31 January 2006

Guilty till proven innocent.

As of the time of writing (3.50 AM, Tuesday morning, January 31st 2006), I am now free on bail, awaiting the continuation of my case/further investigation to be carried out in approximately 28 hours. Why? Well, it has to do with something I never even said.

I was out with some friends tonight, and at about 1 am, the club's DJ stated that they would be closing early. Fair enough....I spoke to some other friends, and they decided that we could go to someone's house to hang out. We went down, collected our coats, and I had just opened the door to my car and gotten in, when two individuals with a serious attitude problem called me "aboo bita3" (I have no clue what that even means, so I can't translate it), and ordered me to come with them. I don't think they even identified themselves as police (plain clothes), but it was obvious by the sound of their walkie-talkies.

They escorted me to a parked car, told me to get in, made a comment about "Sha3ib ma biji illa bil kondara" (a people that can only be dealt with with contempt), and chucked me in with the driver. he was pleasant enough, asked me who I was, what I did, and what had happened. I told him that they'd accused me of saying things I hadn't heard, much less said, and he seemed to take it at face value. My friends, meanwhile, were busy trying to figure out what was going on, unsuccessfully. Another friend, who was English, was oblivious about the goings on, and tapped the glass asking if I was meeting up with them later.

The first two individuals, one who I would later learn was called Lieutenant Adnan, and another called Hasan, joined me in the car, and that's when the compost hit the fan. I was now being accused of insulting the policemen, and (get this) insulting the Prophet Mohammad. They then whisked me off to the Zahran police station.

Now, I'm not a religious person. By any means. I was born Christian, but haven't practiced since before I was a teenager. But I have never made any comments about Islam or the Prophet Mohammad, and I certainly would not have been stupid enough to do so in public, with two suspicious looking men with walkie talkies looking on. Ask anyone who knows me. Ask my Muslim friends. In fact, ask my muslim friend who was walking next to me as I came out of the club. Ask my colleagues at work...at all five of my jobs.

Anyway, back to the thrilling ride to the police station: The ever-cheerful Lieutenant Adnan kept accsuing me of saying things I could barely understand, and then began making blanket threats. "One of the people at the club, when I told him what you'd said, told me that he'd take care of you himself....If I'd let them have you, they'd butcher you! ...But enough...the Law will take its course, but if it doesn't, there are other ways."

The last sentence got me a little worried. I thought I was about to get beaten up or worse, but thankfully, all that was to be had was more gestapo-style talk. More intimidation. "Stand up straight! Don't lean! Put your foot down!"

What was worse was the fact they kept telling me to "confess" what I'd done. The promises of letting me off if I'd just apologise. "Apologise for what? I didn't say anything!" I kept retorting. They just kept calling me a liar, kept trying to scare me. No less than four different cops walked in and out of that room during the course of the "investigation", which was more akin to something you'd see in film noire.

"And what is the nature of your relationship with the girl who you walked out of the club with? Is it friendship? Love? Sexual?"
"She's my friend."
I wondered why he didn't bother to ask about the three other friends with me, or the other people who had been coming out the club at the same time. I was also not severly inclined to tell him that his question was of a personal and private nature and that he should shove it. I chose to remain silent and diplomatic, instead.

They made attempts to provoke me into anger. Comments about how youth these days were liars, good for nothing. I have no idea how many times they accused me of lying, then sarcastically said "Well, then, WE must be lying".

My heart was racing. I didn't know if the Lieutenant would make good on his blanket threats. Luckily, I have a very good poker face, and I managed to stay calm and collected, sharp of mind, and I made sure I read the statement they wrote down to be sure they didn't sneak anything in. I maintained that I was willing to undergo medical testing to prove I was sobre, and not under the influence of anything.

A friend of mine eventaully arranged bail, but not before another cop had come in, been told the story, asked me if I had said what I'd said, and upon hearing my selfsame answer, asked me why I wouldn't stop lying. The feeling of "guilty until proven innocent" was more than palpable...I was practically choking on it.
So there you have it. In less than 28 hours, I have to report back to the police station to see what happens. I'm very stressed out, but despite everything, I will not cop a plea. I have done nothing wrong, I am completely innocent of these claims (I don't even know if they're charges yet), and I did not insult anyone, neither the police, nor ANYONE's faith or ANY religion.
I'm told this sort of charge is punishable by jailing. I don't know how true it is, but I am quite afraid that this might happen. I am determined not to admit doing something I did not do for the sake of my freedom, but I don't know how well my courage and principles will hold out if I truly do face a run in prison.
And there you have it. My run-in with the law in Jordan. Hopefully, I'll be able to update this in a few days to tell you what's happening, and say that it was all a big misunderstanding, and that I was being overly sensational. I hope.

30 January 2006

James Blunt: The most depressing music you'll ever hear.

It's funny how much music you listen to and like in your life. What's funnier is the fact that you seldom take the time of day to actually hear what's being said. Case in point: James Blunt. My ex is a huge fan of his, and I think it was she who introduced me to the guy... it was romantic music to listen to, nothing more. But then, at some point, I started listening to the actual lyrics, and what I discovered what depressing themes the bloke sings about. Consider for example the song Beautiful. He goes on about seeing a beautiful woman in public, how she smiled at him, and how they "shared a moment that will last till the end". And the crux of the song? "And I don't know what to do, cuz I'll never be with you."

Now, am I just being a soppy bastard, or does that not bespeak a metaphor about lost love? The next song is "Goodbye my lover": A massive ode to a lost love, about saying goodbye to the person you love. And for all those who have loved and lost, there's a certain ring to that. (Lyrics at:http://display.lyrics.astraweb.com:2000/display.cgi?james_blunt..back_to_bedlam..goodbye_my_lover)

And the theme goes on: Cry, Tears and Rain, High, Out of My Mind..... why is this guy so depressed? Or is it just a commercial ploy? Expanding on the theme a bit more, why are all these soppy (yet admittedly beautiful) soft-genre romantic songs popping up? James Blunt, Damien Rice, Katie Melua, Norah Jones...the list goes on. Still, James is the king of depression. But it all begs the question: why the obsession with hurt and pain?

Do we, as humans, truly define our existance through pain (as Agent Smith in the Matrix said)? Or do we just like to be reminded alternately of what love and pain are, depending on which situation we're experiencing? Are we all emotion junkies?

And the questions await an answer....in the interim, I shall be listening to some depressing music.

27 January 2006

Reflections from the edge of madness

So here I am once again.
I walk a precipice of a different sort.
I am free, at last.
I cry tears of joy mixed with pain,
Yet I cannot tell which drop is bitter
And which is sweet.
I am the Free Man, and my sins are legion,
But I remain free, no matter what wrongs I have committed.
The call from beyond the borders of light is potent,
Virulent poison that calls me forth into the darkness.
I try to resist the urge to leap headfirst to certain death,
Yet the call is too strong to ignore.
The voice is sweet as honey, temptation
Given form.
Immaculate in dimensions,
Its eyes stare into my soul.
They see me for what I am
As no mortal eyes have ever beheld,
And call me forward, daring me to come to them again.
She is a nymph, temptation incarnate,
The promise of all I desire.
Yet I know that the promises cannot be true.
They are illusions, mere shadows in my dreams,
That shall vanish as smoke through my fingers.
I cannot hold on to water,
Nor can I embrace the air.
Yet somehow I believe that these ethereal dreams are within reach.
Desire is not a facet of logic,
But a creature all its own,
Spawned by chaos and the human soul.
My path is strewn with pebbles, and one false step threatens to o'erwhelm me,
To bring me down.
I fear not the darkness, for in it is a perverse warmth,
Though I know that in the end it shall kill me.
Embrace me, sweet death,
Enfold me in your arms.
I no longer wish to walk this thin line every day.
Whisper into my ear, and promise me lies.
For from these lies, I draw comfort.
I find meaning for all that I am.
And all that I shall ever be.
One more step, let all follow me
And come to dust.

23 January 2006

The culture of motoring stupidity

So here I am, driving back from my second job at midnight, and as I'm going through Abdallah Ghosheh street, I see a sight that stops my heart: A bottle neck...cars parked on both sides of the road, flashers operating in a symphony of blinking lights, and idiots running across the street, oblivious of the traffic moving at a snail's pace. There had been a traffic accident, a while earlier, as I guessed by the fact that the cops were there, and a car was being removed by a tow truck.

So why, oh fucking WHY, were people double parked across two lanes just to look? Why was the only clear lane slowed to a trickle so that people could look at something that they didn't have a hope of seeing (Whatever happened, had happened on the road under the bridge)?

Why do we have this stupid, stupid habit, this disgusting obsession, this horrific fetish for looking at accidents? And no, it's NOT because people here are helpful. That's just crap. People don't pull over to offer help...it's usually the first car or two that do that. Everyone else is just there to watch.

Why this bloodlust? What does this accomplish besides fucking up everyone else's day by slowing traffic through which an ambulance might be en route to save people's lives? Unless I'm mistaken, the average first aid kit that most cars in this country do NOT carry is not quite up to scratch compared to an ambulance. Potentially, lives could be lost due to this stupidity...in fact, I don't doubt they have been and are.

So for the love of whatever things you hold dear, people, the next time you see a traffic accident, either call the cops, see if you can help (if you're first on the scene), or just drive the fuck on ! You want pictures of wrecked cars? Get them off the internet. Pictures of mutilated bodies? No shortage of that either. But don't put more lives at risk to satisfy your curiousity. Next time, it could be you or someone you love who's jeapourdised by this habit.

22 January 2006

Denial, revisited.

It's a great song by the Offspring. But it's also a theme I've been thinking about ever since I came back to Jordan, ever since I had to write a theatre piece about it.

What is denial? Who says you're in denial? Who gets to judge? What adds fuel to the fire is that I'm the sort of person who believes that nothing is impossible. It's a philosophy that's served me well in my life: here I am, doing things few people would have ever thought possible, experiencing things I'd never imagined.

And back to the denial itself? Is there really a clear cut case of black and white in life? Ever? or is everything all about shades of grey, moral ambiguity, and uncertainty?

We experience denial because we are afraid. We're afraid to face a situation that will ruin the beauty of our ignorance, even though we sometimes do not realise this. We fear that we shall forever lose that beauty of not knowing...that precious illusion that gives us the most important thing in the universe: Hope.

There's a latin saying, which I'll have to look up sometime...it goes: Whilst I breathe, I hope. I'm going to rephrase it as Whilst I deny, I hope. After all, sicne denial is buolt on what one doesn't know, who's to say we're wrong?
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, prologue

Adaptation will be the topic handled today, children, specifically the adaptation of plays/stories. Well, as luck would have it, I'm sort of teaching drama to kids these days, and something got me thinking the other day as I was telling them the story of Romeo and Juliet: This story would work REALLY well in Jordan. no, think about it: Two warring factions (clans, tribes, families with grudges), a boy from a rival family sneaks into a wedding, meets the girl, falls in love with her, they get married in secret, their love can never be...the grudge (tha2r) gets worse as people keep getting killed...it works!

I'd like to say at this point that I'm not necessarily in favour of adapting/modernising plays in general. As I mentioned to Tololy on her Oresteia entry, one of the things that drives me insane is pretentious directors trying to put "current" elements into plays by hammering a square peg into a circular hole. Julius Caesar CANNOT be made into a commentary on the invasion of Iraq, neither can the RSC's version of Hecuba. Also, starting a play about the Baader-Meinhof Gang with a speech that seems taken from a reactionary reply to the so-called War on Terror is NOT clever. It's obvious and lacks imagination.

There's also the ethical question of whether or not someone SHOULD adapt a classic. of course, a lot of people think they can improve on the original...which in some cases, is not too difficult...a cut or two here and there in the text are almost expected. But where is the line crossed? When one updates the references? Is that even ethical? Can you do that outside of the context of a translated play?

Hmmmm.....I wonder. And ponder. Anyway, I'm supposed to do an Arabic version adaptation of King LEar in the summer. Guess that'll be an experience.

20 January 2006

Sic transit gloria mundi (Thus passes the glory of the world)

Tololy recently posted about the pressure on girls fresh out of university to get married. Well, I think it's an absolute shame that society has such dictates. Why is a person not a person unless they're married? Stupid! I wasn't actually intending to post about this, until my mum came back from having her hair done, and broke my back with the proverbial straw: Her hairdresser asked her "Isn't it about time your son got married?"

About time? Are you taking the piss? I'm 22 years old, never been in a serious relationship, been out of higher education a shorter time than it takes for a foetus to gestate, and working five jobs on top of that. I'm just now gaining some independance, making my own money, and saving up enough to do the things I've always wanted to do. I'm meeting all sorts of interesting people, developing as a person, learning new things every day, and being damn successful in what I do, and I'm somehow supposed to put all this on hold and worry about getting into a lifetime commitment? Sod off!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not against marriage at all. On the contrary. If anything, I think marriage is taken too lightly. If and when I get married, it'll be to someone I love at the very least, and will come of my own volition, certainly not because someone tells me it's about time I did it! Look at my cousins: In their thirties, and one of them JUST got engaged. That's more like it! You've done well, boys! But you should see the crap the other one gets at family gatherings! "Eimta ra7 nifra7 feek?" (When shall we rejoice [at your matrimony]?)

Now, I fail to see why he, or I for that matter, should give one toss about the rejoicing of our family members. They can rejoice when we're bloody good and ready! DOn't they have kids of their own who are married? And on another note, I DON'T want to see pictures of your grandchildren. I know you love them, but they're right in front of me. I can see them. I don't need photographic evidence to prove they exist.

So far, the family's been pretty lenient with me. My aunts on both sides have not asked me (well, not more than once or twice in recorded memory) whether or not I'm in a relationship or intend to get married. My parents haven't asked me about whether or not I'm in a relationship, even though my mum has shown immense insight at times. Sometimes, they make inquiries, but not in an intrusive manner.

Why does Jordanian society have this negative view of people who believe that an individual's right to make personal choices belongs to said individual? If a relative of mine I hardly know from Adam thinks it's suddenly their duty to ask me about when I'm going to get married, am I not justified in telling them it'll be when I'm ready to? If I haven't brought that subject up, it's because I don't value their opinion, or I don't want to talk about my personal life with them. I also DO NOT want their unsolicited advice. Or their "3o2bal 3indak" (May you be next) at weddings. Just let my private life be that: Private!

Thus endeth today's rant.

17 January 2006

The daily digest: Thoughts on Elitism, English, and the Welfare State.

A recent argument flared up between me and a friend of mine while we were having dinner the other day. She said that I'm too much of an elitist. This was brought up by the fact that I correct people's English. Often. Very often. Which, I must admit, is damn annoying.

But that's exactly why I don't do this with everyone, only specific people. Case in point: Three of my friends, including the one who accused me of elitism. But why them, you ask, faithful reader? Well, my aforementioned friend is an English/Italian major, so is another person who was present and frequently corrected (the latter works as a translator). I'll get to the third person in a minute.

So, these two are supposed to speak good English. In fact, one of them has a job that depends on it. And both of them often ask me to edit their writing, I'd guess on average five times a week. Why, then, is it so surprising that I should correct their English outside of a professional context? What's the difference between the English that's part of their degree/profession, and the English they speak (Slang and colloquialisms notwithstanding)? Would they be happy to go on making mistakes when they should, and can, know better?

The third individual makes some pronuciation mistakes. But he spent four years in England, studying first for a BA, then his MA. Yet he makes mistakes like pronouncing Onion On-yon (as opposed to un-yen). Ok, so in his case, perhaps I was a bit harsh to correct that...but it brings me on to my next point:

The accusation of elitism developed into an argument about whether or not speaking English with a particular accent is elitist. In essence, she was saying that speaking with an Arabic accent is a good thing, that it's a choice, and shows character. Since we're Arabs, we should we try to speak with an English (British) accent?

Well, that argument is all well and good, but it's not logical; people seldom choose to have the Arabic accent or any other when they speak, it's just how they're taught to speak English. Pronounciation errors is what they are, not some romantic, nationalistic gesture that's meant to evoke the declining Arab identity in a society seemingly overwhelmed by "western" influences.

I, personally, make it a matter of honour to speak English with an English accent. Why? Because I like to show native speakers that even though I'm speaking a second language, I can still do it as well as the best of them.

I guess it goes back to my first days in England; it was a knee-jerk reaction to the way some people I met viewed Arabs (not that the arabs there were doing much to dispel the negaitve imagery); it was disgusting how many viewed all things Arab as backward and inferior. It was from then that I decided to be the best I could be to prove a point.

But who cares what other people think? Well, considering the overall view of arabs around the world these days, a bit of aptitude isn't a bad idea. Still, I do need to chill out a bit, I guess. What does everyone out in Blogland think?

13 January 2006

Procrastination! What a wonderful word. Just say it. Roll it around on your tongue! The very speaking of the word is indicative of what it is: delaying the doing of action out of free will/lack of will to do it.

I procrastinate. A lot. Especially these past couple of days. Case in point: I have to summarise and translate some research I did about shadow puppet theatre. Have I done that? Have I BALLS! Also, I'm supposed to proof-read, edit, and prep about twenty pages' worth of script for my new part-time job (I'm now dubbing an Arabic series into English, playing the main character in the first two hours).

But I don't do it. I take breaks every ten minutes, and can't be asked to go back and do anything. It's like being back at school. Funny thing is, I used to complain that when I'd start working, it would be different, because then I'd be getting paid for my work. Well, true enough about the pay, not so much about the motivation.

For some reason, nobody I've spoken to today has been capable of doing any work. I've got two friends trying to study for their university finals. I say trying because they, also, can't be asked to do any useful work. They were also procrastinating, wasting time online.

So why do we do it? Do we feel that we have enough time to do things later? But I know I'll probably be absolutely fucked for time in the next few days (What else can I expect working five jobs?!?!?)

Is the cause a lack of willpower? What is willpower, anyway? What's the physiological explanation behind it? Is it only the weak-willed who procrastinate? Is it mere boredom, or some sort of escape mechanism that humans develop, a form of escapism that distracts us from the rigours and unpleasantness of life?

Good questions all. But I feel as though this whole tirade of philosophical introspection exists for a single purpose: Stopping me doing all the things I need to do. I hope these words will help someone consider why they're procrastinating next time they do it. If not, well....at least they've got me thinking a bit. Suddenly, work doesn't seem so frightening.

11 January 2006


Oh, how I have felt your sweet tapping in the back of my head
Sometimes, you are graceful, walking on tiptoes, silent
Others, you strike hard, like a hammer of the gods.
Always, you draw me, fill me with fear
That I shall no longer be the person I am in the eyes of someone else.
Why do I fear that they shall change?
Why do I fear that I will be replaced?
Fears unfounded plague my mind, scorpions that poison my soul.
I see thee still. I hear thy voice.
At times silken, at times booming, always with the same message of fear.
"Beware, my lord, of jealousy"
Advice to be heeded.
"It is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on"
Oh, Iago! Truer words were never spoken.
Admonish those who speak of jealousy,
Ignore those who speak of fear;
For you are your own worst enemy.
It is you who listens to the threats, you who believes what others think.
You have the power to ignore the signs.
You have the power to make their words affect you.
For what you believe, you make real.
Give not your inner demons flesh,
Let them not manifest into the world.

10 January 2006

"Nothing lasts forever.
Everything dies.
The Earth itself is eaten away by time."

Ok, I'm not even sure I've got the quote right, but I think that's the rough version. It's from the Hellenic legend of Orpheus (or-fee-yus) and Euridice (yoo-ri-di-see), excuse my spelling to blazes.

When Orpheus, the hero whose musical skills could move mountains and pacify storms (like he did with Jason and the Argonauts on the quest for the Golden Fleece), loses his love (Euridice), he gets very depressed, and decides to reclaim her from the very pits of the Underworld. because he's such a bad-ass musician, he manages to play tunes that soothe Cerberus (the three-headed puppy guarding the gates of hell) and coerce Charon (the Ferryman) to give him a free ride across the river Styx. He stands before the throne of Hades, and plays music so sweet, that the foundations of the earth are moved by it, but Hades merely laughs at him.

So Orpheus plays again.

But this time, he plays to Persephone, goddess of the spring, wife of Hades. Good thing, too, because she's so moved by his music, into which he pours his sadness, his love, and all that he is, that SHE appeals to Hades to release Euridice. And Hades, the big bad boy of the Realm of the Dead, agrees.

But being a Greek God comes with a few fringe benefits, which meant that Hades got to set a condition: Orpheus could have Euridice back, provided he did not look behind him to see if she was following while they were still in the underworld. Now, normally, that shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, it wouldn't have been, but the steps of the dead make no sound, and so Orpheus was forced to walk, unsure of whether the woman he had done the impossible to save was following him, until he couldn't help it any more, and looked back.

And lost Euridice for the second and final time.

Understandably, he went into deep depression, and refused to play beautiful music again, until he was murdered by a group of angry women....can't remember why exactly.

So, the moral of the story? I'm not sure. But the quote at the beginning is from Persephone telling Orpheus that he should give up on his quest, and accept that death is the end of all. I guess that quote has stuck with me for so many years because it was the first time I thought about mortality and that nothing lasts forever.

If any of you are familiar with the works of Tom Stoppard, check out a play called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It's an ingenious work in and of itself, but one particular bit sticks out: the two characters are philosophising, and they wonder why nobody remembers the moment they learned about death. I mean, it's a pretty traumatic experience. You'd expect that to be imprinted on your psyche.

Well, that proves Stoppard wrong.

But anyway. So, the world is not infinite; in fact, nothing is. The universe itself will one day collapse into nothing. Weird concept, nothingness. That's why people like to believe in an afterlife, I guess. That's why I like to believe in it, anyway.

So if nothing lasts forever, and "all we are is dust in the wind", what's the point to it all? As far as pearls of wisdom go, I believe this to be the true essence of happiness:

Enjoy life. Enjoy every last moment. Take the time to appreciate things. Remember the happy moments, and think back on them often. They should stay with you forever. Contentment is a great thing, so worry not about what might have been, be happy about what was. No recrimations, no regrets. After all, it is this fleeting nature of the world that makes it all so special. The beauty of a kiss, the feel of a loved one's hand in a moment of anguish, the look in someone's eye...the list goes on.

Just imagine if we were meant to last all eternity; you'd be so sick of life, you'd give anything to end it. There's a certain providence in the fall of a sparrow (Hamlet, Shakespeare's attempt at Haiku), and it's that briefness of life that makes everything so beautiful. Sure, it feels as though the world has ended when someone you love has been lost to you, and you'd do anything to get them back. But even orpheus, who gives me hope by how close he got, was incapable of changing the way things must be.

All shall one day come to dust, so enjoy that which you have.

06 January 2006


I stand upon the precipice, and stare into the chasm
The sweet promises of the brightest future beckon, yet I am afraid.
One more step, onto the invisible bridge,
But where there was nothing, now there is a path.
The path becomes clearer, and forward I move.
But the path is not straight, it weaves left and right.
It takes turns unexpected in both space and time.
A voice calls from behind me, a hand on my shoulder.
Haunt me, Past.
You call me back, on a path impossible to tread.
Your siren's call is seductive, reminding me of glories past;
Glories that can never be regained, and love that has been forever lost.
I forge forward, a few more frightening steps.
The abyss stares at me from all around, left and right, above and below.
It invites me, its perfume seductive. Drawing me off the path.
Haunt me, Present.
At once lovely and horrid, it blocks my course.
The weight of choices I have yet to make is on my shoulders.
It whispers in my ear, words that make me doubt.
"Where are you going? What will you do?"
My heart melts, and my knees buckle.
The weight is too great, and it grows heavier by the second.
I sink.
I weep.
The path is no longer solid.
It is a mire that draws me down.
I cannot climb out.
The past reaches its hand out again, carressing my face.
My skin burns at the touch, the pain of memories best left forgotten.
The light of the future, once so bright, is now dulled to oblivion.
Words fail.
They are attempts to make abstracts concrete.
They betray us, pretending to express what we truly mean.
But words are not actions, and actions not feelings,
And in that mess we have created, frightened lies the truth.
Truth of what we are, what we experience,
Trapped helpless under the weight of what we learn.
How can we be taught expression, when that is something we must teach ourselves?
One last breath, before I go under.
Haunt me, Future.
The promise of things that might come now mocks me.
"Are you the one destined for great things?" it asks
Not destined, I wish to answer, but I cannot.
Discord is all around, the stupidity that surrounds me.
The world disappears, and all comes to darkness.

05 January 2006

Reflections on passion

No, this isn't a post about what people do when they like each other and/or have had one tee many martoonies, it's about the more general passion, the desire to accomplish things, the spark in someone's eyes that tells you: "This is my world, and I intend to do great things!" It's the motivation that is pushed forward by needs.

What needs, you might ask? Well, the need to prove oneself is always a top choice. I know I need that a lot. It comes from being insecure, or perhaps having been insecure earlier in my life (for those who know me, this is a revelation). Sometimes, it comes from love and hatred; there are things in this world I must change...I hate the fact that they happen (not just pet peeves, we're talking world-scale tragedy), and thus I'm determined to do my bit to change them.

But what good is one man's quest against the inifinity of human nature? How can individuals cure cancer and end world hunger? Eliminate poverty and bring about world peace? In a word, I doubt they can.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not a defeatist. I firmly believe that one person can change the world, and there have been amazing examples over the course of history that illustrate this fact. But let's face it, you have to be pretty damn special/determined to have your way in order to change the world.

I'm on a quest to change the world. I don't think I'm particularly special, except in one way: I'm as obstinate as a mule on obstinate steroids. With that going for me, I just refuse outright the naysayers and those who tell me I can't possibly change the world. I just smile at them politely, then turn around and work my fingers to the bone in an effort to prove them wrong. And there we have another reason: The desire to spite people. A relic of the teenage/adolescent years that makes us give authority figures the finger when they say things we don't want to hear. Whether or not they're right is immaterial, since from our point of view (sorry if I'm generalising, folks), which is the only one that matters to us (more on individual values and perspectives soon!), they're wrong.

There's a Chinese proverb I heard once, and it's stuck with me over the years: "By gathering dust, you can build a mountain." Physically very difficult to do, but possible. And that's the clinch: If you try enough, great things will happen. If enough people want to change the world, the world has no choice BUT to change.

"Impossible is a matter of perspective."

04 January 2006

Pet peeves!

We all have them, we all hate people who provoke them, but why?

For those not familiar with the term, pet peeves are things that annoy you. For example, I hate people referring to the letter Z as a "zee". Hate it. It's a "ZED", dammit! Do you hear me?

Perhaps it's the fact that I attended university in England, perhaps it's simple elitism. Perhaps it's just the fact that I'm mentally unstable, but who knows? All I know is, certain things that people do drive me insane. I look at my parents for obvious answers, and yes, as I expected, I find that they do a lot of things to annoy. But strangely, they don't do anything I might consider a pet peeve. How odd! it's more general irritation I have with them. Oh well, the search continues for the source of these pet peeves. Myself? No...I don't do anything I consider a pet peeve myself. I do things I find morally reprehensible, stupid, cruel, nasty, selfish, and just generally unacceptable, but I don't call zed's zees.

So where do these pet peeves come from? And why do most people have them? And Why?

Another example that came up recently was someone referring to "rolling a dice". Now, many may not know this, but "dice" is plural. The singular is a die. I'm thankfully anal enough to notice that, but unfortunately, not shy about correcting people about it, which makes me annoying to say the least.

Ok...time for some serious self-reflection: Pet peeves, to me at least, stem from my annoyance at something I believe very strongly to be wrong. And it really gets to me when someone does something that I feel goes against nature (such as calling a die dice, That's wrong on a spiritual level!) Basically, it seems to come from a stupid need to be right all the time, even though, in the case of the die, anyway, I AM! So, put it down to pure arrogance and elitism, then.

Which, as luck would have it, are too of my pet peeves... that's a kicker, isn't it?

So why do I do it? (No, it's not all about me, but self-criticism, I feel, is best reserved for oneself)
On tipping in Jordan;

Why is it that certain people I know insist on tipping in restaurants/cafes that already charge for service anyway? Look, this isn't going to turn into one of those Reservoir Dogs conversations. This is a legitimate question: if the service isn't that good, which, let's face it, it very often is not, why should I be bothered to leave a tip?

Case in point: I was out with some friends in Lweibdeh today, at a rather reputable establishment at that. it took them about half an hour to take our food order, then when the food finally showed up about 45 minutes later, they'd got my order wrong, despite my having told the guy taking it twice what i wanted.

So back to the kitchen the food went.

It came back twenty or so minutes later, true to order, but very cold. I assume it's because all they did was switch the contents to another plate and switch the meat between loaves of bread. (I'm not even counting what they might have done to it back there....yeah, I saw Road Trip...)

So, the bill was substantial, and so was the service charge, and someone was about to drop a fiver in as a gratuity. On top of the service charge. And for what? I don't know about you, but that was hardly warranted and by no means deserved.

So, it comes down to this: If you're already forced to tip by the establishment, why should you feel guilted into adding a little something extra for appalling service? Am I too much of a Mr Pink for this very Communist way of thinking? Am I jut a cheap bastard?

I don't make copious amounts of cash, despite the fact that I work a part time job, and three more on a freelance basis. But it's still money, at the end of the day. It means nothing in the long run. The only qualm I have, is spending that money I've worked pretty damn hard to get because I have no choice in the matter.

The End.

Well, this is hardly what I wanted my first post to be about, but i guess it'll suffice for now....the caustic socio-political commentary can wait. Till next time.