Sometimes you lose people and thats ok?... Sometimes nice dates and memories become bittersweet to the point that you expect others to understand. you expect that radio show to stop wishing happy mother's day or happy everyday-day... and yet they're all oblivious, all around you. they expect you to be a-ok... by default. and how come you aren't? huh? they never wonder whether they might be triggering a flood of bad memories associated to said event. And you're left alone... the odd one out.
Maybe it's better to keep it as your own private journey... your own recollection.
And it's true. Unforgettable... that's what you are...
I'm studying for my Steps exam, part of the Board Accreditation for Medical Students or Doctors to be. So here is an exam that you have to study for, for at least 4 months, going on 7. The first of My "baby" Steps or Giant Leap, depending on the outcome, will be on June 31st. The decision has been taken. Awaiting Amideast Confirmation for available places.
Anyways, so here you are focusing your life around one thing and only for at least 4 months, in my case let's set it at 4. This is what you see, what you think of when you close your eyes, what you breathe. It's not enough to pass the exam you need to score high, actually with the current competitive spirits becoming highly more competitive, you actually need to score in the 99th percentile so you need to do better than 99 percent of the people taking the exam. How do you say does everyone aim for this? Don't ask. Don't tell. Don't mention it. Don't remind me that others are taking that same exam and that my score will depend on them just as much as on myself... Where were we?
Your life revolves around one book really, the First Aid for USMLE Step 1. And yet does it really stop there? What happens to life when you start seeing it through one and only perspective? Does it wait for you? Does it keep moving? Does it move faster? Or do you move slower?
I want to document every day, during these four months, with a random picture taken on my lousy 3.2 megapixel camera phone. Yes, gone are the days when 3.2 megapixels were enough. The idea though is that I know that in these four months, while I would be looking at this one book, my own background, my surroundings will be changing, as if life will be revolving maybe even spinning around this book, this one-on-thing relationship and I have but this camera to document it.
And it's not just about the book. It's also about how settings change, how the unexpected that I might actually be expecting seeing how I am anticipating to take pictures of it, this unexpected will be something to remember eventually. In this 4 months period, I already know that I will be moving from Hamra working with kids, to some random house away from civilization, some kind of detoxification from urban life, some better and more efficient way to study, some time out... I will be coming back to Beirut in May, to the Psychiatry ward, then to Family Medicine. Along the line, I will be attending weddings, birthdays, maybe even funerals but those are unannounced as of yet because, well, we plan our future to feel optimistic about our present, so live forever, and forever young...
The idea is rather simple. Life doesn't stop. So bring it on. And maybe as a tribute to the book that defines my next 4 months. My everyday. My ambitions. My journey.
Here it is, my binoculars, my vision of the world, my blinkers.
It's been a week or so that I'm silently observing the people around me. A way to reassess maybe. A way to let the world know that I have nothing else to add... for now... and so I'd rather see what other people are adding to this world... to my life, and well, to theirs... Mostly because the period that everyone around me, including me, seem to be passing through cannot be described any better than being in a rut. Yes a rut. rut, /rʌt/ noun, verb,rut·ted, rut·ting. –a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising: i.e. to fall into a rut.
So here I am sipping drinks at L'Osteria, them' sips of white wine that the waitress kept recommending, although I had never heard of it before... Talk about taking chances! The white wine was a rather delightful "Chateau Khoury" chardonnay if I'm not mistaken, come to think of it, it must have been pretty good since we ordered a couple more bottles. So...here I am sipping drinks at L'Osteria, observing the people around me and gauging their happiness. Not that I have named myself a judge of good standing, but these are people whose lives are transforming right in front of my eyes, some get into relationships, some make mistakes with ex-es, some are unhappy with their jobs and wonder where is this life taking them... And this seems like a recurrent theme, as if, men especially, who appear to have had wonderful, over-the-top-out-of-this-world ambitions, are now left with a regular 9 to 5 job, only to be overworked from 9 to midnight, without any significant gratitude from their colleagues, their bosses, nor the people around them. And so their dreams are crushed... Time to readjust, time to think smaller but steadier... Time to think of starting a family, the last resort to prove that YES you're a man GODDAMMIT!
FlashBack To the day before when we decided to go skiing only to get to the middle of nowhere right before Faraya Village and have the car break down on us. And so what was planned out to be fun in the sun, ended up with me taking part in some voodoo religious ritual to get the car fixed. If this sentence has you lost, dazed or confused, imagine me observing a godsend? mechanic fixing the timing belt, with godsend being the right choice of words seeing how the said mechanic initiates his task by burning incense over the car, saying a little prayer, and insisting that God is working through his hands. The car got fixed eventually. The misadventure turned rather funny incident to remember, showed me how some people, even if living in the middle of nowhere, are grateful for their lives and whatever God sends them. And oh how true it is, when the guy was earning money for his hard work, as we decide that it wasn't worth it to go skiing anymore "Le malheur des uns fait le Bonheur des autres."
FlashForward to Today when I was sitting with R. at Ramlet el Baida for some much needed timeout, for staying at home two days in a row can be a recipe for disaster, and wallowing in self righteousness. So here I am, sipping on a fresh cup of coffee since drinking alcohol at 11 am is frowned upon, but what about Sunday Brunch?! Anyways, here I am observing the sea, the landing Air France Airplane, the Down syndrome child who comes up to say Hello, the rather ugly faced hot bodied 20 something making her way through Corniche with heels, and as of yet intact clothing and makeup. And finally here comes the highlight of my morning, the little boy who made me laugh, the -as R. put it- "Psychomotor Delay"... A seven-ish-year-old boy, learning how to ride a bicycle, falling every once in a while, laughing at his clumsiness, persevering, hitting the garbage can, the rail, the sidewalk, hands and head forward. And laughing... He was a rather fast learner... I'm not sure what he'll end up to be. A mechanic maybe? An engineer? A bum?
It didn't matter then and there, he was learning how to ride his bicycle, and this achievement by itself was ENOUGH!... Unlike my friends who seem to have their great expectations crushed, unlike my own self, dreading the day I will have to settle for a job and so continuing my never ending, rather life consuming, medical education, unlike those who have come to be disappointed by this life and its treacherousness, and so they decided to find fake comfort elsewhere, be it in relationships, in God, in writing, in drawing. Life is not to be trusted. But you are. Trust yourself. And nothing but.