A Change of Heart

Every year I used to post a rant about Valentine’s Day. I was not fond of this holiday for commercial reasons. Well that’s what I thought… This year like many other things in my life, I had a change of heart. Not that all of a sudden I became an ambassador for Cupid, no. I realized that there are a lot of people out there who genuinely love one another and put the effort and time to surprise their loved ones with gifts and thoughts. Moreover, I learnt that one should not generalize and take an extreme stand towards anything in life just because of past mishaps.

First of all, a quick historical background on St Valentine.

It is said that Valentine was a Roman priest at the time of emperor Claudias who persecuted the Church for marrying off young couples. The latter believed that young men were unable to fight wars and die for it if they had a family back home. Valentine was jailed because he married couples secretly. He was stoned and decapitated for his actions. It is believed that before his death, he healed his jailer’s daughter from blindness. He sent one last letter to Asterius, his jailer, signed “Your Valentine”. Over the years, the sacrifice of a determined clergy man defying his superior under the notion of love led to embellished stories and gave way to St Valentine’s day celebrated till today.

Today, many organizations take advantage of this holiday to create and promote gadgets and arrangements to celebrate love. Many of us believe that corporations are taking advantage so as to sell love. However I want to ask how is this holiday different from any other celebrated during the year?

Love is beautiful especially when it is shared mutually between two people. We crave and look for love our entire life (whether we want to admit it to the person sitting next to us). Single people are looking for their soul mate whereas people in a relationship preserve it and try to leave it alive. We see many people in distress going to therapy so as to hang on to their relationship and re-ignite that sparkle. They know it is still there hence the counseling. My point; we all want love in our lives and would do anything to keep it.

As i was out and about yesterday, I noticed many couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. I am sure that not all are aware of the real roots of the holiday however the spirit was there. The sight of love between two people warmed my heart contrary to the previous years. I realized that I can not judge these people for loving each other just because my previous relationships were a failure. I can not blame my ex boyfriends for not celebrating this holiday because they did not believe in it for a reason that I realized recently, either being broke or stingy enough to not want to shed a couple of dollars for a rose yet save their money for a TV Apple cable. I guess I was blindly in love for some reason. Furthermore, I smiled every time a friend posted pictures of night out, whether the decorative food specially for Valentine, the view from their weekend getaway and my favorite, a song sang playing the guitar dedicated to his girlfriend. Honestly, wouldn’t you be smiling?

To the single people out there, bashing and writing statuses all over your social media against Valentine’s Day is not going to flatter you. On the contrary, the only sentiment you will be creating among your friends is that of pity.  As for the couples who do not celebrate Valentine’s for the simple reason that they have 364 days left a year to show their love to one another, I simply encourage them to give a rose to their other half and see if a genuine happy smile wouldn’t broaden up their face.

Love should not be taken for granted. Once you feel it and receive it, don’t keep it. Give it back and spread the feeling. Love life. Love love. It all starts with a smile…. And to many Valentine’s ahead to all of you.

Love

xo

love valentine

Advertisements

The Instagram Shizzle

INSTAGRAM  is the most used and favorite social media nowadays.

Thanks to Insta, we have all become professional photographers overnight and sound counsellors for the best editing settings a click away (LO-FI vs AMARO).

When scrolling down my feed I could not help but notice two things; first of all, repetitive pictures in ones’ profile and second of all, similarities in picture settings “a la nature morte” style among my followers. Let me shed some concrete illustrative examples by enumerating to you the most popular types of pictures taken nowadays by our young professionals;

1- The “lonely” a.k.a”the selfie”; 

I am guilty of this phenomena as well. I will not deny that. However, some people realize with time that taking selfies on and on is not as much fun as it was at the beginning of the creation of this trend. Like everything else, its a fad that will go away. Some people however have been having difficulties letting go and moving on. We still see the selfie pop in one’s gallery (every other day) with straight forward cute captions reminding us the time of the day “Good morning”. “Good evening”, “Hello y’all”…. If we want to break down the “selfies”, we differentiate two kinds, the “duck face” and (my favorite right now!) the “shock face”. In one, you are competing for the Angelina Jolie look a like lip contest or giving away free sexy kisses, whereas in the other one, you are being casted for the bombshell in a scary movie script. Both cases, they are un-natural, repetitive and plain simple stupid.

2- My nails are nicer than yours; 

Now this I do not understand. I would come to accept if you are promoting your beauty salon & nail spa. Exhibiting your art work and different shades of color you offer to prospective clients. However, just taking pictures of your freshly painted nails and posting them online with silly un-related captions is beyond me. I mean what is the connection between your nail color and “have a good day” caption underneath it? Or is it your Cartier bracelet or rings that you are trying to subtly throw at our face? Be precise will you.

3- Religious quotes; 

I follow my faith as discreetly as possible because I believe it to be a private matter between me and God. And for the other  obvious reason, that my country is already divided into different sects and the growing number of fanatics and tension from religious differences is more real than ever. So when I scroll down my instagram feed to bump into constant religious texts and prayers I wonder to myself what is the aim of the person posting it. I mean we already know you are from that specific sect, obviously your name says it all. Moreover, is posting your constant belief online an image booster for secondary reasons? Like lets say, a pious goody two shoes perhaps? I don’t know but reminding us constantly of your adoration to Allah or Jesus Christ is not the way to paint yourself as a good future loyal house wife (in my opinion).

4- Silly quotes; 

We all love quotes. They inspire us, motivate us and empower us. Some quotes are a classic whereas others couldn’t have been said better for a specific situation we are going through yet not finding the right words to express ourselves. One type of quotes that I have seen almost every time (and within the same people) is the useless arabic silly sentences, slangs whatever you want to call it. Not only do they sound vulgar but the whole font and color is straight out of a prehistoric arab cartoonist column ( you know the ones we used to have in our school books in arabic class!). Why would you wanna spam your gallery with that? In my honest opinion, they are not funny.

5- A la nature morte; 

As an art lover, one of my favorite genre is the Golden Age Era that took place in the Netherlands in the 17th century and in which paintings consisted of fruit platters and still life domestic everyday life sceneries. 21st century digital picture still life consists of gathering knick and knacks and snapping from an interesting angle one’s treasured belongings. Furthermore, a 21st century still life domestic life consists of asking a third person to take a picture of you doing absolutely nothing and gazing nowhere in particular. For additional effects, please mind cropping slightly your headshot while focusing the image on your outfit of the day while sitting nonchalantly on your sofa.

6- Casting for Arab Idol; 

One of the most useless creation in digital media has been an application called “DubsMash”. All of a sudden our professional photographers realized that they have another hidden gift; lip-syncing on a favorite song/ quote from a track list for only a quick few seconds. Not only, were those videos portraying people in a ridiculous aspect, everyone using it thought they were outmost cute and adorable! Advice to you; please look at your video once the trend has faded (or when you are sober!). Thank you.

 

As I said before, I have been a victim of this trend and you can say that my Instagram gallery has some pictures related to the above mentioned categories except DubsMash (I only sing in the shower ha ha!). I believe it is time for people to act more maturely when it comes in portraying their private lives public. I mean it is okay to take a selfie or two, show us your purchases or favorite gadgets, however moderately. Honestly, people are only liking one or two (or all) of your pictures because clicking is easy and just there. Some will even like your pictures so as to not offend you in some way or another. Yes because some people stalk who likes what on whom’s page just by scrolling down the ‘following’ section.

Now stalkers and weirdos are something else. And a topic I do not fancy in getting in details.

One thought; Real life is a door away not click away!

Thank you

xo

 

 

 

 

 

RED.YELLOW.GREEN GO!

Disclaimer: The legal age for driving in Lebanon is 18. The legal age for stopping to drive in Lebanon is ‘when you die’.

 

Just got back home after dropping my sister at work. Its a 30min drive back and forth and even less when no traffic at sight (wishful thinking). However timing is not the point here, a mere 10min on the roads can drive you crazy in this city. Every single person I know would agree with me on that statement. If you do not then I do not know where the hell you have been hibernating your entire life.

The city’s infrastructure has developed and resembles merely that of European cities, only when you want to include street lights, road signs, and the freshly painted walking- across strips among others. All these perks available yet no one truly abides by, hence the still existent policemen who makes sure the circulation is running its course (failingly..).

When on the road, we come into collision with many types of drivers.

The following is a few of the different types of personalities I came up with and am sure many of you have encountered during your driving experience.

 

1- The famous “service” drivers: 

Those are the famous shabby 1970s mercedes cars driven by retired senior citizens that roam the streets of the capital. They are the most popular used cheap means of transportation. They do not have a fixed fare; it all depends where you are going and the amount of traffic that the driver will have to put up with to take you to your destination. All you have to do is stop at the side of the road (not the pavement) and they come running to you one after the other.

They stop in the middle of the road with no prior warning. They honk nonstop whenever they see pedestrians walking the sidewalk (even if on opposite direction from the route they are taking). Most of them are over crowded with humans  yet they insist on squeezing you somewhere back there. It seems that only one station functions in those cars; the arabic news station. And if you are lucky and your driver is a happy person (which is rare from what I have heard) old arabic songs blast nonstop from their radio.

Driving behind or next to a “service” is challenging to even the most careful and skillful driver. From stopping suddenly to pick up customers to changing lanes abruptly, one must be careful not as much as for the bipolar senile behind the wheel but for his mastering technics that might leave a scratch, bump or two on your brand new wheels.

 

2- The Lady in the 4/4

She thinks that she owns the roads for the simple fact that she does not own anything back in the house she shares with her parents or the home she lives with her husband. The only thing that she has in her name is her beloved Range Rover model 2015, all black everything black. You can easily picture her driving head up high, her snooty nose almost touching the ceiling and her pouty lips gazing at nothing at all .

She drives carelessly and most of the time aimlessly. She perceives herself as the only one on the road, hence you can imagine her driving skills. She does not acknowledge any other car driving beside her and would toss you away and even run you over if you dared to pass her. Perched on top of her seat, you can only dream (and count the seconds till she passes) if you ever want to cross the street, even if it’s your right to.

The lady in the Range Rover is on the set of the next Fast and Furious in the making. Do not judge her, her whole existence is merely a dream in the making (up in that head of hers).

 

3- The 80 year old couple.

They heard of the consequences of the Sykes- Picot Agreement at an earshot from their parents’ discussions. They witnessed World War II through the radio stations. They survived Lebanon’s many Arab wars. They lived throughout the Lebanese Golden and Switzerland years. And they will be driving themselves through the streets of Beirut in their newly purchased 2015 model Volvo (smart choice for security reasons).

The husband behind the wheel is unaware of the development of the road signs and street lights. He can barely differentiate between black and white, hence adding green, red and yellow to the equation leads only to oblivion. Most of the time, his last eye check up dates from 2009 leaving him confused when two or three cars pass him angrily in a street where minimum speed is of 60km (and he is driving safely a 30km/hour).

However, the good thing about this loving couple is that they are careless of what any other driver would think of them. Their aim is to safely arrive to destination even if others were left frustrated on the road, cursing under their teeth and wishing a certain age limit was imposed in the road law enforcement (guidebook).

 

4- The Valet

They are everywhere and they make our lives easy. They pick our car when we arrive at destination and we leave them worrying and finding a spot to park it in the over congested streets of our city. However, we tend to lack and sometimes overlook what happens when the valet is actually behind the wheels of our car.

Once I gave my car to the valet and witnessed him driving off like crazy disregarding the lights and pedestrians crossing the street. Furthermore, they blast the music of your radio and forget to lower it once they pass you the car. It is only when you drive away and push the radio ON that you get a split second heart attack from the sudden noise.

They are pushy and ever present. They would create a traffic jam within the already established traffic so as to take the time to park/ change / alternate the cars. They are the lords of the parking spots in the hotspots venues. We cant live without them yet despise their presence (and ever rising prices!).

 

5- The 1980s BMW zouzou.

Unfortunately we all know them. We all have had some sort of unpleasant interaction with them. We all wish them to go straight into a wall at the end of their cruise.

The boys/ men behind the wheels of the 1980s BMW cruise mainly on the highway next to the sea front. They have a certain timetable on weekends, mostly sundays where three to four guys meet up, each in his own car or paired up, and cruise back and forth both lanes of the highway at full speed regardless of the cars driving by. Their cars have been injected with one two many levels of steroids. Their engines are loud and the retro music blasting from their pumped up speakers even louder.

They are a nuisance and a high risk to anyone in the vicinity. Your luck can turn around if one of those boys/ men make eye contact with you. Good luck getting rid of this loser from your path. My favorite is when they lose hope and give a long strong push on their gear stick and vrooom away.

Its funny enough that I can hear them passing by while am sitting and writing at this exact moment. Boys will be boys and their cars their toys.

 

 

It is a frustration to drive in Lebanon but for many of us that is the only alternative we have since we can not fathom the idea of taking public means of transportation like the bus. The latter is present but most of us do not know on what system they work. I have not seen any proper bus stop stations especially when one of those moving engines decides to stop (again abruptly) to pick up customers. I have no idea what proper route they take and the idea of being sandwiched in between strangers in a dusty filled retro looking moving engine horrifies me. I wish the public system develops with time (though too late for the many of us). Alas, let’s stick to our cars and try to calm our road rage whenever out and about in the city.

Happy Sunday!

xo