Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Telling Off Of Hosnei Mubarak

Saturday night was Movie night at Bruce’s. We sat around and chilled and talked while he and Leila and Eric made pancakes.

The Arabic is “ahlan uu sahlan,” roughly translatable as “make yourself like my family, make yourself at home.” We went for ahlan whole-hog, and at this point the ‘ham program is really feeling like my family. I’m getting into the part of the program where I really miss American social norms. I miss people assuming female friends are just friends. I miss inane America chatter. I miss Walmart.

Oh man. I miss bacon. So much.

I was sitting in the living room with Abu Joe yesterday, typing things on my computer and watching al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Egyptian Revolution. The coverage cut to a video of a man giving a speech.

I didn’t recognize him, but I wouldn’t recognize any Egyptian politician. Taking a shot in the dark I pointed at the screen and asked “Hosnei Mubarak?”

“Yes! Right! Yes, Mubarak!” Abu Joe said enthusiastically.

“Mubarak, ah, he, ah,” he gave me a flustered look, and pointed at the television “F*** you!” He stretched his fist toward the picture of Mubarak, middle finger free and aloft.

“F*** you! F*** your mother!” he gleefully insisted. “Aeewa? Tamam? Okay?” he intoned, looking back at me. “Aeewa, kteer tamam,” I said over a laugh.

“F*** your mother!” he gleefully barked, returning his gaze to the TV. He flipped off Mubarak with this left hand too. He rolled both hands forward at the screen. It was a common mode of self expression in the kind of American movies always shown on Arabic television. It’s always the most ridiculously hyper-violent movies. I frequently wonder if it means some Arabs would disbelieve that anything that isn’t super violent could be American.

I… I got up this morning and wasn’t exhausted. I didn’t know how to handle not just wanting to be asleep until eleven.

I just plain don’t know how to deal with this. I’m not sure I can emotionally handle the shock.

Still I got going. It was drizzling the entire way to my tadreeb (=internship) and I thought it would be a nice thing for Jordan, but might make it unpleasantly muggy to walk home in the afternoon. When we all headed down to Melkite Mass it was still raining, so we used the back staircase and went in through the side door in the sanctum.

I spent a good chunk of the day editing Fr N’s speech, and the rest of it doing my Arabic homework. Not thrilling but still pretty good.

And when I left…it was still raining. Positively pouring. But I had resolved to walk home to conserve cam money at the beginning of the day. I buttoned up my coat and turned up my collar and tried to stay away from the street to avoid as much splashing as possible.

For the first mile or so it was fine. I was damp, but I felt like I was adapted for this, built to live in grey and wet and vaguely miserable places. But after a while the rain got old. For the middle leg of the trip I was fine but certainly not enjoying the stroll.

And then came the big traffic circles. There aren’t ways to cross them without going on the street. The streets aren’t really designed to drain that well, rain doesn’t happen enough here to make it worth it. And I was sharing the street with cars. Puddles. Constant traffic. Total soak-age.

Being wet in Amman is full of grumble. It is good spirited, energetic and proactive grumble though. More token kvetching than anything else. Okay, it was really nice and beautifully distracting. Yes I got soaked, but I was okay with it. When I walked into Arabic I found most other people feeling otherwise but I was happy.

I’m still drinking WAY too much coffee there. Oh well.

Stay tuned. Revolutions to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Any chance of getting an excerpt, outline, summary, whatever of Fr N’s speech?

    ReplyDelete