Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fundon!

Finally managed to get tomorrow off so I'm off to London for the long weekend with Mrs. Fallon and company. Of course, this is the time my body decides to succumb to my first attack in a year (one of the perks of blogging about my stupid immune system is that I can now track the severity and frequency of my attacks). Sigh. Going to be a lovely flight and a lovelier attack once the London cold hits me. To top it all off I caught a bad cold this week.

But have no fear my friends, I will go, I will enjoy myself and if all else fails, I'll make sure Mrs. Fallon knows where my health insurance card is.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Copping Out With A Cop-Out #2

Back by popular demand (i.e.: mine). Thinking of making this a quarterly series.

Work:

Working late on a Thursday is equivalent to trying to pee outdoors in -50C.

WHY is it only 2:25? Feels like I've been working for 500 hours already

Hate hate hate it when work starts picking up in the afternoon. Really, if you don't plan on working before 2pm, why the 9am start?

Should probably just give up and get a degree in presentation formatting. It's all anyone else thinks I'm any good at.

Eureka Factoids:

FACT: You can tell I'm sleepy when my nose starts running faster than Usain Bolt

I like to imagine that planes flying overhead at night are alien spaceships

Think I'm the only person in the world who can slice her thumb open using her hotel room door's hinge

FACT: I can balance an extra-long shafted men's Titleist driver on my nose.

Chocolate:

I eat enough chocolate to feed a sizable country. Daily. It's beginning to bite me in the buttocks.

Hello, ballooning gut! How nice of you to share this quarter of an inch of my bed with me.

Oh no, don't worry about these pesky buttons on my shirt. They're there for you to pop through. The more buttons you lose the better I look!

My love-hate relationship trinity: men, chocolate and colchicine. Can't live with the first, can't live without the latter two.

Today's breakfast: cocoa powder on a spoon. Yum!

Overdosed on DEEEELISH chocolate. Feeling queasy is totally worth having heaven dance on my taste buds!

Introspection:

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster." – Nietzsch

Not-So-Comic Relief:

Discovered that my true soulmate is a long island ice tea

The kid has yet to speak, but has decided that an appropriate word to pick up is a7a (fuck in arabic). Wakid upbringing ladies and gents!

Just drove past Bea Arthur's twin! Maybe she decided to fake her death to live as an Egyptian peasant?

SAD FACT: so tired that I almost put facewash instead of toothpaste on my toothbrush.

Can't help but giggle at the Firth of Forth

Winter:

I cannot believe the weather forecasts calls for another week of 30C in November. I have new coats to wear, people!

Where is the world is Winter, sandy Cairo? #missingwinter

Jurassic Park: The Lost Winter #missingwinter

Where's Winter? #missingwinter

What's Eating Winter Weather? #missingwinter

Cairo weather is so bedan that bedan don't want to associate with it

Traffic:

Um, not to jinx it but where is the traffic this morning?

Oh, theeeereee it is! Hello, traffic! Glad to see you're up this morning. I knew it was too good to be true.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kindness Is Giving a Toddler Your BlackBerry

Upon boarding my flight to Dubai the other week a young Norwegian woman carrying an 18-month-old (give or take) came up to my row and asked the man sitting on my right if he'd be willing to switch seats. We were sitting in the first row where the bassinets fit and her seat was a few rows back.

When the man began huffing I offered her my seat if she or the man didn't mind sitting in the middle.

"No, no I don't want to sit in the middle. I'll go," was the grumpy man's immediate reaction to finding he'd be seated next to a sniffling little boy for 4 hours.

Of course, the little one proceeds to fidget and wail as we wait to take-off. He was obviously exhausted and uncomfortable. I would be to if I were being strapped into my mother's lap in a loud cramped space filled with strangers. He still had a long way to travel. They were going to India for a wedding.

I happen to have an application on my BlackBerry called BabyGO! which turns your phone into a talking, visually stimulating ABC-learning device. It locks the phone and switches the radio off to allow the child to hit the buttons to his or her heart's content. Each button's corresponding letter pops up on the screen as a letter block and is sounded out by a child's voice. The spacebar, symbol, alt and other keys make a BOING sound that even has this university graduate in stitches.

So I hold the phone up to the kid and convince him to hit the spacebar button. That proved to be quite a task considering he didn't understand a word of English. Once he got the gist he really had a ball with the application - much to the chagrin of everyone else on the plane who had to endure the likes of "A, F, T, Y" and BOING playing on and on. However, I think that beats a screaming toddler any day. Count your blessings!

He fell asleep soon after anyway and didn't budge till we were approaching Dubai airport. I can only imagine the trouble he must have caused on the flight to India after a nap like that.

This little incident makes me wonder what happened to the kindness we were taught growing up. The man on my right only gave up his seat when faced with the option of sitting next to the child. The man on my left repeatedly voiced his surprise at how kind I was to volunteer my seat and occupy the boy. This surprise shouldn't be the natural reaction to an act of courtesy. My willingness to help his frazzled mother out should be everyone's immediate instinct - be it a young woman or a middle-aged man.

I noticed that no one helped people with heavy luggage. No one waited for the man in the wheelchair to reach the terminal; the man had to be let off last instead. Patience, courtesy and acts of kindness have become increasingly rare. I notice it in myself as well. I may still be more patient and willing to help than others, but the instinct to be of assistance is steadily waning. We have become a Me First species; in Egypt we seem to be devolving further into ME ONLY.

It saddens me to think of what is in store for the children to come. Who will offer them their version of a BlackBerry when they're stuck on a long flight?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Second Birthday, Eurekaisms!


Momma's so proud!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mercurial Life

I am known as the go-to person when you want a presentation whipped up at the office. People I've never met - people ranking high up in the company's hierarchy - request the most random things from me knowing that I will deliver efficiently.

One such person came to me yesterday asking to recycle some slides I'd created for another presentation, which I gladly sent over. He's a young, energetic, intelligent man and is an easy person to work with because, unlike many people at my company, he knows what he wants, knows how he wants it, and has no problem articulating his needs. I like working with him. He needed another slide to be created and said he's come see me this morning to discuss.

This morning I walk into the office expecting to see him. Ten minutes later I find out he'd died in a car accident on his way home late last night.

We hear these stories often. Stories of people in the prime of life suddenly evaporating. Like they never even existed. We hear the stories of car accidents, murders, bumps on the head and disease. We gently pat people on the back when they lament the fact that they did not do more, did not get to say goodbye, did not do anything to prevent the loss.

I could have stayed a little late and worked on the presentation with him. I could have altered his path in some way. I'm not feeling responsible in any way, don't misunderstand me. I'm just wondering why this man in his early thirties, a man with a wife and two young children, was on that road at that precise moment. Why was it his car that spun, crashed and burned. Is it destiny? Is it the chaos of nature? Is it written by a higher power? All these age-old questions float up when death hits close to home. The what if's, why's and how come's. The need to understand and rationalize death, especially when the victim is young.

The very way we discuss death makes it difficult to digest. It is a crime. The person who died is labelled a victim. Death is internalized as an unnatural force rather than a natural progression. It is only when the deceased has lived a full life and died of natural causes at a decidedly acceptable old age that we do not question. What is the difference if one dies at 30 or 90? Why do we not accept it as part of life and move on? Why is humanity programmed to feel grief, to question events we do not agree with but are out of our control, to decide when and how people should die?

Life is celebrated when it is snatched away unexpectedly. This is the positive thought that came to me when I heard he'd died. When speaking to him yesterday, I spoke to him believing I'd see him the next morning. I looked at my laptop screen to pull out presentations instead of looking at him. I did not offer him 100% of my attention and effort because I did not feel like I would never have the chance to again. I had all of the next morning to create a great slide for him. He'd appreciate it then. But when today came and I could not fulfill my promise, I felt the urge to never again treat anyone the way I treated him yesterday afternoon. I did not treat him badly. I just didn't treat him the way I would have had I known that was goodbye.

Treat everyone with the respect, warmth and attention you'd want to receive. You never know when it'll be the last time you can. This is the celebration of life in its truest form. Respect the life still in front of you. If anything should be taken from this story, it is the importance of the little moments. They are the moments that prove your mettle.

Answers to Last Week's Thoughts

My friend and loyal reader, El Gapitane, is a fellow trivia lover. He and I share a love for technology, dirty jokes, DIY and huge external hard drives to store our digital libraries on. He knows me well enough to know that I HAVE to have the answers for everything, which is why he so kindly initiated the following conversation with me today:

El Gapitane: I'm about to enlighten you about the whole screen looking issue

Eureka: Please do

El Gapitane: Most of the screens you look at all day are liquid crustal displays. Technology has come a long way to make those screens. They emit something like 3% of what TV screens used to emit in the early 90s. When you look at a an LCD all day is like looking at the open sea in bright sunlight actually its safer since the actual sunrays are strongest of all

Eureka: That's fantastic

El Gapitane: Your eyes adjust to that lifestyle but the worst part is that natural sunlight become very harsh to you...making it worse for you in the outdoors

El Gapitane: It’s sort of an equation you just need to balance

Eureka: So you ideally should spend some time in the sun every day for your eyes to remain adjusted to it

El Gapitane: Yup

YES! My shows aren't damaging my eyes! Christmas is early!

El Gapitane: And your friend was right about the drainage thing. He just forgot to mention that in the closed system when you pee in the toilet the nitrates from your pee is actually extracted and used in agriculture in my many developing nations such as Egypt. So at the end of the day you’re saving a lot of plants when you pee in the toilet. And the shower and toilet usually have 2 different drainage systems in the modern world.

And that, ladies and gents, is why we pee where we pee.

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