I want to be a part of it

Posted on June 7, 2007


It’s a relief to have recovered from my Dubai-induced disgust of Cairo. For a few days there I would corner people making off-hand polite inquiries about my trip, and explain to them in detail that all the paving stones in Dubai were straight and the sidewalks even, unlike the veritable wellspring of shoddy workmanship in which I now reside. I sat around in gatherings of friends in silence with glazed eyes – the friends called it the Dubai Coma Look – springing to life every few minutes to shout, “And would you believe there was no sexual harassment!” and ” Come on, when are we all moving to Dubai! Why do we still live here!”. This totally harshed their buzz; nevertheless they tolerantly explained to me how Egypt is real, and has soul. “Soul di khaltak!” I thought to myself. I also refrained from seeing Amnesiac, because she’s all about realness and soul and all that, and it doesn’t wound her to the core when people are stupid and careless.

My annoyance was obviously much enhanced by the fact that on my return I found a weeping frazzled sister who had been forced, all by herself, to redo one of the bathrooms in our apartment, a process that is fraught with absolute hellishness anywhere, let alone in this country. Such was her distress that she picked a glass and chrome sink to go with beige and brown tile, which left me speechless with horror. The rest of the apartment is dust and plaster and bits of tube and curious filthy rags, because Egyptian workmen do not know what professionalism is and left havoc in their wake. Not that it’s finished, of course. The bathroom door has also ceased closing because they cocked up the tile laying. Also, on going to work, I noted that even though we now have a fancy new fingerprint recognition system, the guy was still there punching our clocks for no reason that I could find out. So now, massive lines of employees form at 9 am and 5 pm because the fingerprint gadget is dodgy. What was wrong with the clock punching? The whole thing was just so…Egypt.

So I did even more complaining for a while to anyone who would listen, and many who didn’t, until I noticed that the trees were in flower and erasing much of Cairo’s greyness, and that my friends here are well worth all of it. I mean, where else can one get quality gossip about Osama Bin Laden’s sex life? I can, here.

Also, of course, my dad arrived to sort everything out and ease the Tweet and I’s lives, accounting in large part for my current happy, filthy-lamppost-embracing state.

Posted in: Egypt, my family