Day 7: Sixteen years old

Posted on January 18, 2009

4


It would be nice to sleep during the night. Ever since I took this job, to which I roll in at 1 pm at the earliest, I have inhabited a different night-time world, chiefly distinguished by its different inhabitants: insomniacs, the unemployed, freelancers. I now have friendships that I pursue exclusively from 1 to 4 am. I am woken by the shouts and clicks of the makwagi under my apartment and his homies, the details of whose lives I am now privy to.
But that’s Cairo…what I meant to say is, it’s continued here. It’s 7:46 am now and I’ve only had an hour of sleep. I spent the night watching tragic episodes of Private Practice, doing the odd spot of work, chatting to people in slightly different time zones, snapping at my parents when they got up to go to work (questions should not be posed before mid-day), and reading John Updike. What a great last name for a lesbian to have.
Yesterday I was woken by a phone call: an American female voice said that my apartment in Cairo had exploded, killing the bawab, of whom she knew I was very fond. I tried to shake myself awake and ask, who, when? when she announced that it was a joke. It was my friend
Joy. That is the true extent of my gullibility. I set this at my mother’s door: when I repeated the story to her she looked stressed and asked why someone would play a nasty trick like that.
We met up and had a surreally adolescent evening. My dad drove me to her place and she greeted him in the proper demure Arab girl manner. I met her dad and greeted him the proper demure Arab girl manner. Then we went off into her white-duveted room to giggle and whisper on her bed about boys and look at clothes. Her dad drove us to the mall for a surreptitious shisha. The mall was having a Kuwaiti culture and awareness display, which featured a man dressed as a huge drop of water and another as a red lightning bolt. I thought the lightning bolt was a comma at first and was pleased. A person-sized comma strikes me as a good thing.
Afterwards we went out to dinner with her father, who spoke to us seriously about our career prospects. Four degrees between us and we still felt like frivolous directionless schoolgirls. Back at her house her dad pointed to the TV and said with enthusiasm, “This is a documentary about the history of math. It’s very interesting!” I turned to Joy in panic to find my expression reflected in her face. “
30 rock?” she said. We arose with alacrity. I had brought my hard drive anticipating such a situation. We retreated back into her room. Later on her dad drove me home at 10:30 pm.
Mind blowing. Our normal lives are light years removed from any of this, both being partial to various sketchinesses. We didn’t even know each other as teenagers. We should thank God, though, that we have these guises to escape into every once in a while.
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Posted in: friends, Kuwait