Sunday, December 31, 2006


It's been sitting in the carpark infront of our building since Thursday. A brand new Peugeot 407 Coupé. The latest model. Electric blue. Unusual color. Lovely car.

Me, am a Peugeot girl. The 406 was my first new car. Had it since 2001. The first brand new car that I actually bought with my own money. Mine, mine, mine. I'd driven a couple of disasterous, used cars before I could afford it but they don't count.

My 406 & me have been through a lot together. It has never let me down. It was the friend I could always rely on. Whenever I wasn't happy, I would go for long drives in it. I hid my cigarettes, my diaries & other secret stuff I couldn't keep at home in it. It almost made up for my not having my own apartment because it gave me a place to go when I wasn't happy with my parents or siblings & when I would get frustrated with being in my late twenties & still having to live at home etc....It was my home away from home. My 406 also survived my occasionally reckless driving - coming out of every accident intact - and helping to keep me intact without giving me any significant maintenance problems - except for the routine stuff. Despite having been through many accidents, I've never been injured in it. I feel comfortable and SAFE in it. So safe that I can go out anywhere anytime in it.

Ok I admit it. Lately, it has started complaining a bit & needing attention. I know that's because it's starting to get old but I just don't have the heart to replace it. Everytime I've even thought about that, it has felt like I was contemplating putting an aging, beloved pet to sleep.

So when I saw that brand new Peugeot(so new the license plate said 'Ta7t Altajroba') - I couldn't resist a few, longing glances at it. Then I felt disloyal, told myself I had a perfectly good, tried-and-true, mature car. I figured the new Peugeot had just been bought last week so the owner didn't have time to register it before the holidays started & everything closed on him.

This morning I saw it again. I was on my way to the mall, to find a pair of shoes to wear for New Year's - and a wedding anniversary present for my husband. I came back fairly quickly, having found the shoes but drawn a blank on the present.

And I saw my husband in the carpark - approaching the blue Peugeot - holding out the electronic key. Then I saw him get in the front seat, reach inside the glove compartment for some papers, then get out of the car with the papers, lock the car. When he turned to walk back into the building, I was roused out of my stupor.

I screamed out his name - like an idiot. I said what is this? He went red & mumbled something about how he didn't know what else to get me for our anniversary. So of course I screamed some more & jumped on him & made an unfortunate scene in the carpark.

When he finally managed to get me to calm down, we'd drawn quite a crowd of on-lookers. But they were all smiling indulgently so I guess that was ok. Then of course, I wanted to drive the new car. It was just as sexy to drive as it was to look at. I was completely infatuated.

We took it out of town - onto the highways in the desert - because I wanted to give it it's head. I didn't want to deal with traffic. The only down point was that we'd forgotten to bring any CD's so we had to make do with Radio Sawa. I never had a car with a CD changer before. Then we eventually got bored of the radio, switched it off and did our own singing.

At one point, when it started to get dark, it hit me that I'd completely forgotten my hair appointment, my manicure/pedicure appointment & my make-up appointment which meant that our friends & colleagues tonight are going to have to live with my natural beauty. I suggested that it was time we got home so I could start getting ready. He pointed out the fact that we'd never actually had sex in a car. A fact I could hardly dispute. I remembered the time when we first started dating, we were out for a drive & I accused him of driving me to a make-out spot. In response, he'd been all injured dignity, said he hadn't made out in a car since high-school, that it was adolescent & how could I even think he'd do such a thing?

I reminded him of this. And he said yes but I had a new car & anyway he felt it was ok to be adolescent the day before our wedding anniversary but only if it also happened to be New Year's Eve.

Well how could I say no to a man who had just given me a brand, new car of my favorite model? It's not like am any good at saying no to him when he hasn't given me anything so really, it would have been unreasonable to expect me to say no under the circumstances.

Phew. The emotional roller-coaster I've been through today. To start with, I was excited in an utterly-stupified kind of way. Then there was this rush of guilt, I've been a horrible wife, I don't deserve him, it was too much etc....And I started crying on him & insisting that he let me pay the monthly installments - or at least share because I didn't want to be such a burden etc....Upon which he told me 3aib 3laiky it's a gift haz3al minik etc....And he acted all hurt & disappointed. Which made me cry even more.

Now am feeling melancholy about my 406. What happens to it now? My husband - practical as ever - says that he worries about me because the car is not as reliable as it used to be, that he doesn't want it breaking down on me when am out late alone or something, that I really needed a new car because I was so say3a I spent so much time in the car etc....I asked if that was him accepting my saya3a. He said no but if at least I was safer while doing it then that's one thing less for him to worry about. Somehow I don't think that sounds like he's really thinking of divorcing me for staying out late no?

Oh btw, did I mention that I love him? I do.

And am in a complete panic about what am going to give him tomorrow. I should be shot. I spent half the time in the mall this morning looking for my shoes and not a gift for him. How can I match his gift? I can't afford to give him a new car. His taste in cars is way out of my budget. And even if I could afford it, everything is closed. The automobile agents, the banks, the insurance company etc...How can I get him a new car by tomorrow? How can I get a car loan by tomorrow?

And what else can I get him that would even come close?

Just got off the phone with my friend M. whose contribution to the matter could be summarized in two main points:

1) She hopes that I was really good on that backseat because I had a great husband & it was the least he deserved.
2) She thinks I should move my butt & start getting ready because they're all waiting for us.

We're going out in my new car tonight.


Thursday, December 28, 2006


Him: You're staring.
Me : Am sorry.
Him: No don't apologize. I wasn't complaining.
Me : Really?
Him: Tab3an. Da shi'i yisharafni. 7ad yitool?(It is an honor)

I smile at him but can't think of anything to say. A few, silent minutes later.

Him: What are you thinking?
Me : Lots of things.
Him: Ostor yarab(Allah preserve us). Like what?
Me : That we've been married for one year already. That I love you I guess.
Him: Excuse me? You guess?
Me : Well, there have been moments.
Him: Ah yib2a i7na kida binragi3 nafsina. (So you are reconsidering)
Me : Am just wondering how we're doing.
Him: How we're doing in what exactly?
Me : This marriage stuff.

He gave me a long look. I thought he was going to say something. But he didn't. A longer silence this time.

Me : Nothing to say?
Him: Kol sana winti tayeba.(Happy Anniversary)
Me : Winta tayeb.()

Silence yet again.

Me : Laish sakit? Za3lan?
Him: Wala za3lan wala 7aga. Bas inti bitfakari law konti bit7ibi wala la. Fana saybik ba2a ma3 nafsik ashof hatiwsali fain.
Me : Are you worried?
Him: Of course.
Me : Why?
Him: Wallahi talama elmowdoo3 3andik mi7tag morag3a meen 3arif? Mish yimkin makoonsh it7abait aslan?(If you're reconsidering then maybe you never loved me to start with.)
Me : La yasidi it7abait jidan. Wo lisa.(I did love you very much. Still do.)
Him: Illy yi7ib mish biyragi3.(Then you shouldn't be reconsidering.)
Me : But there are bad times.
Him: Walaw.(So?)
Me : I guess I still can't get over the way you said ab3atlik wara2tik(send the divorce papers).
Him: Tani ya L.?(We're going to discuss that again?)
Me : Sorry.
Him: Ya3ni ana ghaltan ini mish 3ayzik tiseebini?(So I'm wrong for not wanting you to leave me?)
Me : So you tell me you'll divorce me?
Him: Look, I said I didn't mean that. I was worried and angry & I just wanted you to come home.
Me : I don't want you to talk to me like that again. Ever.
Him: I won't. Wana asif ya sitti 3ashan bas ma tifdalish kida shayla mini. Khalas?
Me : Khalas.
Him: Id7aki ba2a(Smile). Ma yib2ash 2albik iswid.

So I smiled.

Him: Bas inti kaman mafish siya3a wi sahr bara liwa7dik min ghair ma t2oolili. (But you too should not stay out late without telling me.)
Me : And you shouldn't flirt with other women.
Him: Da kan yom iswid. (That was a black day(disaster)).
Me : So you won't do it?
Him: Howa ana itganint?(He'd have to be insane to do that)
Me : Can I stay out late if I tell you where I am?
Him: Ana ma7ibish kida.
Me : But you stay out late without me sometimes.
Him: Ah. Bab2a a3id 3al 2ahwa. Or out in the desert with the guys. I don't go out on the town without you.
Me : That's because you don't like to go out on the town anyway. You'd rather stay home & have sex 24 hrs.
Him(smiling): La 24 hrs ma aw3idkeesh(No I can't promise you 24 hr sex). I7na ah fara3na wi gamdeen wi kol 7aga bas el3a2l zina.

Which cracked me up of course.

Me : You know what I mean. I like to socialize more than you.
Him: Mashi bas ana ma ba7rimkeesh min 7aga. 3ala 2ad ma2dar bawadeeki matra7 ma inti 3ayza. Lama ab2a mish 2adir ba2a ma3laish ista7mileeni. Mish lazim ya3ni tis-hari bara kol yom.(Yes but I try to take you when I can. When I can't you should put up with me. You don't have to party late every single night.)
Me : But I like to see my friends.
Him: Bardo that doesn't have to be late at night. Bossi inti ti3mili illy inti 3ayza tool elyom bas bilail da bta3i ana. Eh rayi'ik?(Look you can do what you want all day but the nights are mine.)What do you think?

What do I think? On one hand am worried it might be like living with my parents & having a curfew again. On the other hand, it really seems to bother him & I enjoy myself more when we go out together anyway.

Sigh. If only I wasn't such a hyperactive insomniac. That's what makes me so restless at night.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

7atem Biy2ool

She is an Egyptian girl I know. Her husband's name is 7atem. She's famous for talking a lot & starting virtually every sentence with the words "7atem biy2ool"(Hatem says). "7atem biy2ool 7alal", "7atem biy2ool 7aram", "7atem biy2ool fi", "7atem biy2ool mafish" etc....You get the idea.

Now we all admire wifely devotion am sure but I mean, the woman is like a broken record.

She does it so much that now many people have taken to calling her "7atem biy2ool". It has become her unofficial nickname - behind her back of course. I didn't though because it struck me as being unkind.

I knew her a very long time ago. We went to grade school together for about 2 years. Then she moved back to Egypt with her parents. She came back here with her husband about 4 years ago. And this world being as small as it is, it turns out that her husband's brother is married to my husband's sister. So now we see them a bit more than we otherwise would because of this family relationship.

My husband & I don't enjoy their company for many reasons but I digress. That's not what this post is about.

Hatem has recently seen fit to start a dirty rumor about me. I first heard about it from who else? His wife herself. She came over once to tell me that Hatem was attending a conference with some colleagues at a local hotel. He saw me sitting in the lobby smoking with a guy. Then when they finished the conference & came down in the lift, I was still in the lobby this time smoking with another guy who happened to be drinking. So Hatem's friends/colleagues thought I was sitting there to pick up guys. And Hatem, being very concerned about my good name, went home & told his wife that she should tell me to be careful & not do things that look so suspicious.

Of course my first reaction to this was to burst out laughing. I had no exact recollection of the incident she was talking about but for sure if I was in a hotel lobby during the daytime, it would have been for business reasons. And if I was sitting with someone then I was sitting with someone else, that would have been for business reasons too. Occasionally when we have these meetings someone will decide to have a glass of wine over lunch or something. Even if I pay attention to what everyone am sitting with is drinking - which I rarely do - am not in a position to be telling either clients or colleagues what they should or should not drink. And finally, the last time I smoked was ages ago so if she & Hatem have been busy thinking I was some kind of man-eating monster for so long then that was just funny.

Except over the last couple of months, I keep hearing the same story from different sources - that Hatem has seen me in a compromising situation. Each time with newer & juicier details - all revolving around the fact that am a "typical Magribiya(Morrocan)". Moroccan girls here are apparently all sluts and frankly, each version I hear is more offensive than the one before.

Last week apparently, Hatem went & told his brother who told his wife who just happens to be my sister-in-law. And my sister-in-law apparently called Hatem & his wife & went absolutely ballistic on them for talking about me etc.....

I am pleasantly surprised. That's my evil sister-in-law we're talking about here. She hates me. I don't expect her to stick up for me. So that's good. What's bad is this whole situation is starting to get to be a bit of a pain. So the question becomes what - if anything - should I do with Hatem & his sidekick- excuse me - his wife?

My instinct is to ignore this sort of thing. But if the story has so far travelled through the Egyptian gravepine from Abu Dhabi to London where my sister-in-law lives then that's a sign that it's not dying out isn't it?


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Wishing all of you - and your loved ones - a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. And wishing for all the usual stuff - you know - world peace, end of famine, freedom for all etc....



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Big Deal

The thing about marriage is that there aren't really any. Milestones, I mean. Or highlights. Everytime I think today is happiest day of my life, it turns out that it isn't. That another happier day will come along. And then another. And eventually, the first day will be forgotten.

It's the same for the bad things. You think you hit rock bottom. You think this is it. The marriage is on the rocks. Things are so bad the marriage can't possibly survive. Then you find that it can. That YOU can, that you can take a lot more before you give up. Sometimes it's scary going down this slope. You start wondering how much am I really willing to put up with? Anything? Am I so totally powerless infront of my partner that he can do essentially anything and I will forgive? Do I have any red lines at all? If so, where are they?

I can't remember ever getting as angry with someone as I get with my husband sometimes & still being on speaking terms with them afterwards. Is it love? Old age? What?

Or is it the institution of marriage itself? When you live together, when there's such little physical or emotional privacy, well there's a limit to how long you can both bear to be miserable and make your partner miserable. You get to a point where neither one of you can stand the tension anymore.

So he flirts with my friends. I stay out late. He blows his top & starts yelling about divorce. I come back but I am so angry that for days & days, I am churlish, abusive, rude, you name it. Passive aggressive, like one of my commentators called it. And he puts up with it, refuses to be provoked, refuses to let me have the fight I so badly want. Beyond occasionally asking something along the line of 'wana hafdal saybik tishtimeeni kida kteer?'(Am I going to have to put up with you insulting me for much longer?) he essentially takes whatever I dish out.

Then one day I get what I want. I push him too far & we have that screaming match.We wake up the neighborhood. And despite the fact that the things he said were much worse than the things he said the first time he blew his top & started yelling, I find myself feeling better the next day.

Except now HE'S upset & feels I went too far & should make it up to him. So I do. Because I can't take anymore confrontation. And because frankly I miss him. I miss feeling comfortable with him. I miss having the freedom to call on his love & support anytime I need it. It's weird but less than one year of marriage & suddenly having to get through a single day without somehow touching base with your partner becomes a daunting prospect. I miss simple things like sharing a laugh.

So the incident winds down with me taking responsibility and apologizing because this story had to end. He still hasn't apologized in any meaningful manner. He admits that he may have behaved badly but I guess he feels my bad behavior somehow cancels his bad behavior. Whatever. It doesn't matter anymore.

Strangely enough, none of it seems like such a big deal anymore. Maybe it's the cold? He was rather sweet when I had my cold. And it was such a horrible cold that I don't think my system could have handled marital strife on top of it.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Why is it that when you have a horrible head cold & your doctor has told you that you need complete rest for 2 days, your management ultimately refuses to accept that?

Why do they let you have about 2 hrs of the first day of rest & then start hounding you with phone calls about how you absolutely must come in?

Why - when you finally give in & go the office - do you then find that no one wants to be in the same room with you because they're afraid of catching what you so clearly have a bad case of?

Why - oh why - is it that they WILL make you come in so they can all then treat you like an outcast?

Why aren't I in bed where I belong?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Something he said during a recent screaming match has got me thinking. He asked me why I got so upset over this particular incident when I usually take these things as a joke.

In reply to the inevitable question about how he would feel if he was in my place, he said that's not a good indicator because we don't generally react the same way to most things. He says he never pretended that he wasn't possessive but I keep saying am not, that I actually take it upon myself to come & tell him things like ooooh I think she has a crush on you & tease him about etc...whereas he would never do.

Well he's right. I normally find it funny when other girls try to flirt with him. More often than not I start teasing him about it & completely embarrass him because it amuses me when he gets embarrassed.

So why didn't I just laugh off the latest incident? I don't know exactly. Maybe it's the fact that he didn't get embarrassed. He gave no indication of being uncomfortable with the situation. He clearly enjoyed every minute of it. I mean, if some girl is flirting with him but I can tell he's not interested and that she's getting on his nerves & embarrassing him then there's no reason for me to be upset is there?

So what does that mean? That I only mind other women flirting with him if he enjoys it? I guess that's one way to put it.

So what are my limits?


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Him (on the fact that I was having to take a lot of business calls): Eh elsittat elsaytara di?A3id ma3 CEO?(He's asking if he's sitting with a CEO.)
Me : I am allowed to take business calls no?
Him: You know Loulou, if you ask me one more time what you're allowed to do ....
Me : But I have to ask. I don't want a divorce so I can't take any chances. I have to be very worried.

He glared. I thought he was going to say more. Then he ignored me to bury his face in his newspaper.

A little later:

Him: You know, you don't actually have to sleep on the couch. I get the message. You're not in the mood. I wasn't going to force you.
Me : Of course you won't force me. Why would you bother?You have so many other options.
Him: Tisba7i 3ala khair. (Good night)
Me : Winta min ahlo. (Good night)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Yesterday I dragged myself home from the office and the minute I walked in through the door, I felt claustrophobic. I didn't want to be there. The urge to find someplace else to go was still pretty strong.

To suppress it, I kept myself busy around the house. I cleaned out my closet, did my washing, scrubbed the two bathrooms, vaccumed, polished furniture, the works. When I couldn't find anymore chores to do, I felt hungry. So I made myself a sandwich and a salad. Spent ages slicing vegetables for the salad. Then I made strawberry juice. Took everything out onto the balcony.

After I was done eating, sitting still made me start to feel cold. And I stank of bathroom bleach, funiture polish, window cleaner etc....I looked at my hands and of course they were all dry and flaky from all the products. I hadn't bothered with gloves.

So the answer to the question what to do next seemed obvious. I needed a bath. I ran myself a bubble bath, pushed my hair out of the the way over the edge of the bathtub because the soapy products I use on my skin would overdry my hair & make it even more difficult to control. I figured I can shampoo it later.

Couldn't relax though. Was still too hyper & tense. And I felt the depression coming back. All of a sudden, the water felt suffocatingly hot. Was about to get up & rinse when he walked in on me.

I hadn't realized I'd managed to waste so much time. He was back from work already. I didn't look at him. And he didn't say anything. I was expecting him to leave. Instead, he went over to the sink & I heard running water. Probably shaving.

I kept my eyes closed thinking please don't let him say anything, I can't take anything etc....I was quietly working myself into a panic in there.

The next minute he was sitting on the edge of the bathtub - next to me, asking if I was asleep in there. I said no. Then we both fell silent. He reached out, picked up a strand of my hair & started playing with it. I lay there watching him twist it around his fingers.

And I had to keep reminding myself that my hair is not an erogenous zone, that it is entirely composed of dead fibrous tissue and there is therefore no scientific justification for the way I could feel myself responding. My hormones had other thoughts.

When he let go of my hair, his hand was in the water, bursting bubbles. And he started talking. Don't ask me what he was saying though. I was completely fixated on his hand, moving in the water, inches away from my skin. All I could think about was when & where he was going to touch me.

He didn't though. He's nothing if not a tease. A few minutes later, he removed his hand, stood up. Part of me was frustrated & disappointed. Another part breathed a sigh of relief. He was going to leave me alone. And I had managed not to disgrace myself.

No such luck. He pulled the plug and all my bathwater started draining away. Quite disconcerting given the fact that bathwater & bubbles was all the covering I had access to. I said I'd like to finish my bath. And he said he wanted to see me - as if that was self-explanatory.

I did try to put up a fight. I told him that sex isn't the answer to everything, that we have issues to resolve, that I'll hate him in the morning etc.....But I don't advise anyone to bet on my chances in this sort of fight.

Can't say I was surprised though. He rarely has to exert any effort to seduce me. Usually, all he has to do is be in the vicinity & breathe normally. I think that's part of the reason why I run away from him when am angry. We get into this cycle where am mad at him but am still sleeping with him. And everytime we have sex and he doesn't apologize or change his position afterwards, I end up feeling that much worse about myself, about him & about the entire situation. He can go on like that for ages. But I find myself close to a nervous breakdown after a few days of it.

Like right now. I mean, he flirts with my friends, he threatens to dump me, he won't even apologize properly & what do I do? I sleep with him. I'm so pathetic. How can I expect that he would have any respect for me when I can't seem to show any SPINE? Of course he'll just keep walking all over me. Of course he will. He's a man. They're all bastards.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Running Away

Didn't actually make him sleep on the couch. There was no need. I figured if am not around at all then I don't have to care about his sleeping arrangements right?

The night of the Great Kissing Game, I didn't go home with him after dinner. Told him I was going over to M's. I called her after I left him. She said that she and her husband were going out to the Jazz Bar and that K & I should join them. Told her I'd join, that K was busy.

Got home about 3:00am - having spent half the time answering questions from people about how K was and why he wasn't with me. Why does everybody have to act like me and him are Siamese twins or something? M's husband insisted on dropping me off. So I left my car parked around the Hilton. Figured I could take a cab over there and pick it up in the morning.

K was asleep when I got home. I stayed up all night watching TV in the living room. In the morning, I got dressed as quietly as possible and made sure I was out of the house before he was up.

Avoiding him at lunch was easy. Usually I break my neck to get home and catch him for 10 or 15 min before he leaves for his evening shift. Didn't bother with that. So he wasn't home when I got there.

Had my lunch, showered, got changed & went out again. Went to my uncle's office, got his key then drove over to his place, switched off my cell & crashed on the couch. Was really sleepy. Got up just after Isha(evening prayers). Switched on my cell. No messages. So much for my loving, concerned husband, I thought.

Last night I went out with my uncle - also to the Jazz Bar. And as luck would have it, K's friends were there. The whole bunch of them. So it was only a matter of time before he called.

Him: Ana bas 7abait afakarik inti yizhar niseeti takhdi hdoomik ma3aki winti bit3azili. (He's saying he just wanted to tell me that I forgot to take my clothes etc...when I moved out.)
Me : Titrodni ya K?(Are you kicking me out?)
Him: La ezay? 7ad yi2dar yitrodik min baitik bardo? Ana bas bataminik ini 7agtik illy 3andi fil7ifz wilson ya3ni lama tib2i 3ayzaha.(Of course not. No one can kick you out of your own house.)
Me : Allah yikhaleek.(Thank you)
Him: Ay khidma. Shoofi inta 3ayza ti3mili eh ba2a wibi2i 3arafeeni.(Anytime. See what you want to do and let me know.)
Me : A3mil eh fi eh?(What I want to do about what?)
Him: Ya3ni 3ayza trawa7i ba2a, 3ayza tkalimeeni elsob7 ti2oolili ab3at lik wara2tik 3ala fain, ay 7aga ana ta7t amrik.(Whatever. You want to come home, you want to call me in the morning and tell me where to send the divorce papers, anything you want. I'm at your service.)
Me : You're unspeakable you know that?
Him: Wallahi inti adra.
Me : You flirt with other women IN MY PRESENCE then YOU want a divorce?
Him: Bossi inti yimkin 3andik 7a2 filly inti bt2oolih. La mish yimkin da akeed. Wana ma 3andish ay moshkila fi ini inti tib2i za3lana. 3ala 3aini ya sitti a23od ata'asif wasali7 waboos elayadi kaman inshallah lilsob7. Bas 3ashan a3mil kida lazim ab2a 3arif inti fain. Wi 3ashan kaman ma akdibsh 3laiki ba2a ana t3ibt min mowdoo3 in inti ay 7aga ma ti3gibkeesh tseebili elbait wi tinzili tsee3i filshawari3. Wana a3id filbait ba2a wi kol 7awayan yikalimni yi2ooli asl ana shayef elmadam sahrana fi ay dahiya. Eh?Mitgawiz ra2asa?(Maybe you're right. Definitely you're right. And I totally understand that you're upset. And I'm ready to apologize/make amends etc...But in order to do that I have to know where you are. I am getting tired of this. Everytime something upsets you, you stay out all night etc...)
Me: I only did that once.
Him: Wana 2adart elzoroof illy inti konti bitmori beeha wa2taha. (And I tried to understand what you were going through (that time).)You had a miscarriage. Makonteesh fi 7altik eltabi3iya(It wasn't normal circumstances). So I let it pass. Bas el7ikaya shaklaha mish 7ikayit miscarriage wala yi7zanoon(But it looks like this is normal behavior for you). Inti yizhar nizamik kida 3ala tool wi 7aga ba2it ti2rif wana ba2a ma yinfa3neesh elnizam da(And I will not accept this).

At that point he was yelling so loud I could hardly even understand him anymore so I just hung up. It was really not a good time for him to bring up the miscarriage thing. Especially not in that manner. That's bound to depress me even at the best of times.

I got so depressed. So much for not letting him see that stupid incident got to me. Two days later, here we are discussing divorce. I went home last night but we didn't talk. He took one look at me and turned around and walked into his study. I went into one of the spare bedrooms, locked myself in and cried myself to sleep. Out of depression, disgust, you name it.

This morning, he was up when I was getting ready for work. I got dressed and then asked him if I was allowed to leave the house to go to work. He looked at me and didn't answer. So I left and here I am at the office.

The worst part is, I never wanted to go home or to see him less than I do now. I really want to run away as far as possible. I don't even have the energy to be angry anymore. I don't CARE if he wants to flirt or sleep around. I don't CARE if he wants to drop dead. I was stupid to ever care.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kissing Game

In recent days, two of my girlfriends have bought new cars. Both are new drivers. And both have no bf's or husbands - thus no one to run errands like taking the car to be registered, riding with them their first few times on the road or responding to an SOS when they're driving around & around because they can't figure out how to squeeze the car into any available parking spot.

Everyone knows am not the stuff driving instructors are made of. I simply don't have the patience. I started driving so early - long before I got my license. And I just taught myself by going out with my friends to the Ladies Beach & driving their mothers' cars and by driving my brothers' and my cousins' cars every year when we'd go home for the summer.

When I did take the compulsory driving lessons you need to get your license here in AD, they consisted of driving around while the instructor ate takeaway or gossiped on her mobile.

As a result, the very concept of driving being something you could teach someone is hard for me to get my head around. If am in the car with someone and they make a mistake, I go ballistic. When am in my car and other drivers make a mistake, I go ballistic.

So never ask me to teach you to drive. I'm not SAFE.

However, like a good friend, I volunteered my husband to help. He didn't mind. He got to drive 2 very nice cars and show off his driving skills to two very nice girls who are both suitably grateful and won't shut up about how sweet he is etc....

Infact if they don't shut up about it pretty soon though, I think am going to EXPLODE.

Let me give you an example:

Yesterday, the two girls offered to buy us dinner to show gratitude. One arrived safely. The other got stuck and couldn't park her car. So of course, he went downstairs to help. She came up - all gushy and gooey about him. And I managed to keep my proud wifely smile firmly in place. Barely.

When he arrived a few minutes later, having had to drive around a bit to find parking, the two of them were instantly in transports over his chivalry, his amazing driving skills, his generous heart, his sense of humor, how he made driving so much fun and had them in stitches the whole time etc.... And of course he was basking in it, turning on the charm big-time. I started to wonder if I was really needed. The Mutual Admiration Society seemed to be proceeding just fine without me.

One of the girls - we'll call her B. - is Lebanese. Her elder sister is actually a good friend of mine but you know how it is. When you're friends with one sister out of 3, you end up getting the other two for free whether you like it or not. All 3 sisters are gorgeous incidentally.

So there he was explaining some parking technicality to her and the conversation went something like this:

B. : Merci kteer. 3an jad badak boseh.(Thank you. I want a kiss)
Him: Inzili khodi bosa howa inti sgayara?(Come on down and get one. The 'come on down' was because he was sitting back on the couch and she happened to be standing at the time.)

So - giggling and going all red - she leans down & kisses him on the left cheek, giggling some more and complaining about the stubble. He said something to the effect that if he'd known she was going to kiss his cheek he would have shaved. Which was just infuriating because he's been growing out a beard for about a week now and I've been getting all sorts of skin scratches, scrapes and burns and I NEVER complained and he never offered to shave for ME!

Upon which the other girl - a Moroccan I'll refer to as F. - complains that she is jealous & wants a kiss too.

Him: Illy 3ayez 7aga yeegi yakhodha.(Anyone who wants anything should come and get it.)
F. : So you don't want a kiss?
Him: Ana mish ha2ool la bas mish ana illy 3ayez.(I'm not saying no but I'm not the one who asked.)
F. : Should I kiss you on the right or the left?
Him: Ya basha inti ti3mili illy inti 3ayzah. I7na ta7t amrik.(Essentially he was saying she should do what she likes, that he's at her service.)

More giggling. I was ready to burst at that point. I knew he was deliberately speaking in Arabic because he knows they love the Egyptian accent and sense of humor. I didn't think he was being particularly funny but they were laughing at every syllable.

So F. gives him two kisses - left first, then right.

Him: Tab el7amdullilah(Thank God). Ana kont khayef la elyimeen yikoon feeh 3aib ma 7addish 3ayez yiboos feeh(I was getting worried there was something wrong with the right side of my face, that no one wants to kiss it).

More giggling, eyelash-batting & other pukey stuff.

Then my silence must have made itself pronounced.

B.: K, how about L.(Me)?
Him: Wi di 3ayza soa'al(There's no question)?Di sa7bit bait. Teegi fi ay wa2t tboos wi trawa7(She can kiss me anytime). Mish mi7taga minha isti'izan(She doesn't need permission).

The last thing I felt like doing at that moment was to kiss him. The options were more like:

1) Slap his face
2) Scratch his eyes out
3) Kick him where it hurts
4) Make him sleep on the couch for the rest of his life
5) All of the above


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Who would have thought that Abu Dhabi has it's very own Red-Light District?

Last night I went out clubbing with my husband and some friends. Sometimes I feel I am getting too old for the local club scene. Everytime we go, the crowd seems to get younger and younger. Last night D, M and I were the only women present who weren't entirely adolescent. One after the other, the clubs are getting invaded by people in their teens and early twenties. And people our age are migrating to more extravagant, obscenely expensive restaurant and cafe settings that have live music, a dance floor and a formal dress code. It has it's advantages I suppose. After years of going out dancing in jeans, I am finally getting a chance to dress up quite often. But on the down-side, I guess I haven't aged so much that I don't miss DJ's, funky music and going wild on the dance floor in comfortable shoes as opposed to strappy, high heels that cut into my feet as I dance and that are so expensive I have to worry about damaging.

When I look at some of these kids though I wonder that their parents let them stay out so late when I wouldn't have dreamed of it at their age. Technically, the clubs don't allow anyone under 21 but that's not enforced very strictly. Especially if it's a couple.

The venues were Saks and Ocean at the Royal Meridien. We kept moving between them, following the songs we liked. The evening started out well. By 1:00am though, I was exhausted. My head started to hurt from all the noise and smoke. I tend to take my headaches very seriously because they're liable to turn into horrible migraines if I don't.

I told my husband, he said fine let's go home. The others tried to convince us to stay and not be party-poopers etc....In the end, the compromise was that he'd take me downstairs to the lobby for some peace, strong coffee and Panadol. If I felt any better, we'd come back. Otherwise we'd just go home.

The Royal Meridien has a really nice lobby. Big, comfortable couches and lots of space. But they were closed when we arrived. No service so no coffee for me. We settled down on one of the couches. I rested my head on it and we got into one of the famous, whispered conversations everyone keeps teasing us about. I guess it's true though. We tend to speak to each other almost under our breath. I don't know why. I never had that problem with anyone before. It was very quiet. Hardly anyone there. I felt the headache starting to recede a bit.

We lost track of the time until suddenly, hordes of people began descending on the lobby. The clubs upstairs were closing and everyone was leaving. I couldn't take it. The weather was really nice so I told him I wanted to go for a walk to get some fresh air.

It's been years since I've walked in the Khalifa/Najda/Hamdan area that late at night. Usually if am out that late, am in a car and am somewhere on the Corniche. The Royal Meridien itself is a recent discovery for me.

Imagine my shock when I saw downtown Abu Dhabi transformed into what looked like a red-light district. Women of every age and of 3 or 4 nationalities at the most, wearing things you would never see in Abu Dhabi any other time, standing on the sidewalks. They were getting picked up or dropped off, haggling with men. Young men, old men. Arabs, Europeans, Asians, you name it. All classes of men. From taxi drivers to men in brand new Mercedes and BMW's.

They were everywhere. Down Khalifa Street. Around Next and the AlMariah Cinema. All the way down Hamdan. Short of walking towards the Corniche, it seemed like you couldn't get away from them.

The worst part was when we passed the area around the Howard Johnson Hotel. It was a big crowd there. Like some mad cattle market. That was when we got close enough to them to hear all the haggling. People with no language in common trying to communicate, bargaining for sex. In surprisingly loud voices.

As I stepped off the pavement to cross the street, I felt something sticky under my foot. I looked down. A used condom was stuck to my heel. I shook it off and wiped my heel on the pavement. I could see a few more lying on the ground. My stomach literally heaved.

My husband asked me what happened. I said nothing. It was so gross I didn't want to talk about it. I was glad he didn't see it or comment.

You could see police patrolling the streets. Not surprising that. Abu Dhabi always has a heavy police and security presence on the streets - especially late at night. What was surprising was that the cops appeared singluarly uninterested in what was happening.

How bizzare. So the government - represented by the police - stands guard over this sort of thing at night. And then in the morning, the government - as represented by the Municipality - cleans up the streets after the prostitutes and their clients, picking up all the used condoms thrown from the cars I guess?

How much more legal can you make prostitution?Seriously what does Bangkok or Amsterdam have on this? And forgive me for being prudish but isn't this supposed to be a Muslim country?

And these women. So many of them. We women are screaming all the time about men who see us as inanimate pieces of meat as opposed to intelligent beings. And then you get THAT many women selling their bodies exactly like inanimate pieces of meat?

I commented on this to my husband.

Him: If there's mutual consent, the police here doesn't get involved.
Me : What are you talking about? You and I get in trouble for kissing in public and then they allow this?
Him: No one is kissing. They're just people standing around talking. The police don't think it's their problem what is being talked about.
Me : And this doesn't bother you?
Him: 7abibti i7na malna?(What does it have to do with us?)
Me: I can't believe you brought me here.
Him: You wanted to walk. Ba3dain howa i7na fi biyot-hom?I7na masheeyin filshari3. Khalas 2arabna niwsal.(We're not in their homes. We're walking in the street. And we're almost there anyway.)

Suddenly I just wanted to go home. Even the air felt contaminated. It was getting cold. I felt tired. My head was pounding again. I was scared. The whole thing was scary.

Me: K ana khayfa. (Am scared)
Him: Khayfa min eh ya bit?Winti mashiya ma3 kharoof?7ad yi2dar yikalimik wana ma3aki?(Basically he's saying he won't let anyone bother me)

Maybe not but I wasn't physically afraid. He missed the point. The funny thing is if he had acted all Arab and offended that his wife should be exposed to such things I would have complained that he was being patronizing and chauvinistic. As things went though, I was disgusted and disturbed by what I saw and I am left feeling a little let down that he wasn't more protective of my feelings. And that he wasn't as disturbed as I was. He's more of a cynic than I gave him credit for.

Go figure.