Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Obligatory Resolutions-to-be-Broken Post

So I've been pretty sucky lately regarding all this blogging business. I have nothing to say, I have no fun stories to tell, I have no boring stories to tell, and I basically have no thoughts worth mentioning; they are neither silly, nor random, nor insightful in any way. They no longer come neatly packaged in cloud-shaped thought bubbles, are unaccompanied by bright yellow light bulbs, and are never followed by a laugh track, a giggle, or even a snort. 

It has become so bad that I now don't even daydream significantly. That used to be my claim to fame! Sit me anywhere and I could switch off and wander through the many lands and scenarios of my mind watermelons (because mine are significantly bigger than grapes). 

What happened? I honestly don't know. I'm not depressed. I'm not sick. I'm not morose in any way. I think I'm just demotivated by life in general. Nothing new is happening. I don't have a specific group of people I can call mine. I'm just bouncing around aimlessly, going from work to home, work laptop to home laptop, and the occasional night out with a different set of people every time. I have no steady distraction from the mundane. That kind of allows your mind to switch off, never to be restarted again. The amount of time I waste online doesn't help matters either. 

I seem to be complaining about this often, but never do anything about it. Which conveniently leads me to the point of this post. I resolve to climb out of my persistent funk in the following ways:

  1. I will rekindle my friendships and reestablish my social circles by going out more often;
  2. I will take up yoga. This is because I figured it was the only way I could tone up the flab a bit without exerting too much effort. I still refuse to actually (shudder) exercise;
  3. I will lose 5 kilograms by eating better along with the yoga;
  4. I will make work more stimulating by branching out more from number crunching;
  5. I will travel more often, and not just to shop.
Those are the changed I would like to go through with in 2009. Whether or not I ever will is up for debate. I'm thinking I'll achieve 1 or 2 at best out of 5. But hey, that would be a start, wouldn't it? 

Fingers crossed!

Happy New Year everyone!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa, Baby!


Merry Christmas my funny little monkeys! To those of you celebrating, have a great food and family filled day. To those of you who aren't, go enjoy the leftovers at a friend's house without having to sit through the harrowing 8 hours of "quality family time".


You know what that means. 



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ghost of Christmas Past

The day finally called for a sweater. I don't know if this has always been the case and I just tend to forget, or if winter is truly late this year, but it feels like it should have been sweater weather about a month ago. 

Seeing as I come from a family of procrastinators, it should come as no surprise to you that we are behind schedule regarding Christmas decorations, shopping, etc... Today we got around to decorating our Christmas tree. We are quite proud of our tree, which we consider to be one of the prettiest in Cairo every year. Of course, the six and a half of you who've been to my house concur. You have no choice since I've spent the greater part of my life bribing you all with the wonders of my mother's kitchen. 

We hope to get the rest of the house done up before December 25th. The likelihood of that happening wholly depends on - well, on whether we ever bother to get off our bottoms, really. Even my mother, who is the personification of family traditions and Christmas spirit, isn't too into it this year. I think we're all getting too old, too complacent and too fat to climb up all five rungs of the ladder to place the mistletoe above the door. Oh well, it's not like there's anyone to put it up for anyway. 

I've always had a bit of a problem with this time of year, because I tend to be a muddled jumble of conflicting thoughts and (whisper it) emotions. Mid-December ruffles my inner-feathers. It serves as an annual reminder of my greatest teenage regret. It just reminds me of how self-centred, jealous, and self-deprecating I was at 14. It reminds me of how superficial we all were. How little we knew and yet how much we thought we did. 

Whenever the winds blows in with the first nips of stinging nettle air, whenever the Christmas lights go up at home, whenever the fleece socks are pulled over my numb toes, I think of someone I hurt all those years ago. Someone I greatly admired, greatly envied, and did a great injustice to. 

I knew her for as long as I could remember. She was in the Yellow class of my year, I was in Red. We grew up semi-friends, connected by our shared birthday; she was a year older and thereby the wiser one. The one I always looked up to, the one who was always so much more grown up than I could ever be. 

She was always a free spirit. So much more free than we all were; at least that's how she seemed to me. She must have had her own share of insecurities and angst, but I never saw it. All I saw was a wild head of curly brown hair crowning a popular, friendly and achingly cool head. She was friends with everyone, she dated the cutest boys in our year. And yet she was always the mysterious one. The one who you always wanted to find out more about, even when you were her close friend. 

We shared a birthday. That made me somewhat cool by association. Looking back, I realize I was well-liked by everyone at school. The bigger kids knew me, the little kids weren't afraid of me. I was even popular, in the way a Betty Cooper type can be. But I never saw any of that. I saw my unibrow. I saw my flat chest. I saw the fact that I was the brainy one who liked to read but didn't have the coolest sneakers because I didn't realize those were the cool ones when I was in the store. I never picked up on the trends as a kid. I just wore what my mother bought me. All I was good at was other people's homework, other people's favours, and being the butt of other people's jokes. The boys never saw me. I was just another one of the guys. The girls never looked up to me. I was just in their group because I could write seven different book reviews without the teacher noticing they were all by the same person. 

I couldn't see the fact that people genuinely liked me. I still have some of that self-deprecation left over. But I'm a lot better about it now. I have Dixie and Daisy to thank for that. And my eyebrow lady. 

On my 14th and her 15th birthday, I got a call from a mutual friend inviting me to her surprise birthday party. I also got an earful of gossip about another friend who apparently wanted to pick a bone or two with the newly-15-year-old girl. Being 14 and especially naive, I got my hopes up. I thought the surprise was for me, too. They would never tell me that it was for me, too. That would just ruin the surprise. 

So I go. And I'm crushed when there is no singing of my name, too. When there is no second cake, and as usual, it's all about her. No one even wished me a happy birthday that day. No one remembered.

We share a ride home with her two best friends, who are also good friends of mine. I stirred up quite a bit of trouble and told them about what I'd been told on the phone earlier that day, about how she was going to get it good from the other girl. This caused a big argument with the other girl, of course. And I got the verbal whooping from her at school the next day. She was the school me3alima (head Mean Girl, for lack of a better word) and we shared the bus to school. I ratted out the other friend who'd told me. I was humiliated in front of the class. I deserved it. But I never forgave her for ratting me out to the Mean Girl. We had a strained relationship after that, the shared birthday girl and I. She never stopped being nice to me, but she never really spoke much to me either. 

11 months later, in mid-December during our Christmas break, she died. Her family's yacht went up in flames while they all slept. 

I never forgave myself for not letting things go. For never apologizing, and never patching things up. It may seem silly now, still feeling guilty over a childish spat. But I still feel like an ass, every year. I let her down. I let myself down. She remained the better person. I never knew the date of her death, nor did I go to the wake because I was in London that Christmas. 

Our birthday was always the first day back to school after Christmas break. I came back to a horrible birthday filled with special assemblies and memory books and tears. They didn't remember my birthday that year, either. They planted a tree in her honour instead. She was supposed to turn 16 that year. Sweet 16. So many milestones, so much life left to live. 

It's funny how I think about her now instead of on our birthday. I guess I still want to keep that as mine. Make up for the ones I lost to her. Still selfish, even with the guilt. 

I can think of others I've hurt much more than I hurt her. But she's the one who's struck me hardest because I can never take it back. I can't make amends. 

I try to think of her in a positive light. I try to think happy thoughts of her often. I want her to know that she will not be forgotten. She will forever be cool and zany Shamzy. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Question for My Fellow Film Buffs

Recently (read: over the last 24 hours), I have become very interested in film scores. This is the extent to which I have no life. This is also an indication to my having just watched Schindler's List. And cried. For the zillionth time. Because Hollywood has a special knack for making gut-wrenching Nazi movies.

Now, because I am L-A-Z-Y, and because I have such an intelligent readership, I will ask you a question that will doubtlessly save me lots of time researching the best (and hopefully saddest) film scores. 

So, my darling readers, what is your favourite film score? 


Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm Lazy, I Know

But better late than never, right? 

Also, I figured I should give you all some time to submit questions, but apparently I have even FEWER readers than I thought! 

So, since they're only two questions, I'll be thorough for a decent post to make up for my absence. 

First up is the mighty Fesh's question:

"Can you elaborate more on the crying kid in the plane back to elCairo?"

Sigh, alright Fesh. Only because you asked so nicely. However, if I end up screaming in the middle of the night because of the nightmares you've brought back, I will seriously come up to elCold Country and hunt you down. I pack a mean left. Trust. 

First, we must visualize the seating arrangements. At the front of the economy cabin area, where the dingy baby bassinets are placed, sat a youngish couple with their maybe 4 or 5-year-old son, and a 6-ish month old baby. I could not tell if it was a boy or a girl. However, my gut says it was a boy. So let's humour it for efficiency's sake. 

Roonies was seated to their immediate right, one row back, separated by the aisle. I was seated about 4 rows behind her. Yes, we do not sit together on planes. That would be catastrophic. 

The elder child was very well behaved, colouring or watching Kung Fu Panda for the duration of the flight. That is the only point I will concede to the parents. 

Those torturous, evil, malevolent parents. The poor baby was obviously uncomfortable flying. Who wouldn't be uneasy being in a strangely shaped tin filled with smelly, grumpy strangers? Worse still, who wouldn't despise being placed in a dirty, smelly, lumpy bassinet? I sure as hell would have thrown an identical - if not more vociferous - tantrum if I were placed in that thing. 

Basically, the baby would scream his poor little head off every time his parents would place it in that sorry excuse for a bassinet. The moment he is placed on one of their laps, he shuts up. He even smiled on occasion. But for some inexplicable reason (apart from it being an obvious and successful form of psychological terrorism), the parents found it imperative that this be the ideal time and place to teach their 6-month-old to sit/lie where he is placed. Because an unfamiliar tin filled with menacing strangers is exactly where an infant will willingly learn a new social skill. 

A 4-hour flight of persistent wailing and screaming proves that theory WRONG WRONG WRONG. 

***

Our second questioner is an individual simply known as Anonymous. Anonymous asked two perfectly good, if somewhat awkward (for me) questions. Seeing as I willingly brought this upon myself, I will be a good sport and answer honestly. 

a) "Why are you so afraid of commitment?" 

Very good question, Anonymous. One I have asked myself repeatedly during my relationship-lifespan. One that requires deep and profound heart things inside my chest to take place. Such things are difficult to envision, let alone achieve. 

But, for you, I will try. 

I think the reasons are three-fold. 

1. Having witnessed several difficult and unhappy (at best) marriages in my immediate family, I am adamantly opposed to putting myself in the same situation. However, rather than channel my experiences towards finding someone who would make me happy (which is the positive thing to do), I have instead built a psychological wall between myself and the very concept of intimacy. This is a defense mechanism to protect myself from an unhappy future. 

2. I have been raised to think very highly of myself. This is in some ways great, and in others a curse. The most obvious curse is that I don't think anyone is good enough for me. This leads to the third reason, 

3. My mother is also insanely difficult to please as she is the original believer of there being no one good enough for me. I am a textbook Mummy-devotee, one of those Freudian complexes I am somewhat aware of but tend to mislabel (kindly inform me of the name if you know it), so I am a blind follower of my mother's beliefs and advice. What she says, goes. Without thought. The few times I have gone against her in any decision have resulted in her being completely right, and I being either hurt or humiliated. So Mummy knows best. Always. 

Your second question was: b) "[Are you] satisfied with your job or not? We keep hearing about Mr. Boss Man but we never heard your verdict on the job you have."

Once again, a good question. In some respects I love my job. I love the people, the prestige factor (big shiny companies are good), and the boost in self-esteem I get from knowing that although I have absolutely no previous background in finance, I'm doing a very good job and have proven myself to be an asset. I also love to learn new things, and I couldn't have been given a bigger challenge in which to learn in. 

However, the number-crunching in and of itself tends to get boring. And the company's bureaucracy and general lack of appreciation of its employees is an annoyance, to say the least (BIG company is bad). But, after a recent conversation with one of the Big Bosses, this is likely to change. Once I know more, you'll be the first people to hear it! 

Anonymous, I hope these answers have been satisfactory. I haven't figured out if i know you or not. Don't worry, I won't chase up on your identity if you don't provide any clues :) 

Fesh, sorry for the late story. Hope I don't end up killing you! 

Happy Eid to those of you celebrating Eid El Adha. And thank you for the three-day break! 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oscar Buzz

Baby Kangaroo just posted a fun little competition of sorts on his blog. He's suggesting that participants read up on the ongoing Oscar (Academy Awards if you prefer) buzz and post their own predictions. Winner is paid about $20 from each loser.

Not a bad pot (depending on the number of people who join in) for doing something you're bound to do in your own head anyway!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to the Old Grind

I know, I know, I'm late as usual. Been a mad week. I think Mr. Boss Man subconsciously wanted to punish me for the week in Paris, even though I made good by hunting HALF the city for his 14 month old nephew's asthma medicine. Because I'm good-hearted like that.

Right, so the week consisted of food, shopping, walking, shopping, food, and a tiny bit of sight-seeing, mainly to places I haven't managed to see before (grace a Tinkerbell being able to call Paris home). Highlight of the trip: Roonies being left to her own devices in a shop and managing the following sentence, "je ne com pom prom pas!" 

Personal highlight: Roonies being completely dependant on my French :P LOVE IT. Complete domination is the way I like to roll. 

Sadly, it flew by, meaning I was back at my hole in the wall with a laptop attached to my tireless fingers before I knew it. Damn you, Father Time. Couldn't you hit pause or something? 

On a side note, the flight back was the longest, noisiest, most irritating flight I have ever been cursed enough to endure. Take one screaming child, add 4 hours of being in a confined space with it and no chance to escape, and you'll catch my drift. I won't say more because I am trying to block that experience out of my memory forever.

Anyway, Mr. Boss Man had me working on a model all week. Only for JP Morgan to send us the same thing as I was wrapping mine up. This meant I had to totally rework mine in accordance to theirs. Double the work, same amount of time. Stupid assflickers. Of course at an investment bank, you have 5 people working on the model. Where I am, you have little old me, and an ancient internet connection with half the internet blocked by our tyrannical IT department. Exactly. No NY Magazine, no Dlisted, no Fbook. Nothing to help the research and number crunching flow. 

But enough of that. I'm sure Mr. Boss Man has turned into a boring and repetitive issue to you by now. Unfortunately, he is the person I see most often, which is why he features so prominently here. Sorry folks. 

Right. In order to combat my recurring bouts of writer's block, I will open the floor to questions from my adoring public. Ask me anything, so long as it isn't perverted, and I will be happy to post an entry answering your questions. 

Bracing myself!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let's Try It Again, Shall We?

After last winter's failed attempt at landing in Paris, a second try is now upon us. Roonies and I will be flying to Paris tomorrow morning, and will be back on Saturday evening. 

How did I manage such a feat after a month off in London, you ask? By catching Mr. Boss Man off guard with puppy eyes, a whimper, a sad little smile, and after an extremely long day at the office. I think he was so apprehensive after my intro that he was relieved into submission by the actual request. The conversation went something like this:

It is 8pm and we are wrapping up a project. 

Eureka: Mr. Boss Man? I have a really really awful request and, seriously, if it'll upset you even a decimal point of a percent, just say no, and I'll completely and totally understand. [Insert big watery eyes, raised eyebrows, and scared smile here]

Mr. Boss Man: Whoa, what's up? 

Eureka: Well, my friend is going to Paris next week and invited me along, and since accommodation is free, I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. But if it's a problem I won't be upset, I know it's a lot to ask with the Swede gone and everything. [Apply hopeful, 4-year-old asking for a pet expression here]

Mr. Boss Man: Oh, go have fun. You scared me I thought something was horribly wrong! Just had over your projects to the new girl and, if you can, pick up my nephew's asthma medicine with the prescription I'll have sent to you. 

And with that, Paris Trip Attempt 2 was conceived.

I already know the one out of 6 and a half of you that resides in Paris, but if, by any chance, one of the other five and a half of you happens to be there anytime during the week, drop me a line! I could definitely use to company (and the human shield) seeing as Roonies will be spending most of the week in a highly intelligent and probably pretentious and boring World Bank finance-related course. 

I, on the other hand, will be spending copious amounts of Daddy's (and, sadly, my) money at Printemps. And over-priced bistro's. Because I never learnt how to live on a budget and tend to live beyond my means. 

I will probably indulge my faux-artsy side as well... Just to say I didn't spend the whole time shopping. A trip to Montmartre for some moules should do the trick. 

Adieu mes amis!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Blog!

Dear Eurekaisms,

366 days ago (it is, after all, a leap year), you came into our world blinking and wavering on your little webling footsies. You were born at a time of uncertainty, as a beacon of hope for unfortunate, bored souls, very much like your mother. 

As with all spur of the moment ideas, I was unsure whether or not you would live to see your first birthday. Yes, it was a terrifying time. Would I be able to keep you interesting? Would I be able to keep you funny? Would you be updated regularly, or suffer my lack of discipline and focus? I must admit, there have been times where I thought of giving you up. Yes, I have had my moments of weakness. I was unsure of your development, of your entertainment value, and of my ability to keep you going. I knew that it would be better to delete you than keep you up, alone and abandoned. 

But the thought of leaving you tore my heart in two. You have given me so much, and introduced me to a whole world of possibilities within the interwebs. I have read heartfelt musings, funny familial anecdotes, and snarky political commentary through your links to the rest of the blogging community. I have followed the lives of people as far away as Singapore and Texas and that mystical place they call Maadi. I have learnt that regardless of location, of income, and of roots, we all have the same fundamental worries, experiences and senses of humour. Most importantly, we all believe in the importance of the correct use of a semi-colon. 

You have put up with my gripes, my groans, my failed attempts at wit, and my struggles with displaying or communicating emotion. You have quietly listened as I tried to chip at my defence mechanisms, and have encouraged my mediocre stabs at flash fiction. You have nurtured my love for the written word, and given my rusty brain an escape route where nothing I write or think is stupid or superficial. You have given me 6 and a half dedicated readers from New York, Munich, the UK, and that other weird place they call the land of princes. These readers have been engaging, supportive, and generally great to me, and I thank you (and them) for being my webbed friends in arms. 

You have been my outlet, my friend, my child. 

Thank you blog, and thank you cherished readers. 

Happy first birthday Eurekaisms,

Your [obviously deluded] mummy,

Eureka. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

GObama!

Today is a good day. Today is a day of grins and euphoria. Today is the day I can happily say that my birth country has redeemed itself, both in my eyes and the eyes of the world.

Today is the day where I can once again hold my head high when I say, "I am an American."

Because today I woke up to this, a new America:


An America reborn, an America of acceptance, of change, of ambition, of audacious hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daddy's Dictums #2

Mummy is on the phone talking to a real estate agent. As all women do when they want something, she is being sweet and charming and complimentary. Unbeknownst to her, she's calling him the wrong name. 

Bloft: Who is she flirting with?

Daddy: She's having cyber sex with someone and she doesn't even know his name.

Bloft: It's called phone sex, Dad. 

Where's a Genie When You Need Him?

Nesticleez: "I wish you really were Empress of the world."

Genie, if you're out there, get on it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Begrudged Relapse

Oh, the shame, the horror, the agony. 

I cannot show my face to you, my faithful 6 and a half readers. What will you think of me now. How can I continue to post here, in my purported adamant disregard for fads and frenzies, while unbeknownst to about 2 and a quarter of you, I have committed the ultimate sacrilege. I have about faced, gone against my most fundamental principles, and relapsed into the floundering depths of social reintegration. Yes, it is true. No, don't look at me, I beg you. 

My name is Eureka, and I am back on the dreaded Facebook. Albeit, grudgedly. But that does not excuse the act itself, far from it. It only compounds the hypocrisy of my crime. 

Forgive me dear readers, for I have sinned gravely. I have forsaken you, and betrayed your trust. I am worthless, petty, and to be pitied for succumbing to the temptation. 

Blame the human condition for requiring social interaction. Blame Egyptian youth for allowing it to encapsulate so-called socializing. Blame Obama for being so damn cool.

Better yet, blame my mother for calling me a hermit. 

Is it my fault that the best way to appease her is by regaining my currently ephemeral popularity? Thankfully, it isn't. It is my fault for abandoning my world in the first place. Blame graduation. Blame Mr. Boss Man. Blame Roonies for making fun of my being on Facebook.

Better yet, blame my mother for calling Facebook a degenerate waste of time. 

I told you, there's no pleasing that woman. 

Isn't rubbing her disdain for Facebook in her face fun? Bloft will love this. 

You know what pisses me off most about all this? My email account is going to be bombarded with Facebook notifications that I can't see during the day because the IT Geek Gods have blocked half the interwebbings. Snozboogers. 

But I digress.

My readers, my friends, my bloggingmen. I pray you find it in your heart to forgive my transgressions. 

If you cannot, check out Dixie and Daisy on my Facebook profile. That should be adequate compensation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

White Flag

I am tired.

Tired of life, tired of routine, tired of monotony, tired of me. I am tired of waking up each morning wondering what happened to the day before. Wondering which day of the week it was, and praying for the speedy arrival of Thursday, 5 p.m., where I will finally do good on the promise I made myself a lifetime ago to do something interesting, something different, something exciting, something rewarding. I am tired of doing the same thing every work day, of reading the same websites in the same order, looking at the same figures, same multiples, same companies, same chemicals and projects. An endless stream of numbers, names, and symbols that mean nothing to me, and will never make enough sense to become more than a worker bee in a highly competitive hive. Tired of coming home to yet another unbending routine of chores, of tv shows, and sleep. Only to wake up and do it all again. Is this how my youth will pass me by? Is this what I will look back on when I am past the so-called age of folly? I disappoint myself before even reaching an age of remorse and reminiscence.

I am tired of my own monotony. I am tired of not having the motivation or drive or genuine desire to make the effort to change. I am tired of making promises of exercise, of intellectual stimulation, of social reintegration - all of which I know I will break even as I make them. I am tired of being disappointed in myself. If I so flippantly and regularly let myself down, how can I expect others to not do the same?

I am tired of waiting for the phone to ring. I am tired of believing you will call. I'm tired of you letting me down without even realizing it, because you're too self-absorbed and important to notice. I am tired of wishing you weren't so perfect and knowing I couldn't find better. I am tired of knowing you will be the one that got away. And I am tired of knowing there is nothing I can do about it without obliterating the last tiny shred of dignity I have left. I am tired of wondering what I did wrong; why you never even gave it a shot. I am tired of feeling unwanted, unattractive, unloved.

I am tired of the lingering perpetual depression permeating my family. I am tired of watching us battle for every breath, claw for every smile, struggle for every moment's peace of mind.

I am tired of having no real talent, no niche, no dream, no aspiration, no future in mind. I am tired of kidding myself, making a fool of myself every day when I pretend to be an intelligent, educated individual with something to offer. I have nothing to offer but a vacuous, unthinking, porous lump of calcified matter in my head. I have nothing to say, nothing to add, nothing to create.

I am tired of mourning for a country which does not want to help itself. I am tired of looking out the window to see a woman living in a small garbage dump on the roof of a semi-erect structure with her poultry, her sheep, and her laundry hanging on a line only to be dirtied by the pollution in our smoggy, car exhaust-ridden excuse for air. I am tired of knowing that the establishment does not want to improve her standard of living because it would mean risking a revolution. I am tired of knowing that the revolution these people so desperately need would inevitably mean my own displacement, impoverishment, or death. I am tired of being the rope being tugged between two opposing teams because at the end of the day, I will be the only loser.

I am tired of feeling lonely. I am tired of feeling like a failure. I am tired of all my what if's, why's, and how come's.

I am very tired.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Choices

She soldiered on brusquely, constantly looking over her shoulder as if being chased by an unseen assailant. She had to keep moving, she had to keep her mind clear, fixed on its objective. She couldn't afford to loser her nerve now. Not after so many months of incubation, of fear, of meticulous planning. The stakes were too high, the consequences too great. She'd watched the leaves change as she waited for this moment. She smelled the flowers bloom when the package finally arrived. Backing out now was out of the question.

She fired several tuts in rapid succession at a man beating his donkey as she hurried passed. For all her 14 years, she still couldn't understand human cruelty. How malicious and violent towards creatures they depended on for their livelihood. Towards creatures offering purity and love in return. Weren't we all God's creatures in the end?

The package was held close to her chest, wrapped airtight in an innocuous black garbage bag. Her heart raced. It was a wonder its beats hadn't drowned out the roar of the traffic. The traffic. Hundreds of eyes glaring at her. Their glinting accusations merging into a river of blood, bile and milk as each car honked past.

She shook her head violently, trying to push the paranoia out of her head. Keep walking. Keep moving. March. March. Don't think. Her determination grew more steadfast with ever chant. Unconsciously, she gripped the package ever tighter; she only noticed when she gasped for breath, it had been pushing so tightly against her lungs. She had to be more careful. The package couldn't be bruised. It couldn't be disturbed.

Nervously, she eyed her passersby. Where they able to discern the contents of the package? Were those too glares of disapproval? Her worry quickly turned to scorn. Where were they to judge? Who were they to chastise, to invoke their honour as they stoned or slit her open? How could they know her circumstances? She was doing as best she could for everyone involved. Her conscience would be cleared tonight. Her conscience must be cleared tonight. No blame would be laid on her.

She glanced around her one last time and slipped into the dark, quieter alley she'd chosen a few months before. Close enough to the main street to be frequented, quiet enough for disturbances to be heard and hopefully heeded. The government-collected garbage cans lay sideways, overflowing. She chose the softest looking bag and shooed the cats away. Gingerly but rapidly, she placed the package in the midst of the rubbish and fled as fast as her feet could muster, back into the tide of Cairo's never-ending traffic.

But amidst and above all the sounds of the sleepless city, she could only hear the cries and wails of the package, as her blood congealed over his tiny body, attracting the cats' appetites, and the cold night breeze caused the bag to rustle over his mouth.

Her conscience did not clear that night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Questioning Human Emotion in the Car

This is the train of thought I dabbled in (because we all know I am not conditioned to really think, just pretend to think - half-think if you will) on the way home from work today:

Today I was trying to figure out what feelings were. Why do we find it so important to feel, to have "real" emotions; why do these feelings make us human? Why do we place so much importance on how they make us different to other animals?

Not that I got any answers.

But to explain myself, consider this. If you went through life without much emotion - just the monotonous no feeling mode – wouldn’t you go crazy? Or at least think something was wrong with you in comparison to all the ‘normal’ people? We place a lot of our sense of normalcy on the ability to feel, the chemical changes in our brain. When those go wrong, we're labelled sociopaths, or psychologically unstable. An inability to empathise or experience emotion is deemed undesirable by society, by psychology.

But why? Why is "feeling" so important?

Each question leads to another.

Emotions are a focal point to every person. They almost dictate you to a certain extent. Why are feelings such an essential part to our being and humanity?

See what I mean?

Then I got Doolittle involved in my thoughts. She said that “Emotions may be an inconvenience, but no one can go through life without them. They are what we know, write about, read about, and feel on a daily basis. We have no choice. Someone who feels nothing is just an impossible idea.”

So I said: “people who are considered psychologically unwell are like that. People like psychopaths, serial killers, etc… they don't even need to be dangerous, they just don't feel the way we do.”

Doolittle: what do you mean? Of course they FEEL. I’d say they feel more than average amount of feeling. They do feel... It might not be the same, but the root of what they do comes down to simple feelings which are universal. Serial killers, people who are deemed psychologically unwell... I think they feel as much if not more than we do. They might do things which we would never be capable of, but the cause/reason for it is all about feelings/emotions. There is no way we can separate what we feel and what we do and how we are.

Then there are people who try to separate the two as much as possible. It’s like a scale. You and I belong on a kind of "emotionally restrained and protective" part of the spectrum. Then other people who can easily act on what they feel, people who you can see as being a certain way because of how they feel about things... they belong to another part of the spectrum.

Eureka: And at the end of the day, we are all dictated to varying extents by our emotions. Again, why is that the way we're wired? For example, why do we need to phrase our sentences with respect to the feelings of those we are speaking to? Isn’t that a form of limitation on expression?

Doolittle: It is. We are trained not to hurt people.

Eureka: Doesn't that pose as a form of violation of that fundamental right? 

Doolittle: In a way… There are just unspoken, unseen lines in the sand sort of thing. Limitations which we can’t change.

Eureka: So, once again, we are limiting ourselves because of emotion. We are dictated by it. Why do we need emotion?

Doolittle: We don’t need it. It’s a part of us/part of everything. It’s a thing we have zero control over. 

Eureka: Our hands are a part of us. Our noses  are a part of us. Blinking is a part of us. We do not obsess over there. They do not have a significant say in our lives. So why do we place feelings  on such a pedestal? When I have dry eyes, for example, or a broken finger, I do not lock myself in a roomand mourn my very existence. But when my feelings are hurt I’d rather lock myself up than face the world. They have a stronger influence than the rest of me. The human is conditioned to place their emotions on a higher level than their physical selves. And their perception of their physical self is  influenced by their emotions. 

Then we got sidetracked by the entry on Wikipedia for "Emotion," and how we liked to look everything up in reference books because we needed to know everything. Which lead to the importance of bibliographies, how tired we'd become of the same old Cairo night scene, Nabakov, and the first sex scenes we'd seen on television as children. 

Yes, we have a very eclectic shared stream of thought. Makes for more interesting conversations. 

But back to my original half-baked thought. What do you think about feelings? Are they as important as we make them seem to be?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Daddy's Dictums #1 (Aside from his one-liners)

Daddy, my hot Aunt, my mum and I are having lunch at Katameya Heights (a golf club we've been members of since its establishment 11 years ago) when, out of the blue, he looks at my aunt and says: 

"I wonder what you'd look like with a beard."

Beat

He turns to my mother and says:

"And I wonder what you'd look like without a beard."


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mixed Basket of Sorts

Our departments finally moved floors today, after months of office limbo. Having seen the floorplan a couple of weeks prior, my boss had reserved a lovely little spot for me at my request. The area was right next to a huge window, with lots of warm sunlight streaming in, a ledge I could sit on when I felt like a change, a pretty decent view of the Nile, and most importantly, copious amounts of privacy, since I would be hidden from view. 

He made sure it was mine because, and I am quoting him here, "you are one of the people whose happiness we care about."

This morning, as we were all packing our things, my desk phone rings. 

Mr. Boss Man: Eureka, I have something to say that'll upset you, but makes me happy. Please forgive me, but I have decided that it is imperative for you to be seated right in front of my and Bashful's offices.

Eureka: ... Ok, Mr. Boss Man. Whatever you say. 

I am internally saying: fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Mr. Boss Man: I'm really sorry, I know you liked your spot, but I think it's much better for you to be as near as possible. 

He apologises a little more while I reassure him that it's quite alright and I understand. 

Now, I see the positive side to this - Mr. Boss Man thinks I'm essential to the team and would like me to be nearby so we could be as productive as possible. However, I would like him to note that my original spot was no more than 7 metres away from his office. I am not kidding. 7 metres is 10 normal-spaced steps. I take largish strides, so it's more late 7 Eureka steps. Not exactly a distance worth reconsidering. 

I would further like to note that I now have zero privacy and zero natural light. I am basically thrown in the middle of a crowded corridor that will be bustling and noisy and gloomy. And everyone will be able to see exactly what is on my screen. Meaning on slow days, I will be unable to mindlessly surf the web, or play Zuma, or Luxor, or even Solitaire. I will be unable to sneak a peek at any of my shows. I will be unable to even read the news for an extended period of time, as all of this will be seen as unprofessional, unproductive, and surely lead to a reduction of my measly salary at some point. I will be unable to come and go as I please. I will be chained to my desk. I will be miserable. The free ride is over kids, now I'll have to pay my dues. 

Mr. Boss Man did not ask the Swede to be closer to his office. He also failed to ensure that my beloved Bloomberg terminal be relocated next to me; he left it next to my original spot. Now, whenever Mr. Boss Man makes a silly request like ask for chemical poo multiples, I'll have to go all the way back to my original spot, mourn its loss, work on Bloomberg, then go all the way back to my new, yucky spot. This will lead to the equivalent of a mile's walk everyday as opposed to the one trip to his office I'd have had to make per day. Wouldn't it have been so much easier for him to just leave me where I was and save me the unwanted exercise?

The Swede's been around twice as long as I have, shouldn't he be the "indispensable" one? So unfair. The unfairness outweighs the flattery I should be feeling at the moment. 

Wish I wasn't so damn impressive at bullshitting my way through my job. 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello, Ma’am, My Name is Frank McMillen

You know what I
Hate most about my job?
It's not the doors

Slamming

In my face,
Or the blisters on the soles
Of my feet.

I don't

Hate the hours
I spend
Demonstrating,

Pointlessly,

To women
Mooching off
My vacuuming;

I expect it.

Rejection
That is. 
I just hate it when

Her husband

Comes home
Early
The one time

I get some. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Media Matters

On my way home from work today a random thought struck me. As I complained in my last post, my brain does not usually strike me with thoughts. It usually daydreams. The normal mind function on car rides home from work is about 20 minutes of reading (until I begin to feel carsick) followed by 20 minutes of daydreaming about make-believe situations or conversations with people I've been thinking about recently. 

Today's daydreaming portion of the ride home was altered about a minute and a half prior to arriving at my final destination. A real, honest-to-goodness thought interrupted my regular programming. I quickly looked outside to see if pigs had grown wings and taken flight. I couldn't find any. So I cracked my window open to see if the weather had turned icy. Nope, still hot and sticky. Something must be in the water then.

My thought was (drumroll, please): "I wonder why I haven't felt as compassionately towards the poor folks who were crushed by the rockslide in Moqattam last week as I do for people dealing with natural disasters abroad... "

I immediately answered my own question: 

It's because of the catastrophic lack of media attention the issue has received. Aside from a terse, two paragraph news bulletin I read off the BBC website the morning of, I've seen and heard very little else about the events. What differentiates this from other events is the effect media has on delivering the message. The more sensationalist the media's tranference of the message, the more empathetic you are to the event. 

When US media talks about a cat being saved from a tree by a firefighter, they turn it into a mini hero movie. When Egyptian media talks about 1,000 people dying in a ferry accident, it's just another news item read off the teleprompter in the same monotonous robotic manner. 

To the average Egyptian, we hear about death and disaster on a daily basis, being stuck in the centre of the global hotspot - the Middle East. Carbombs, suicide bombs, war, famine, disease, and natural disasters are all part of the region's daily routine. We've become desensitized to it. So has our media, which is quite lacking in pathos to begin with. So when 46 or so poverty-stricken people living in a shanty town are crushed by a rockslide, it's all in a day's work for both the citizens and the media. How could we feel terrible over something that has become the norm?

So what we need is a more sensationalist media, like in the US. We need a media that will force you to take note, and is as ubiquitous as it is in the US. Then, we'd be roused into action and maybe a future crisis like the Moqattam disaster could be avoided. Until then, the majority of us will continue to sit on our fat bottoms in our air-conditioned chauffeured vehicles daydreaming about nothing in particular - or at the very least, lunch. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Selective Intelligence

Sometimes I wonder why I suffer from a profound lack of interesting thoughts. It seems to me that just about everyone (by everyone I mean every blog I've read and every friend I've made) will sit and have deep and profound brain things inside their heads when sitting alone. They ponder interesting topics, or sort through emotionally deep issues, or come up with highly creative ideas, or tackle intellectually difficult concepts. Their brains function analytically. Their brains function in general. 

I, on the other hand, will daydream. I will travel to some far off place in my head and pretend to get shot saving another person; I will have an indignantly self-righteous argument with someone annoying me or a loved one; I will be a princess in my castle; I will be Empress Eureka of the World. I won't think of Heidegger or Derrida. I won't think of political strategies or policies. I won't read the GMAT books lying forlornly on my desk. When reading I will routinely select fiction over non-fiction. I will begin a groundbreaking analysis of American political thought, then about 3 chapters in, abandon it for Woolf, even though I find the other book genuinely interesting and the writing style flowing and logical. 

And even when I do manage to read a work of non-fiction through, I will take it at face value. Rarely will I disagree or ask questions. Even though I know that had I been discussing this with Roonies or in class, I'd probably have something to say, or would argue against it. But only initially. I'd probably fall silent when pressed and acquiesce to the point Roonies or the classmate was making because my brain just won't go further than what it is presented with. 

It drives me crazy, because I know I'm not stupid. I just do not know how to think. 

However, talk to me about One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl or any novel or work of fiction, and I can go on for hours, nitpicking over the minutest of details. Why is this the case? Why can I only live in La La Land? 

And yet I managed to coast through my Political Science major, and my Public International Law specialization, and graduated magna cum laude. And no, I didn't pick the easy professors, as easy as that would have been at AUC. I took 5 classes with the Diva and managed 5 A's, for the love of God. The Diva does not hand that letter out. 

Where is the A achieving brain now? Why could it achieve an A in a Diva class dissecting the US Constitution, but couldn't with a Mike (who wasn't any easier) Political Theory class discussing Locke and Hobbes? 

Apparently, Eureka's brain is a highly selective thinker. Eureka doesn't like this one bit. 

On a side note, The Year of Magical Thinking (by Joan Didion) is a great read. Finished it last night. Go read it. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Wish I Were

1. Reading my book(s) (currently The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion & Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie; yes, I'm too ADD to read one at a time. So sue me.)

2. Lapping up some vitamin D in the lovely Cairo sun because I'm too pasty to be considered the least bit healthy - let alone attractive - at the moment

3. With the hair length I will have a month from now when this haircut grows out a little

4. Eating a mango

5. At the stage where I understand what's going on in a certain person's head. Because right now, I'm confused

6. Playing Zuma

7. Writing a future bestseller

8. Flying a kite. Or a Cessna

9. Skydiving

10. Still asleep

...instead of sitting here at work doing nothing at all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thems is Good People

Tonight I went to Mrs. Fallon's birthday sohour. Mrs. Fallon and I met during our first semester at AUC and immediately bonded over our highly uncommon shared love of Saturday Night Live. At the time, Chris Kattan and Jimmy Fallon were regulars; hence, I became Mrs. Kattan in reference to my love for Mango, and she became Mrs. Fallon because she just loved Jimmy to bits. 

Mrs. Fallon and I sadly drifted apart during our third year when, for some unexplained reason, there was a sort of shut-down in our circle where everyone went their own way. They all regrouped, I shuffled off to explore the then uncharted waters known as MUN, seldom to be heard from again. In hindsight, although I had no shortage of friends and continued to be popular at AUC, I wish I'd made more of an effort to rekindle my friendship with some of those girls sooner. Mrs. Fallon was and continues to be the one I wish I'd remained closer with the most. 

Mrs. Fallon is what you'd call a hybrid of an old soul and Peter Pan. She harbours an eternal bright youthfulness complemented by maturity and wisdom beyond her years. She is the kindest they come. She is a genuinely beautiful person both inside and out. 

Regardless of my transgressions (or just lack of maintenance skills) she continues to remember me, and regularly invites me to events she hosts, asks about me, and even reads these little mind excrements. Even though I'm sure they can't be as entertaining as she claims they are. She doesn't need to be as nice to me as she is, yet because she's so lovely, she never fails to be the best person one can even aspire to become. Her continued friendship is a humbling privilege. 

It is people like Mrs. Fallon, like O, Nes, Roonies, Doolittle, Folly, Effo and several others I've been blessed with that prove the existence of hope for this world. We may live in an increasingly ruthless and vapid society, but the Good still exist. Those who still have morals, have faith in humanity, and believe in doing unto others as they would have others do unto them have not dissipated. They live their lives battling negativity and hatred on a daily basis, and yet they have never faltered. 

I've said and written this before; I stand tall not because I am sure, nor because my future course is lit before me, but because I know that with each step that wavers in my struggle, I will be caught and supported by God's select few - those He wholeheartedly enjoyed creating. It is my hope that one day, I can attempt to return the infinite favours they've all so graciously given me. 

I came from the shadows. But the shadows were not cast by the darkness of the caves I dwelt in, but by the light each of these wonderful people exuded; beacons guiding me to the people I can safely, confidently call home.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

All Too Common

She soldiered on brusquely, constantly looking over her shoulder as if being chased by an unseen assailant. She had to keep moving, she had to keep her mind clear, fixed on its objective. She couldn't afford to loser her nerve now. Not after so many months of incubation, of fear, of meticulous planning. The stakes were too high, the consequences too great. She'd watched the leaves change as she waited for this moment. She smelled the flowers bloom when the package finally arrived. Backing out now was out of the question.

She fired several tuts in rapid succession at a man beating his donkey as she hurried passed. For all her 14 years, she still couldn't understand human cruelty. How malicious and violent towards creatures they depended on for their livelihood. Towards creatures offering purity and love in return. Weren't we all God's creatures in the end?

The package was held close to her chest, wrapped airtight in an innocuous black garbage bag. Her heart raced. It was a wonder its beats hadn't drowned out the roar of the traffic. The traffic. Hundreds of eyes glaring at her. Their glinting accusations merging into a river of blood, bile and milk as each car honked past.

She shook her head violently, trying to push the paranoia out of her head. Keep walking. Keep moving. March. March. Don't think. Her determination grew more steadfast with ever chant. Unconsciously, she gripped the package ever tighter; she only noticed when she gasped for breath, it had been pushing so tightly against her lungs. She had to be more careful. The package couldn't be bruised. It couldn't be disturbed.

Nervously, she eyed her passersby. Where they able to discern the contents of the package? Were those too glares of disapproval? Her worry quickly turned to scorn. Where were they to judge? Who were they to chastise, to invoke their honour as they stoned or slit her open? How could they know her circumstances? She was doing as best she could for everyone involved. Her conscience would be cleared tonight. Her conscience must be cleared tonight. No blame would be laid on her. 

She glanced around her one last time and slipped into the dark, quieter alley she'd chosen a few months before. Close enough to the main street to be frequented, quiet enough for disturbances to be heard and hopefully heeded. The government-collected garbage cans lay sideways, overflowing. She chose the softest looking bag and shooed the cats away. Gingerly but rapidly, she placed the package in the midst of the rubbish and fled as fast as her feet could muster, back into the tide of Cairo's never-ending traffic.

But amidst and above all the sounds of the sleepless city, she could only hear the cries and wails of the package, as her blood congealed over his tiny body, attracting the cats' appetites, and the cold night breeze caused the bag to rustle over his mouth.

Her conscience did not clear that night.  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Three Is NOT The Most Charming Number

I have come to wholeheartedly believe that luck - be it good or bad - comes in threes. Yesterday was the day of proof. 

We woke up in the morning expecting a relaxing Saturday. We were going to cut our hair, run some errands, then see one of my most favouritist of my mother's friends in the evening. My mother decided we should leave the house around noon to avoid the early afternoon traffic, both at the hairdresser's and on the road. Meanwhile, my genius friend by the name of Roonies decides to give me a call. 

"Eureka, you're going to grad school with me. I'm going to start studying for my GMAT's right after Ramadan, and I ordered these great books online. The grand total is US$315. Order them and we can study together."

"Ok Roonies, your wish is my command. You are the all-knowing and all-acing one. I can only study for my GMAT's if it is with you. I cannot do this alone. You will make me work hard."

In all fairness, Roonies wasn't so forceful in her delivery. I choose to make her sound so bossy because I'm the idiot for following her blindly. But the woman is a goddamn certified genius. I'd be stupid NOT to follow her blindly. Then again, I am not a genius. I am neither intelligent enough to make a rational decision for my wellbeing that isn't imposed upon me, nor am I intelligent enough to manage the GMAT's at all, let alone on my own with no teacher or guidance from Roonies. I can't sit still to study for ten minutes without needing to take a lap around the room. And the kitchen. Give me a novel, on the other hand, and I won't budge off my fat buttocks all day. How can I be expected to study for a test that is mostly maths/mathemetically-inclined logic and is aptitude-corrected? OR whatever that the computer decides how smart/dumb the questions should be based on your answers system is called. 

So, dutiful mimicker that I am, I get online and order the books. In the meantime, my mother is hollering at me because it is noon and I am still in my pyjamas. I make a mad dash for the bathroom, get dressed, and am ready in about ten seconds, although I look like something the Sarah Palin (i.e. the pitbull - I figured that one needed explaining) dragged in. 

That is the first dose of misfortune of the day. US$ 315 that could have been spent on books I actually wanted. Or jeans. Or a bag. Or both if they're on sale. This is the true level of my intellect. You all know it because my true colours shine through on this blog. I don't know how I got away with pretending to be brilliant and intellectual all these years. 

The second unfortunate event is the disaster the hairdresser calls a haircut on my head. It is a dead sheepdog puppy disguised as a wig in the shape of a muffin top on my head. With a much too short fringe, which is really the poor puppy's tail flicking across my face. Poor dog must be almost as uncomfortable as I am. Sad because this guy gave me a great haircut last time. Is there no consistency left in this world? 

Third is the splitting headache I was suffering from all evening. Yes, headaches are generally unfortunate occurrences, but this is an especially unfortunate event because I was looking forward to spending time with my mother's friend, who is one of my three non-biological mothers and a woman I rarely get to see. She's a university professor lecturing on Arab History and is phenomenal. And the sweetest woman in the world. One day I hope to be half the person she is. 

Sucks to be me yesterday. But aside from those three downers, I had a decent day. My hair will grow out and the Swede will probably buy the books off me. I still had a decent evening with my mum(s) and laughed enough to last a week. So all's well that ends well. 

That was my uneventful weekend. How was yours?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Foot 's Loose!

And fancy free! Cast came off last night :)

I must have scrubbed off half a person in dead skin. I'm still scraping icky flaky stuff off my toes and my heel. Gross, I know. But seeing as I have to live it, you'll have to read about it.

On a happier note, I had my first honest-to-goodness no-holds-barred proper shower in three weeks. None of that stick your leg out the side of the tub and try to hold the shower head while shampooing nonsense. It felt awesome. I was a happy camper.

However, my euphoria didn't last very long. I had the pleasure of experiencing a most interesting version of an FMF attack. This sort of attack is intriguing and quite rare in my experience so pay utmost attention to the following for it will probably not be repeated for a while and is a study in the body's need to be an asshole.

Sometimes, FMF decides to grace you with its presence in stealth mode. You are struck by a semi-high fever (39 and a bit degrees Celsius in my case last night; nothing too bad), the shivers, and a sort of heart-attack like burning sensation in the base of the throat/top of the chest area. It's like ice burn but coming from the inside and pulsates with each breath. Obviously with a fever and freezer burn breathing you're in for a fun night.

I don't mind this type of attack though. It only lasts a night, it's relatively painless, and I tend to hallucinate slightly so they're fun. Too bad they only come round once every couple of years and the rest of them are stupid normal attacks.

Last night I think I was convinced I was a science accountant from the future stuck in an HR job. Yes, I am serious. I distinctly remember trying to assign new numbers to some sort of Excel file with job applicants' contact information. And I remember spending a pig's lifetime trying to remember the name of the medicine on my bedside table that helps relieve my fever but I couldn't be assed to reach over and grab. I eventually figured it out. It is called Parofen. Better than Panadol. Trust.

Watched OTH and GG episodes tonight. How I love TV season and bless the writers of such mind-numbing sexgod bitchslap banter. Please remember that I live vicariously through my TV shows. This shit is the highlight of my day. Now kindly reassess why you're still reading this blog.

Oh, you're still here? You're either extremely loyal, totally pitying me right now, or just as sad as I am. In all cases, I love your committment to watching me suffer. Bless.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Disgruntlement With the Self

But still, I never learn. Experiences seem to flit over me, hitting me on the head much like a stone skipping over a placid body of water, making momentary ripples that promise permanence yet are forgotten before the ever-widening rings come to pass. The larger issue seems to be my complete awareness of the repetitive nature of my mistakes. I know exactly how the event will play out. I should, I’ve lived it time and again. I know that I am merely setting myself and others up for disappointment, that I will kick myself for going through with it later, that dealing with the subsequent fall-out or debris is sure to be a hassle. But still, I never learn.

Once again, I agreed to a blind date. Once again, I knew full well that it wouldn’t be successful beforehand. Did I weasel out and save both parties the trouble? No. I chose to take the easy route and be accommodating to the whims and hopes of others. Same stupid submission; different day.

Maybe on some level in my subconscious, I think that this “yes, ma’am” attitude is a form of self-sacrifice for a greater good – a positive gesture to the happiness of others. But really, it isn’t. What have I achieved? I’ve appeased the person pushing for the date, but only to provide false hope to both the pusher and the poor man being thrust in an uncomfortable position. I have basically led him on before even introducing myself. I’m a perpetual tease.

And what boggles my mind further is the fact that he ticks all the right boxes. So I should have no excuse not to like him. He is gorgeous (think a semi-buff Gerard Butler), he is smart, he is ambitious, he’s the perfect age, he’ll make a great family man, and he’s a gentleman. AND he fits my mother’s “Good Christian Boy” requirement. That’s every box on my list ticked.

He complimented me just often enough to be flattering yet sincere. He was eloquent. He was interesting. He was funny and charming and genuine. It wasn't a game or a dance to be played out with certain step-requirements. It was an honest and open introduction of two individuals shoved in each other's direction.

He put up with an hour's driving in some sketchy Cairo neighbourhoods at one a.m. because I am road illiterate and too stubbornly proud to admit it. He put up with a crowded evening of strangers and 4,000 renditions of my broken foot story to as many new faces. He even held the car door open without being instructed to. The last of London's chivalrous men.

And yet I nit-pick. My reason this time? I don’t see the families getting along.

That just makes me a complete bitch.

And I know I'll only see him again while he's still in Cairo out of guilt and remorse.

Why am I still waiting for the fairytale and fireworks when it is obvious that those only exist in the magical realms of the imagination? He borders on perfect. Hell, he’s every woman’s Mr. Right.

Why can’t I accept him as mine?

Because I’m an idiot who is actively pushing herself into a life of solitary confinement in my own deluded psyche, that’s why.

Run folks, otherwise you’re destined to read about years of therapy and cynicism.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Babar's Ingenuity!

The legal kids had a departmental dinner with their boss recently - just after we all moved floors*. Duckie decided to rag a little on Babar by having the following conversation with their boss:

Duckie: I feel very sorry for the person who will be unfortunate enough to have to use Babar's office.

Legal Boss: Why, Duckie?

Duckie: The poor person will walk into a disaster zone. It looks like it's been hit by two tornadoes, a flood, and a pack of famished hyenas. The carpet is completely worn, torn and stained, the desk is cracked and has marker doodles, the doorknob is broken and comes out in your hand... I could go on forever.

Legal Boss: Babar, how embarrassing!

Babar: Yes, Legal Boss. They'll find a broken doorknob, a tattered carpet, and a battered desk. And they'll wonder who could have damaged an office so badly. So they'll walk out to see who was in there previously, and they'll see Duckie's name.

Babar switched name tags with Duckie's office before leaving. INGENIOUS.

*To clarify: We were kicked out of our floor when it was rented by a new company and are temporarily sharing with another. We should be moving to our own floor within a month or two.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Je Suis Le Fat

I almost posted yet another work rant (and a much deserved rant, I might add), but I had a light bulb moment that I just had to share.

I've figured out the real reason people don't like casts. No one likes to admit it because it is embarrassing. So they make up lots of silly fake excuses like so-called crazy itching that requires an endless supply of rulers to assuage, or atrophied calf muscles that take forever to rehabilitate, or bad skin due to lack of cleaning/breathing. But none of this is true. These are all pretend reasons to hate being in a cast.

I'm not afraid. I will tell you the truth. The real reason people hate casts is weight gain.

When your movement is limited, what do you do to pass the time? You eat. When you are bored and are watching tv, what do you do? You eat. When you've run out of things to watch and are roaming around the house on crutches, what do you do? You visit the kitchen to eat.

And after you do all these things, what do you do? You eat some more.

This has been my modus operandi for the last 12 days. Compound the fact that I ate like Michael Phelps on crack while in London for a month and you can probably imagine about half the weight I've gained this summer. Maybe. If you've got an incredibly overactive imagination. If you don't, then you're still way off. Double that. Yes, now double it again. Now add about 5 more kilo's to that. There you go. That's close-ish.

And glory be, the fates won't ever let me be. The month of binge eating is fast approaching, meaning not only will I still be stuffing my face out of boredom, but I'll be stuffing it 4 or 5 times as often due to the countless iftars (breaking of fast meals) I'll be going to because I'm everyone's token Christian friend. And you know you have to have that token Christian friend at the iftar or else you wouldn't have fulfilled the Ramadan "feed the unfortunate lesser beings" rite.

So expect another ballooning of the Eureka next month. Hopefully I'll have managed to lose some of all this weight by London-time next year. Only to gain it all again. T'is the circle of fat. It moves us all.

Enter Elton John, stage left.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bum Foot Update and Other Stories

Doc says the cast should come off in about 4 weeks, which is a surprisingly shorter period than I anticipated.

Yay for positive thinking :)

I think I spent a grand total of ten minutes at my desk today. I had a 14 hour lunch break, followed by a 7 hour gossip session with all the women at work. Then Mr. Boss Man calls at 4:15 (which is early by his standards!) and says he wants a graph of XYZ and a bunch of other things.

That took me the ten minutes referred to above. Then I went home.

He calls again at 7:55pm asking for more stuff. Lucky for him I felt so guilty for not doing ANYTHING all day that I didn't mind working from home this evening.

He really must do a praise his god dance because that god saved his ass from a major whooping with my bright yellow cast as the main weapon, assisted by side-swiping using my crutches. They'll be the right-left punches to my cast's roundhouse kick. Chuckie would be proud.

Then I would have called upon my personal fire-breathing dragon to burn him to the ground like the Egyptian Parliament is burning as I type this. So sad. That was one of the few remaining beautiful buildings in Cairo. Of course, there is no way we'll ever know what happened because the authorities will claim it was an electrical malfunction of some sort. Some things never change.

On a happier note (which is how I like to end posts to give you reasons to smile) Roonies passed part two of her CFA! ALL HAIL ROONIES, QUEEN OF THE FINANCE GERMS. Blah, blah, Hooray everybody.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Open Casting Call for Banner Art


Do we like the current banner?

Well, if you don't or are bored of it, this is your chance to stick your thumbprint right on the face of this blog. Feel free to lick your thumb, smash it hard against my forehead, then pick my nose for anything I may have missed in there.

The only rule is that it needs to say "Eurekaisms" on there somewhere so that people don't mistake this for any of the 1000000000 million other self-indulgent blogs out there.

Happy creating!

Oh, your masterpieces are welcome as attachments in an email sent to eurekaisms@gmail.com

Enjoy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

10 Reasons Why I Should Have Been A Boy

1) The most common comment I get from every girl I know: "If you were a boy I'd so date you". Apparently, I would have made the perfect boyfriend because I know exactly what women want (news to me; I don't even know what I want for lunch today) and how they should be treated. I know what to say to make them feel good about themselves without it being a lie, I know how to make them feel better and give sage advice (sage being the exact opposite of how I'd have reacted, of course), and I unwittingly make them laugh sometimes. Like when I tell them I've had a broken foot for three weeks and hadn't even noticed.

2) ESPN and What Car? Magazine trump E! and People any day.

3) Burping, farting and excreting are the body's method of releasing excess air/gas/waste, not disgusting unmentionable functions. With IBS and FMF, that is the only sane way to look at things.

4) I would have had impeccable taste if I were a boy. I have enough polo's to prove it.

5) The Eureka brain is built like a guy's brain. All logic, no emotions. Emotions are stupid because they don't make sense, so really, there's nothing to talk about. I don't need to discuss why I'm feeling X or Y because you didn't call when you said you did. If you didn't call you must have had a perfectly good reason. No questions asked. And I don't understand why women like to ask a question to which their answer would be the only right answer. I don't want to be trapped into telling you whether you look fat in that skirt or not. You know the answer to that already.

6) I had a broken foot for three weeks and didn't notice, man. Name one girl who wouldn't have declared it a national emergency and insisted on a week's stay at the hospital for chipping her little toe's nail on the pavement. Tough like Rambo. ROAR.

7) Just watch me attack that medium-rare steak. I'd eat it raw if they'd let me.

8) I despise long phone calls. They drive me crazy. Phone calls should be short and to-the-point. 2 minutes is 1 and a half minutes too long. This is my version of what a phone call should be like:

"Hey, what time are we meeting for lunch today?"

"5:50"

"Ok, bye"

Click without waiting for the other person's response.

Now THAT's a phone call.

9) I never remember gossip. I never notice what people are wearing, let alone what season's collection it came from. Hell, I'll be happy if I could remember people's names.

10) If my boobs are any indication, then I would have had a GREAT penis.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday Morning

He walked past the woodcutter’s makeshift workshop, briefly closing his eyes to fully absorb the warm smell of freshly cut plywood against the crisp charred cinnamon effused by the heavy oak. The sound of the machinery did not disconcert him the way it did his sister. On the contrary, it was a strange sort of comfort to him. An assurance that it was a day just like any other. Nothing extraordinary would happen today. There was no need to worry, no need to think. It was a day like any other. He would not turn grey today.

He stopped for a moment, pretending to look both ways before crossing, though he knew the street’s beats better than his own heart’s. He just wanted an excuse to breathe in the planks’ refreshing simplicity once more, to allow the invigorating vibrations of the saws one more chance to rouse his soul. He counted to five, and sure enough, on the fifth beat the red Daewoo pick-up loaded with vegetation rumbled passed. The street was his timepiece. The woodcutter’s his gauge to the day’s mood.

He sighed and half-skipped across the broken asphalt. He did not feel any differently. The sun was blazing in the early morning smog in typical March fashion, brazenly evicting the wisps of winter the city coveted. The sandstorms would begin soon. He gazed at the austere blue sky, wondering which palette it would choose this year. Would it select last year’s abundance of oranges and pomegranates or revert to the safe saffrons of more conventional seasons? Or would it decide to turn the city beige, blinding all inhabitants in the endless yards of fabric as it had in 1998, frightening all the children. The factory warehouse behind him will probably fade further. Although he couldn’t really imagine how much of a change could happen to walls already indiscernible from desert dunes. Had it not been for the handful of terra cotta shingles remaining on the disintegrating roof, no one would even remember that solitary memento of Soviet days of yore.

The bakery was approaching; the air was becoming grittier. So much flour lost because of its capricious nature, always duped by the breeze’s transparent seductions. It was only destined to be dropped at the first hint of tedium, to be perpetually trampled on.

The loaves were of pitiful size and quality, but they would have to do. They were all he could afford, especially with inflation taking its toll on even subsidized bread prices. He was getting less and less for his painfully pursued pennies by the day, the hour. In some cases even the minute he thought, recalling how the price of tomatoes shot up five piastres as he stood in front of the grocer, mouth agape. His brow furrowed at the thought of arriving to the point where even his measly loaves would become a luxury. They already were in a sense. Those miniscule slabs of plaster and gravel, barely large enough to cover his palm.

He spat and banished the thought as he surveyed the mob he would have to shoulder through. It was a day like any other. He refused to grow grey today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August One-Liner

Bloft, upon hearing about our security guard's night job:

Now all I have to do to give people directions to our house is say, "just ask for the Cairo Whore House." This just made life a lot easier.

Of course, she said it in Arabic using much cruder terms.

Holy Snap, Crackle and Pop, Batman!

This is just unbelievable! Remember my building's security guard who's a crook? Well, turns out he's an honest-to-goodness PIMP, too!

Yes, way!

Turns out he's been using an unused room in the garage and an unoccupied apartment on the ground floor of our (WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A PERFECTLY RESPECTFUL) building to rent out some women he's been sneaking in while we go about our daily business with our heads up our asses. Seriously, how oblivious am I to not notice that the security guard is running a side business right under my nose?

And what about the customers? Do they all have invisibility cloaks? That would explain all those times I thought I bumped into someone when no one was there... Eww.

Dude was on top of his game, I'll give him that.

I'm starting to worry about myself. Does this mean I'm ditzy enough not to notice if I'm on drugs? Someone's got to be slipping something in the water.

Oh, he was fired. Just in case you're wondering.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ode to Crackhead in Highlighter Yellow

I finally got my foot checked out yesterday to appease my father's growing concern.

When I told the doctor the story of how I banged it chasing after a bus, he waved his hand as said the foot is covered in tough veins and should be ok. Then he found out that this happened 25 days ago and that it is still uncomfortable and weak. His face did a little flip. He took one poke at my foot and said "You're not going to like me," then took an x-ray.

"You're really not going to like me now," he sighed. "See this line across here separating this piece from the rest of your foot?"

"Yes," I say, crossing my fingers. Please say that this isn't a break, please, please.

"This is where you broke it three weeks ago." Oh, snap. I was afraid of that. "And see these flecks of white around it? That's where your poor foot was trying to heal itself, but you snapped it off again yesterday. Good thing too, or else it would have healed incorrectly causing a lifetime of discomfort and complications."

He then went into the differences between old casts and new casts and basically insisted on a new-style cast in highlighter yellow.

So now I'm lugging a good 3 kilos of fluorescent resin shaped like a peep-toe boot engulfing my foot and leg up to my knee. In August (so much for the chance of a tan this year then). For an unspecified period because he said he couldn't tell me how long this would take to heal. All for a tiny little break I never noticed to begin with because I'd never broken anything before. Then again, you'd think it would hurt if you broke your foot, right? I was convinced this couldn't be more than a little sprain.

Who'da thunk it?

P.S. Bloft is loving this. She had her arm in a cast in June last year when she broke her wrist. Since August is even more of a bitch, she can't wait to watch me suffer as I try to itch inside with various tools. In her defence, she is being nice enough to give me tips. She recommended plastic over metal rulers to avoid infections and to fold sheets of A4 paper into ruler-shaped strips if necessary. Sunshine, who has ample experience with broken legs - having broken both - recommends knitting needles, if used with caution.

So my 6 and a half readers, all and any tips on dealing with this thing are very much appreciated :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ouch

So I really hope bad luck only comes in threes because I don't know if I'm up to dealing with any more of it.

Yesterday morning: zipper snaps in half as I put on a skirt. I quite liked that skirt. Cost me an arm and three toes, too.

Last night: drop my iPod. It refuses to function past a whirring and clicking sound of the harddrive skipping and won't even restore factory settings. I know because I was up until 2 am hitting the reset button and begging iTunes to fix my baby. This obviously means I've lost EVERYTHING on it since I now need to take it to the distributor to have them fix it.

Today: Snap my foot/ankle again about 15 minutes ago. In pain, unable to walk, and dreading the next 3 hours of traffic and several flights of steps I'll have to endure to get my iPod and skirt fixed.

Not at all amused.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Don't say nothing at all. Thumper was spot on.

Shame so many Egyptians haven't learnt that lesson, because this is just an embarrassment to us all. Reinforces every misconception about us that exists, and then some.

For the link to the original video, click here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Apparently I'm A Stay-At-Home Complaining Londoner

Or: Eurekaisms is just self-absorbed mumbo-jumbo.

That sounds a lot more accurate.

Baby Kangaroo just blogged about making word pictures out of blogs using www.wordle.net.

This is what Eurekaisms resulted in.


You can click to enlarge if you can't see the smaller print.

Chapeau BK!

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