Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Memorable Mistakes

Waking up on a wet bed is not nice.
Don't get the wrong idea, i love practical jokes, as long as they don't interfer with the little sleep I do get.

'You look ill'. I do indeed. I've been mourning the loss of my nails. On Friday they were so pretty and long and nice. Now, my dear nails are nothing less than chewed and neglected. I don't even remember biting them off so viciously, but I suppose i have a vague feeling of when i did attack my nails.

Before I get too sidetracked, I realised how much posts i've neglected to publish.

I've learnt a lot, honestly I have. So here's a lowdown of the mistakes I made, that I can remember in chronological order-

Making fun of Hussam
I used to hate him and his greased hair and sleazy bedroom eyes in his music videos.
As you can realise, i didnt actually listen to his music and just hated his stereotypical personality. But after hearing his songs at every possible turn, i gave up, and thought; 'what the hell, this hussam guy can sing!'. i'm unsure whether my mind is tricking me to make me feel better about having to listen to his songs every hour, or whether he really does have good songs.

I was also unsure of how people could dance to his songs. well, the general rule turned out to be- just jump everywhere, and call that dancing. I still wonder how cool it would be if someone remixed one of his songs with rock music. I think the combination of jumping dancers, drum beating and his whiney voice might actually work.

platonic doesnt exist
After the few initial first lonely days in Baghdad, I made new friends, since my childhood friends all seem to have moved. Unfortunatley, i learnt friendliness has its price.
Here you must realise i mean friends in the boy-girl sense manner.
Our neighbours sons were kind of egotistic. They had taken the machoness, and beefed it up to a level where it was cheesy. One afternoon one of the sons asked if i would be his friend.
Of course! I replied. Then he walked off, and i waved smiling. Its nice to have friends....
A few days later while dragging my sister and cousin to the corner shop, we passed the usual gang of adolescents with their coughs and fiery cigarettes. As i walked passed, one of them elbowed the other, the other one pointed and me, and then one of them said -'heeey heey, thats mustafa's girlfriend'.
Their conversation that followed was loud whispers as to whether they should ask me or not.
After a quick mental scramble, i decided they meant girlfriend, not girl-friend. I wondered what to do, and then decided on what i usually do-nothing.

You'd be suprised how i didn't learn a lesson from this. I would keep thinking that they meant 'friends' friends, only to realise a week later, thats not what they meant. I remember thinking- 'screw it, let them live in their own little world'. I also remember that a lot of people told me to 'use the opportunity'. What this meant was to get them to help me educationally, or send me phone credit etc.
Urgh. The idea disgusted me then, and disgusts me now, and more often than not, I ended helping them with their maths and english and work, because i realised very quickly, they spent their time on everything but their already fragile education.

never stay in the room with your aunts and mum
ahhh, when all the women of the family gather in a room, you have no idea what they start talking about. I considered whether raising the volume of the tv to block out their talk was rude or not. That day, i felt myself actually blush to the point where i started stuttering when i talked. My sister was scarily enjoying the conversation, and i decided that i really did need to see a psychiatrist one day.

never enter a room full of foreigners in your homeland
i did once, and now i realise the folly of it. It was in the international zone, but i dont recall much of that day apart from waiting endlessly bored for my father.
I sat in a room completely full of british, american, philipino and some other nationalities. I was the only iraqi. I concentrated on the murky depths of my coffee, but a conversation caught my attention. It was a british guy(soldier? contractor?) talking about something or other. His conversation then turned into making fun of iraqis, and laughing loudly. Everyone else was quiet, and one of his friends oh-so-discreetly nodded in my direction.
"she's iraqi?". He almost saunters towards me, and i meet his gaze. Then he points at me and shouts "Iraqi? Baghdad? You?". He points more on the 'you'. Instead of showing him that I do have the ability to understand, I nod silently.
Then he cracks a few more jokes. I stare hatefully at him. He then says- 'i betchya she's f****** saddam or one of them guys'.
this took it to a whole new level, and I get up (knocking my poor coffee all over the table. There goes a dollar or two), and i reply 'go f*** yourself, because no one else will!'. And i stormed out, pleased at hearing the laughter of everyone in the room.
This event is oh so memorable because, aged 16, it was the First time I ever used the F word. Out loud anyway.

You can't handle the truth
I'm a terrible liar, and its because of that, I cannot be bothered to lie. I'd have to remember the lie anyway, and to tell you the truth, my memory resembles that of a senile 98 year old granny.
When i was asked by people about my opinion on certain things, i simply told the truth. Unfortunatley, that created problems for me. Ranging from people from university following me home, to rumours. You'd think i would suffer from privacy issues, but instead i seemed to become even more carefree.I suppose having a bad reputation means you don't have to meet anyone's standards apart from your own.

Sleepy Street
I know walking around in daylight in your pajamas isn't the 'norm'. But I've done it before in countries ranging from Turkey, to the UK.
I have family (grandparents, aunt, uncle) that each live around two houses away in Baghdad.
If they called on my mobile, that meant i was to wake up, and go straight to their house. Sure. That meant i wouldnt have to do anything apart from lie under the air conditioning.
They rang, i sprawled out of bed, and decided to make my way to their house in my pajamas. They were nice modest comfortable pajamas.
On walking through the door, and seeing their faces, I made a quick mental assesment of wondering who i had murdered.
Walking in your pajamas is a big bad no no.
I'm not sure why, and everytime i asked, i got the same reply of 'we'll tell you later'. Now I'm beginning to suspect that it was all an elaborate hoax or practical joke.

Freedom in Iraq
I admit it, my parents give me the independence i argue for. But woe befall me should i mention the freedom i do get to other iraqi families. Then everyone else ends up thinking I am either some poor neglected child, or that i am a hardcore rebel punk.
I'm neither, I have earned the trust of everyone around me, simply by being the most boring and sensible creature to walk this green earth.
:D or so i seem to my poor unsuspecting parents...(mwuhaha)

So those are seven of my sins i made.


attawie said...

Hilarious, poor touta!

Are you ever gonna share how you hurt your fingers with us? we can trade secrets offline, you know :P

"Never stay in the room with your aunts and mum"

Actually it's true with any khala. earplugs can be an option but I recommend leaving the room ASAP. You really might need a psychiatrist.

Walking in the streets wearing PJs! In Amman, my sister's home is two meters away, only the lift door between our flats. the third flat is empty. with one jump I'm at my sister's flat bragging about being out with PJs on :|

I think since you're not planning to study this year, consider writing for or I bet you already have fans :)

زهرة الراوي said...

بوست كلش حلو بأسلوبج الساخر المعتاد ..
لكن اللي مثلياه هذا البوست هو معاناة ..
يعني الواحد ماكو فد أرض صلبة يستند عليها، هسه بين أرض الغربة وأرض الوطن أكو فروق شاسعة تخلينا نفكر ملاين المرات قبل ما نحجي أو نتكلم، ومع ذلك دائماً نكون محط التعليقات ..
فمابالج لمن تكون غربتج بأراضي كثيرة مختلفة العادات والتقاليد والأفكار و و و و ولمة تكون بأكثر مرحلة حرجة من حياتج واللي هيه تتشكل بيها شخصية الواحد ومعارفه .. ثم من تروحين على كل مكان يتوقعون منج الناس اللي بالمكان إنج تتصرفين كما هم يتصرفون ..

هذا ثمن بسيط للغربة والله يعين على الباقي ..
أسلوب جميل جداً .. أهنؤك عليه :)

pepe said...

Hi Touta. Once a girl told me this saying: when a man dates a woman he gets two pleasures, the first is the date itself and the second is when he tells everything to his friends, and more importantly, the second does not necessarily depends on the actuality of the first. Looks like it also works in Iraq. :)

moonlight said...

Oh, I love how you manage to put a sense of humor on everything you right :) you've made me smile Touta.

"He points more on the 'you'. Instead of showing him that I do have the ability to understand, I nod silently"

Once in a while I have the urge to pretend I don't know English :D it's quite intresting to see what people do and say.

Dr.Violet said...

oh touta i miss your swalif :P
i can tell( i admit ) you have learned too much!
i can congradulate you on that !

-never enter a room full of foreigners in your homeland-

yes, i hate the idea of getting out of iraq bcoz of that!

-Freedom in Iraq-
baby there is no freedon in iraq, and there will NOT be!

-Making fun of Hussam-
to be pert i used to hate all populist songs but i have realized i was wrong!
I can hear iraq's voice in them !

-platonic doesnt exist-
ahhhh touta don't remind me of this please!
the stupid boys here won't understand some thing called "friendship" btween boys and girls!!!

Dear touta i wish you all the best, please stay safe!
hoping you will find real freinds here!
kisses from your REAl friend :)

///RhusLancia said...

Hi Touta!

"platonic doesnt exist"

It does, but it takes a little maturity from both. Sounds like your drive-by boyfriend doesn't have it.

"'go f*** yourself, because no one else will!'"

Great reply! I hope you caused him some introspection, but probably not. At least everyone else had a proper laugh at him.

Have you seen 'Persepolis'? You remind me of the lead girl in that (I mean that in a good way). Take care!

gdp ftw! Öbama.

spinspermy said...

'go f*** yourself, because no one else will!' lol...from an Iraqi 16 gurl..with a delicate use in a sentence.

khalid jarrar said...

crazy touta:)
speaking of memorable mistakes i would like to share one:

i spent nearly 25 years of my life before finding a certain someone :P i dont know if i should ever forgive myself!

Touta said...

pajamas are really comfortable..:P
i havent heard of those 2 websites, but i read some articles in them, and they're really funny. :D

at first i felt guilty of critisizing so much, but i realised you need a certain amount of love to do this. I love Iraq, which is why i want to see it improve and critisize it so much..(or thats my excuse)

hahaha, i've never heard of it before, but now it all makes sense.:D
i suppose if it brings joy, i'll just nod and smile..

thank you, it is nice to hear people's raw opinion sometimes, without it being sugar coated. :D

dr violet,
i do have the feeling that there is some kind of accelerated learning in the kids of iraq, but i suppose each generation has its problems. :) thank you my friend. :D

hi! mentally no one matures utnil they're into their 20's and even then its hit and miss...i'm not going to hold my breath. :)
I've seen persepolis quite recently,its quite nice to see a point of view from Iran, rather than hear the 'they are our enemies' line, or the 'they are our only friends' line. :D

hehe, i still think it's the correct way of speaking to such people.

tell me a secret(or everyone else)! :P Forgive? i'm sure you and the someone should be celebrating...Good luck anyways. :)

programmer craig said...

I'm glad that guy was British and not American! Not that we don't have people like that because we do, but at least now I don't have to try to explain his awful behavior :)

Thanks for sharing these experiences with us, Touta

Touta said...

hmmm, i;m not sure such behaviour can be explained.

and you're welcome. :D

Son of TIGRIS said...

Top notch .. I like your sense of humor.

Two thumbs up.