Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I think the loo's O-ring has burst!! And the case of a leaky nose...

This episode of the writings from Arab hinterlands involves… the cold.


I have been subjected to bodily mutiny.

The mutineers are none other than those good for nothing lazy white blood cells who can’t even seem to get their act together long enough to stave of the regular virus but this latest sin is far more dubious.

This time my bouncers let in the bacteria. Bacteria are a foul lot, doing horrific things in places they really don’t belong. It’s basically a teenager on a hell bent mission to prove supremacy.

Now most people would be asking…what did you do to make your white blood cells such louts? My answer as captain of this body is simple. I got cold. No the sick part came later I actually woke up several days shivering. I had not broken down to buy a heater remembering that in past winters it hadn’t been so bad. This one felt crummy to the point that your intrepid author was trussed up in bed with several layers of clothing on socks and one of those rinky skull caps.
I began the high water consumption regime only to be subjected to the frequent visits to the toilet. Each visit tested the resolve of a man with a full bladder. Brave the cold freeze your already blue toes a bit more or stay in the bed and let the pressure in your bladder threaten to pop your belly button. Yes each time was a close call and that jarring sensation of the ice cold seat is one that few should be subjected to.

The worst of the current situation is the apartment. My God deal with the slum lord; who owns the building, in a way that causes him the appropriate degree of torture. (I think God may have heard this one because his life doesn’t sound so hot these days) I was just ratcheting up because this is getting insane. My wall has been soggy for two years now and doing like any diligent rent paying individual I reported the first sign of trouble. My apartment has since decided to grow fungus on the walls, drop inordinate amounts of plaster and paint, leak what appears to be toffee but smells like death from the bathroom ceiling, and pucker the wall in the stairwell outside.
The cause, or at least my theory, is really a combination of two theories one, a leaky drain union above my bathroom and two, an actual seepage from high above in the building near what is our entire side’s front doors. The ladies upstairs seem to have done something unspeakable to their rusty metal drainpipe so that I can see the drips coming down in the crawlspace.

I was told by the Natoor … also guilty of several inhuman infractions against the rent paying people of the building… that the so called plumber they had called in wanted to shut of the hot water for three days to see if the heater was the problem. Sorry buddy but the heater is in the corner of the crawlspace. There is nothing in that heater that would cause water to drip from pipes coming down through the ceiling. I even wiped the water heater down with a paper towel to see if there were any leaks but not a single drip was found.

This Natoor… was also present when the electricity company pulled the plug on my power in the middle of the day. HE KNOWS I NEED TO KEEP THE INSULIN COLD!! DIDN'T THE STRESS AND THE WAR TEACH HIM THAT?!?!? I received one missed call to alert me of something. I was under the assumption that the Natoor just wanted another damned translation of how his phone worked and how to upload more songs. I called back within 15minutes WASTING MY MONEY TO SERVE HIS IRREVERENT A$$. He didn’t pick up. 2 hours later as I decided to go back to grab lunch I was startled to find that my electricity had been turned off.
I had to dash over to the electric company office in what is the east side of Beirut (a place nobody can get a cab to unless they pay inordinate amounts of money) I was then informed after the usual Arab run around and tag team affair that I had a bill I hadn’t paid in 2002.
WHAT THE &^*(&%$??!!?!?!
I was busy paying bills in Chicago for electricity in 2002!!!
I was then lead to believe that I had to pay regardless to get the electricity back on… and if I wanted I could buy a power meter for a mere $300 and then I could take it with me as a gift when I left. Wow what I always wanted an electricity meter! Um isn’t that thingy so the evil company…. can BILL ME?
Why in hell’s name would I want a device that ADDS bills without providing decent service.
It’s hard enough reasoning through a bill for phones here in Lebanon let alone the capricious way that the electricity decides to grace us with its presence.

I parted with 90,000 Lira and was told the electricity would be on in less than an hour. One cold dark night and a cold dark shower the next morning would prove otherwise. I went back in to pick up my receipt (that I had been had for a bill costing 72,000 that was upgraded to 90,000 on what felt like a whim was just to ad insult to the affair). The fact the power still wasn’t on was part of the deal here in the Middle East. Nowhere in the Middle East is such pride and distinction given to screwing things up properly than this wonderful country called Lebanon.

For those of you angry folks about to flame this blog…. Take a look at the road (DIS)(cough cough) con-struction that occurred POST WAR along the Corniche. That little road now has so many hazards it’s trying to win the Lebanon’s most riddled road. I think it may overtake Bint Jbeil in a matter of minutes. Case and point.

Just for dessert let’s talk about the way that the downtown protests have put port-o-lets over the sewer grates that used to swallow my bike tires. YUP they pipe the waste right into a storm drain and…..


SO yesterday I caved.
I got a heater… a nice BIG Italian model with both electricity AND Gas. Those little rotisserie chickens will have nothing on me in front of this home sized flame thrower. May the windows sweat with the heat!!!

Ok enough talk of waste flames and drains… I’ve got to go get back to looking at noseblow rorscharch tests which will require more Kleenex… This pressure in my head feels like it wants to grow up to become a headache.