movies on cables, and then I sleep soundly with dreams.  There are no useless slack times such as driving long distance or getting bored at any chores.  I accommodate my schedule with nature because our public electrical power is rationed and we have no clear idea of its schedule. In winter season, I prefer to wake up by 9 am as the air has warmed, and my naps are longer…

I sometimes wonder if I enjoyed normal “electrical delivery regime” of 24 hours a day, as in most States, that I would have been as productive in writing and publishing.  I doubt it.  It seems to me that external challenges increase determination for those who love their work and set the tone for better time management of work and leisure schedules.

Note 1: Lebanon used to export electricity to Syria and Jordan in the thirties.  80 years later, Lebanon import electricity from Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The populations of all these States have quadrupled in 80 years while Lebanon barely doubled, due to massive immigration, and we could not even double our power production.  Lebanon has plenty of water and rivers but we failed to invest properly on our natural resources.  Not only we have not enough electricity, and none of it is hydraulically generated, but we have no running water.  We receive water twice a week for a few hours and we have to filtrate and purify what we receive. The Lebanese family has to pay twice for electrical power and for water by supplementing their needs from the scalpers of private providers. The main culprits are those “Christian” Maronite political parties who claimed that the power of Lebanon resides in its military weakness.  Implicitly, those sectarian and isolationist political parties meant that Lebanon should not challenge the dicta of Israel on the planning of our water resources because Israel purpose is to divert all our rivers toward its own Zionist State).


Note 2: I have many relatives overseas and most of them are successful.  I love them all with a caveat: When I meet with my overseas relatives, after many years of absence, they love to play the role of the successful immigrant condescending with their “indigent” relative.  They love to reminisce about the “good all days” when we were kids.  As if I have never been overseas (as if I was Bush Junior who never felt the urge to apply for a passport.  Bush Junior was elected president of the USA twice and he never ventured outside of the US before being elected in order to broaden his horizons




March 2023

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