Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Being the mother of two babies under the age of two, I tend to rant. No, that is not really honest. I started ranting way before I became a mom but having to be responsible for the lives of other human beings, all the time, well, it definitely helped me excel in that area that I now consider one of my finest qualities. And to prove my point:

Just yesterday I was walking down the street on my way to Clemenceau Medical Center for Mia and Jad's vaccines shots. Since we were running late (duh) and Jad decided he was hungry at the very moment we were about to leave the house (double-duh), I took Mia and left my mom to follow me with Mr. Excellent Timing when they were done lunching.

That walk from home to CMC implies passing through Hamra which is the busiest area in Beirut, if not the most congested of all of Lebanon. And with good reason. It is where all the banks, offices, headquarters and what have you are located. Not downtown as the name could suggest, no. DT people, we are watching you! We all know the rumors you try to spread and wish were true however, they are just that, rumors and Hamra is the heart of Lebanon. But that is not why I am here, ranting (although I never miss a chance to scream that reminder).

All of the above babbling was simply to clarify that in Hamra, it is virtually impossible to drive faster than 20 kilometers per hour. And yet...

As I walk down my street, a crazy lady almost runs Mia and her stroller over. In her defense, the traffic light is both green for those making a turn as well as for pedestrians crossing on that very "turn". Which means, if you are not in danger of being smashed by cars coming straight at you, you will definitely bump into those making a turn, literally on you. Allow me to illustrate:

Basically, all that is green is allowed to walk/drive at the same time. The red is what is not allowed to walk/drive. Obviously, it is a death trap for pedestrians.

That is why I am always very careful crossing that street but still, that car came up so fast, I had not even seen her approaching! Seriously. In an area like Hamra. Driving like a lunatic. I will be uncharacteristically generous today and assume she probably had been waiting for 20 minutes on that street before she could finally make that turn. The silly traffic light on that intersection is a nightmare! It flips from red to green to red to green faster than my dad zaps channels! Frustration is never a good thing when a steering wheel is involved.

But I take it like a MOM (Manager Of Messes), shake it off and continue walking... On the side of the road. Yes. Not the sidewalks. Simply because there are no sidewalks on that street. There are tiny elevated extensions of the street where people 1) park, 2) place chairs and tables and smoke shisha (I kid you not) or 3) install barriers so that and I quote "no motorcycle would drive by on the sidewalk and scare the customers". And where there are none of the above, it is simply because none of the above can fit as the sidewalk suddenly turns into weirdly skewed stairs. Ok then. My bad for expecting to have a small side of that road dedicated to me and my baby's safe passage on foot.

When I finally get to Hamra Main Street and enjoy the normal (so to speak) sidewalk, I reach the turn towards Clemenceau and there again, I have to walk in the middle of the road and zigzag between the cars as the sidewalk is either some jerk's improvised private parking or a mini-market. 

At last, I see the hospital on the other side of the street so I stop (obviously) and wait for the car on my left to allow me to cross. Then I check my right and the road is completely empty so I make my move. At that same moment, I almost crash into an jackass on his motorcycle, speeding on the wrong side of the road! I had forgotten that in Lebanon, I need to look at both sides even if it is a one way street!

The freaking idiot cannot be blamed. He obviously is brainless. Why else would he have been driving a motorcycle without a helmet? When there is nothing to protect, why bother, right? In the meantime, he almost crashed into Mia. That is the problem with strollers. Your kid is always up front. 

And the son of a bitch has the nerves to scream "Hey!" when he sees me. HE screams. HE. The all-time prick who drives helmetless on the wrong side of the street!

Yes. I stepped up to an entirely other level of anger and my vocabulary is adapting to the appropriate degree of fury I am feeling right now. Thank you for your understanding. 

Mamma Mia

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