Thursday, July 29, 2010

We've Moved!

Hi folks, seeing as I've run out of steam here (routine inhibits creativity) I've moved my outlet to

Let's see how long that one lasts!

It's been a good run on Blogger. Maybe Tumblr will inspire a reprise.

Signing off,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

For the Trivia Buffs

I have been following the OMG-Facts Twitter feed since it's early days and absolutely love it. It is perfect for my need for random fact enlightenment and needtoknoweverythingevenifitsuselessness. IF you like silly trivia, you will love this, too.

I further love the fact that it was thought of and is run by a couple of teenagers and was then supported and nourished by the kids who came up with GivesMeHope.

The fact that there are smart entrepreneurial kids out there in our mind-numbing day and age gives me hope.

Monkey Business

This week was one of the few I've had in a while where work was not astoundingly busy and I wasn't chained to my laptop for the entire duration of the work day. I was able to spend some quality time with my office buddies; one old, one new: Minnie and Parallel Universe, both of whom are legal people and are about 4 years older than me.

Minnie joined the company on the same day I did. We bonded over boyfriend stories and gossip as she knows every human being to walk the face of our blue planet. It's incredible. You name him/her and she will already know the hot three-second-old story you're about to tell. Naturally, being the former Gucci Girl and gossip whore that I am, I revel in our morning debriefings.

Parallel Universe joined a few months ago and is a fellow Capricorn who had a very Westernized childhood. She's basically me: wry and random sense of humour, love for childhood cartoon quotes, typical Capricorn traits, prefers to speak in English and a know-it-all. We spent 15 minutes debating whether the Antarctic was considered a desert and ended up using Wikipedia articles as proof of both the veracity and falsity of that statement. We both are still convinced of our rightness. Can you see why I call her Parallel Universe?

Over the course of this week our little trio has discussed the financial merits of selling one's virginity to the highest bidder versus the moral/emotional harm it may cause. Conclusion: based on the $1.3 million or so received by that girl who sold her virginity online in the US, if we stuck that amount in an Egyptian bank and received 5% annual interest, we'd be able to live comfortably on about EGP 30,000 a month for the rest of our lives. Minnie thought it wasn't worth the disgrace but is happy to pimp me out for a cut. Parallel Universe thinks I'm a lunatic for even joking about it. So no cut for her.

We've discussed grandparents who hate us, magic mushroom experiences, my many illnesses and have set up a BBM group dedicated to sharing dirty jokes and making fun of a crazy colleague. Not bad for a week's worth of work, huh?

Now I doubt any of us would have ever thought to be friends had it not been for a shared workplace. I'm too young to run into either of them in any shared social circles (not that I'm out that often anymore anyway) and I think they're too different to strike up an external friendship without any common ground. But I like the fact that we've been brought together and get along so well. Both girls are intelligent, hilarious, quick-witted and genuinely friendly people. They understand, share and sympathize with the frustration that comes with working in our company, which is a lifesaver when it comes to venting. They prove that even in an increasingly superficial world, like-minded folks still exist.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Ad Astra Per Alia Porci

Sometimes you need to see Steinbeck for the way to phrase things. This is one of those times because I am about to announce an impossibility. This is something that in my 23 years on God's green Earth I never thought or even imagined would happen. This is something so absurd that none of you will come close to guessing it.

Drum roll please:

Ladies and gentlemen, after 20-odd years of daily addiction, I have jumped off the bandwagon. My name is Eureka, and I am 16 days sober of nail-biting.

[I tried to find a crowd gasping sound effect for good measure but no dice. Pretend it's here]

Yes, my nails are growing out and have begun to peek above my fingertips. They look horrendously ugly (nothing new there) and are getting in the way of just about everything (typing, buttoning, zipping, nose picking, wiping, etc...) and I have accidently scratched myself on my than one occasion.

My bigger problem has been the lack of stress relief/distraction now that my nails are not being bitten. You see the big chocolate brown ape permanently perched on my back? The one I'm constantly swatting and arguing with? Yes, the one trying to pull nits out of what's left of my hair. That's him. He's there to warn everyone to STAY AWAY FROM THE CRAZY LADY IN WITHDRAWAL! I am fussy, I am itchy, I am running on a very short fuse and all I can think about is wanting to have just one tiny nibble on any of them.

Eureka's right brain: oh, look! The nail on my left index finger is growing too fast, if I just have the top off it'll be even.
Eureka's left brain: DON'T DO IT! If you start you know you'll keep going and all your pain and suffering will be in vain. Stay strong Eureka, stay strong.

A little while later:

Eureka's right brain: my right pinkie is uneven and keeps getting caught in fabric, it won't hurt to sort it out with just a tiny bite...
Eureka's left brain: But think of the CHILDREN! If you can't do it for yourself do it for them. What'll they say when you come home with no nails? The disappointment, the tears, the horror on their poor little faces. Can you bear it? Can you ever forgive yourself?
Eureka: Whoa there brain, melodramatic much?
Eureka's left brain: hey it worked to distract you, didn't it?
Eureka: yeah, I guess you're right
Eureka's left brain: just doin' my duty
Eureka's right brain: (sulkily under breath) pussy...

Sigh, it have been tough. I have had my moments of weakness as you can see. But this is the longest I've gone (both chronometrically and in terms of nail measurement) so we'll see how it pans out.

What prompted this, those of you who know my indifference towards nails and love for biting may ask. It is a combination of my masochistic need to figure out my own limits of endurance (see FMF) and exasperation with everyone and their mother's need to inform me that my nails are an abhorrence and I should not be seen in public this way. I've grown tired of people grabbing my hands and lecturing me on being 7. I don't care about what people think, I'm just tired of hearing the same tape playing over and over.

I still don't care about how my nails look and I am not looking forward to the hassle of maintaining them, but I want to prove to myself that I can do it. And hopefully people will start playing a new song.

Damn it! I just realized I didn't take a before photo. Snap.

Eureka's right brain: All the more reason to bite, my dear!
Eureka and her left brain: SHUT UP!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dancing on the Ladder

There is an Arabic saying which is transliterated as 'danced on the ladder' (ra'ast 'al sillim). The English equivalent would be 'straddled the fence'. I've often been told that this describes my Identity (with a capital I) situation aptly. I am neither from here nor there (I feel a Dr. Seuss rhyme coming along. Oh, oh wait... Nah, over it).

I do not fit in in Cairo. I do not fit in with the general population. I do not fit in with my social circles - not if we're being completely truthful. I get along with people; I am friendly and socially intelligent enough to know how to be in my society. That doesn't mean I necessarily enjoy it.

I remember hanging out with Roonies and here then-new (now-ex) boyfriend and his friends for the first time a few years ago. We went to some cafe and everyone sat around joking. As usual, I was the only Christian in the group. Inevitably, the best way to become the life of the party is to crack Christian jokes - how Christians are referred to as 'blue boned' ('adma zar'a) and 'four feathered' (arba'a reesha), etc... Little things that aren't exactly offensive but are unlikely to come out of a Christian's mouth in mixed company. And are certainly unlikely to come out of my 'Americanized' mouth as such phrases aren't commonly known the upper class.

On our way home Roonies applauded me on getting along with them so well and having such a good time. I explained to her that I in fact did not like her (repeated for current boyfriend's benefit: now-ex) boyfriend's friends and did not intend to repeat the outing. She found it strange that I could seem to have such a good time but not have actually enjoyed myself. I found it strange that she found it strange. What was wrong with me that I had to pretend to have a good time? I seem to do that very often.

I think differently to most Egyptians. I do not understand some of the social intricacies and have a bit of an elitist attitude (Roonies and Cheb Khaled would call this the understatement of the year). Fine. I'm a snob. I was brought up to believe, in Daddy's words, that 'we are a breed apart'. Copyright Eureka's Dad. Copyright underscored one million and nine times. He raised us to believe this wholeheartedly. And I do believe this. Purely based on the fact that I have not met anyone else who thinks or was raised quite like me.

This is doubly evidenced by the fact that I do not fit in abroad either. Hence the 'straddling' of the 'fence' and the 'dancing' on the 'ladder'. I don't see myself being a normal 23-year-old in NYC or London. I've spent enough time in major American and European cities with metropolitan peers to have a solid sense of their Identity (again, capital I). It isn't quite mine, either.

Even amongst my friends, I am told that I am not quite the same. Cheb Khaled says I'm an Excellance (stress placed on the second syllable for pronunciation). In Cheb Khaled vernacular, that means of nobility. Over dinner on Wednesday, an old school friend was assessing my tiny dating pool and declared that I had it much harder because I needed a specific type of person within a tiny Christian minority. So basically, I have 2 and a quarter people to choose from.

Oh, joy.

Hey, at least you folks got a blog post out of this. Maybe this straddling the fence business can be of use, after all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thanking the Unsung Heroines

Couldn't have put it any better. Unfortunately, ours is a society that is not welcoming of such acts. I hope that changes. There are so many wonderful little lives looking to be loved.


I owe you more than a poem but this is one of my favourites and will have to tide you over until I can post properly.


For my son

The way a tired Chippewa woman
Who’s lost a child gathers up black feathers,
Black quills & leaves
That she wraps & swaddles in a little bale, a shag
Cocoon she carries with her & speaks to always
As if it were the child,
Until she knows the soul has grown fat & clever,
That the child can find its own way at last;
Well, I go everywhere
Picking the dust out of the dust, scraping the breezes
Up off the floor, & gather them into a doll
Of you, to touch at the nape of the neck, to slip
Under my shirt like a rag—the way
Another man’s wallet rides above his heart. As you
Cry out, as if calling to a father you conjure
In the paling light, the voice rises, instead, in me.
Nothing stops it, the crying. Not the clove of moon,
Not the woman raking my back with her words. Our letters
Close. Sometimes, you ask
About the world; sometimes, I answer back. Nights
Return you to me for a while, as sleep returns sleep
To a landscape ravaged
& familiar. The dark watermark of your absence, a hush.

- David St. John

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