Posted on December 18, 2007

13


I’ve been super busy at work for the last while, although plenty of bloggable stuff has happened. Or least what I consider to be bloggable, since it seems I am self-indulgent. This is probable, but at least I don’t burden the internet (or subscribers) with my FEELINGS much like some writers.

I’m off to Kuwait tomorrow, and I and the Piglet are practically salivating at the thought of shopping. Possibly there will be blogging from there – maybe there are earnest mid-western college students who wonder about what life in Kuwait is like. If so, their curiosity is highly misplaced.

When I return I shall be moving into a new apartment in Zamalek with a super cool friend, who we’ll call Montana Mary. I was pleased to find someone I actually knew to live with, having viewed a truly unsavoury bunch of people. One place had curtains tacked up with staples, or so I could discern fleetingly when I managed to tear my eyes off the luxuriantly piliferous leg revealed by the slit skirt of my hostess. Another girl told me she would be in school until 7 pm, but I mixed up her schedule and called her around 2 pm. She rejected my call and when I emailed her to give her my number and tell her it was I who had called she emailed back saying:

In my previous e-mails I told you I would be in school all day and unavailable until 7 pm tonight. I would appreciate it if you would stop calling during class. Thanks! I will call you when I am back in Zamalek.

I was pretty dumbstruck. I called ONCE, and why the hell wouldn’t she shut off her phone during class? I considered this email to be emblematic of the kind of behaviour considered to be appropriate in individualistic cultures (i.e. by white people). I contend that an Egyptian person in her position would merely have responded “I’m in class now, call you later” without any references to previous documents, passive-aggressive remarks, or the air of serious breach of contract. When I asked my friends whether this email signalled potential craziness, or anal-ness, all the Egyptian ones nodded emphatically and told me to forget it. The foreign ones merely said that I would need someone more laid back and relaxed about rules, and for sure she would leave snippy notes if I left the lights on one time. They refused to condemn it, and actually said that such precise people are great to work with, if not live with. I think this divergence of opinion says something.

Of course, neither of us called the other. I’ve had my share of bad roommates and don’t need another. I was happy instead to live with someone whose craziness level has been vetted, and deemed acceptable, even though the apartment is so ridiculously small that friends will have to visit in pairs as if they were boarding Noah’s Ark. I’m extraordinarily excited at the prospect of not having to navigate the 6th of October Bridge ever again. Sleeping in! Eating at home! Passing out drunk in beds instead of taxis! Having friends willing to come over! It’s going to be great.

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