Introducing the Hell Hole ( because no other title would ever do)

Despite what friends and family say about work and despite all my efforts to describe to them how hellish my workplace is, all I ever get is “get over it” or answers like “as soon as you step out of the building, put on a smile and forget everything that happened during the work day”. Well I wish it was as easy as that, I wish there was a “reset button” that automatically erases everything that went on during the day, I wish it was that easy, but I just can’t help it. I mean I have witnessed tons of humorous incidents, a fair share of pathetic and depressing events and I have this overwhelming fear that I will not be able to remember nor narrate those memorable episodes in the future.

I have been debating whether or not to document these past few months at – INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE -, whether it would get me into trouble in case my superiors ever discover blogs and/or blogging (very slight chance) but I got to a point where I really, sincerely and utterly do not give a tiny crap. So here I am, creating this new rubric, whose title I haven’t thought of yet (well it could be something like “work and shit”), entirely related and dedicated to fun, boring or appalling incidents at work.  And as you will discover soon enough, the main attraction for this part will mainly be one person and one person only… (Cannot be named)

 Moving on, I reckon this category needs a fair opening, therefore, I will not allow myself to narrate one particular event, but rather go all “Buzzfeed-y” and combine a list, a “How to recognize and deal with a Bully at work” list. Notice the usage of Bully with a capital B, this is done deliberately in order to emphasize the fact that this bully is actually someone who has some kind of authority over you.

  1. Intermittent Nervous Nice Syndrome (INNS):  involves unpredictable episodes or experiences in conjunction with a physiological disturbance making the patient extremely and unpredictably nice.

Symptom: a Bully seems at first like the nicest person alive. When someone is TOO nice, there has to be a catch. One cannot be extremely nice except in the following two cases: 1) one is trying too hard and faking it 2) one is a nun/priest

Cure:  beware of nice people; try not to reveal any personal information to them, you never know what they may or may not use against you.

  1. Transient Manic Lame-ass Disorder (TMLD): Involves intermittent, rapidly-changing episodes whose main phenomenological feature is a clinically significant extreme in lame jokes and attempts to make others laugh

Symptom: when the person in question constantly attempts joking and throwing lame punch lines at you, it’s definitely obvious they’re trying too hard. Lame people are easily spotted, they’re usually uncomfortable and are the only ones laughing at their jokes.

Cure:  when your boss or superior is trying too hard to make jokes and show you that they can be funny too, always laugh along, no matter how lame the joke is. Try to perfect that fake laugh of yours and get ready to use it on a daily basis.

  1. Pervasive Antisocial Anger with Constipation (PAAC): PAAC is defined as involving deeply-rooted, ever-present thoughts and behavior compromised by an unhealthy urge to avoid being near human beings surrounding the perception of self, exacerbated by an uncomfortable and unnatural inability to defecate which makes the patient rather angry.

 

Symptom:  usually Bullies are crangry (cranky + angry) most of the time.

Cure:  Try to always be on their good side. Do not tempt them and avoid them whenever they’re infuriated, unless it’s you they’re pissed at.

 

  1. Persistent Bipolar Anticipation Disorder with Facial Tic (PBADWFT): PBADWFT is found in people with unstoppable, involuntary emotions and behaviors whose main phenomenological feature is unpredictably extreme mood responses worsened by fear of it occurring, worsened by involuntary facial muscle spasms.

Symptom:  my Bully is bipolar. I’m guessing there are a few out there with similar disorders but I always hope for the best. How to spot a cranky, bipolar bully? Easy, if they go from point 2 to point 3 in a matter of minutes, then you are dealing with a classic case of PBADWFT.

Cure:  I’m afraid there are no typical cures for this disease. Every case requires studies of its own and specific solutions. Usually, I try to avoid in point 3 and laugh along in point 2.  

 

  1. Chronic Retarded Mood Syndrome with Delusions (CRMSWD): CRMSWD is found in people with ongoing, systemic and unstoppable surrounding clinically significant mental aptitude impairment during intense emotional experiences, exacerbated by fearful visual images.

Symptom:  Bullies think they’re always right. Like all the time. When they’re convinced of something, there’s nothing anyone can ever say or do to change their minds. In some extreme cases, they’re even delusional.

Cure:  do not ever refute anything they say, nod and agree, always nod and agree. Except in the case the Bully is accusing you, then defend yourself obviously.

 

Finally, huge thanks to N. for giving me inspiration and courage. 

 

 

 

Magnificent Maleficent

At a young age, we are taught the difference between good and evil, right and wrong. The books we read, the people we meet, the songs we hear, and most importantly the Disney movies we are all exposed to, teach us that there are heroes and villains in this world. And boy do I realize those concepts were misguided.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now, ever since I realized I haven’t written anything in two months and since I watched the incredible “Maleficent” movie last week.

Unlike Disney’s original Sleeping Beauty, the lead in this story is the villain, a villain we all hated for a long time.  Ultimately, this movie reshapes the prejudice one has regarding heroes and villains. One can always right the wrongs and all it takes is a bit of love and sacrifice. Moreover, even villains have origin stories; they too were once young and innocent and at some defining point in time something, an event of great repercussions alters the way they think and the way they perceive the world and others.

Eventually, love does conquer all, but not the romantic kind of love, that kind is more related to passion. No it is the deep kind of love. It is the love a child feels for his parents and siblings, the love a mother has for her children; the unconditional kind that lasts. That aspect of life is another moral very cleverly portrayed in the Maleficent movie. Prince charming is actually pretty lame; there is in fact infatuation between the prince and Aurora, but that infatuation isn’t love.

Aesthetically speaking, the movie comprises some amazing 3D effects. It renders you amazed, at times astonished by the beauty of the magical creatures and land and at others horrified. Not to forget the axial element: Angy of course. This movie wouldn’t have made the impact it did on me if anyone else was playing the role of the amazing evil villain. I mean those cheeks and those eyes. Angelina Jolie couldn’t have been more perfect for the role; she is definitely flawless in her looks as well as her acting skills. I can definitely say I have a newly found respect for that woman.

All in all, Maleficent is a great movie to watch, at least in my opinion.

Electoral Fiasco

It seems as though the Lebanese have been transformed into toddlers bickering “My Political Leader is better than yours!” “No! Mine!”

I for one do not give a flying monkey’s ass over who gets elected for presidency. I know I probably should, but I don’t. What bothers me though is not the process itself, but people’s reactions to it. I mean, suddenly everyone is a political science major, even 16-year olds are unexpectedly wise and care about other things than taking hot #selfies!

I hate to break it to you, but Lebanon is not and will never be a DEMOCRACY. Lebanon is an Irano-Gulf-Western conquest hiding behind a mask of make believe democracy. Haven’t the years taught us anything? Any president who wasn’t approved by at least one of these forces did not make it, or best case scenario ended up dead. So why even bother showing support for ANY candidate if they’re doomed. I mean the biggest joke to the deputies was that a woman declared her candidature! We barely have one woman in the government and this woman actually dares to run for president! Don’t get me wrong, I would love for us women to like take over, “Neswen”- style, but this is just getting ahead of ourselves, we still have a long way to go before we can get to such a position. Men in our society cannot bear the thought of having a woman manager, or even any woman being independent and having a career they cannot even dream of, let alone a woman as head of this godforsaken country!

Therefore, these facts make it hard for me to care; as long as anyone is elected – anyone who can put on a lovely and deceitful smile – the country will be ” بألف خير” !

I leave you now with a thought to ponder upon; a wise man, one of the most renowned presidents of history,  named Abraham Lincoln once said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Fiction vs. Reality

A few months back, I came up with a new resolution: I decided to start reading books that would compliment my general culture and lay off the books that are just for entertainment. Looking back now, I reckon that decision was silly and out of place. Despite what people may say: “come on! Grow out of it!” or “you’re still reading teenage books!”, well the truth is, these books give me hope and make me feel happy so I do not care that I’m a 24 year old still reading authors such as John Green!
1. Fiction is instructive too
When you read fiction just for entertainment you’re also working your imagination. I strongly believe that when you start reading – fiction or non-fiction – you automatically start to imagine the setting, the places, the characters, how they look like etc… you basically try to put faces to everyone, in a way you’re a director in your head and the book is vividly running like a film that you get to manipulate. Okay fiction may not bring a lot of general culture to ones who read it. It may be written in a non-sophisticated manner; however it really has an impact on one’s imagination and perception of things.
I’ve never told this to anyone before, and you may not believe me but this IS a true story: when I first read “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, I was 12. It was a while before the first movie was made and back then I became obsessed with the Harry Potter book series. The first book is special as it describes specifically Hogwarts, the ride to Hogwarts, the magical elements in Hogwarts, all the classes and activities. When the movie came out, I was speechless: Hogwarts was depicted exactly how I had imagined it. I really could not believe all the similarities between how I imagined the story in my head and how I saw it on film.

Hogwarts Castle

2. The characters are inspiring and flawless

In most fiction novels, the main characters are fearless. They’re who everyone else looks up to, the problem solvers you may say. Just think of Harry, the boy who lived, he’s constantly defeating the bad guys against all odds. Or Katniss Everdeen who’s always up for the next challenge. The list is endless actually.

cn_image.size.s-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2

katniss-catching-fire

divergent-trailer-shailene-woodley

3. The characters don’t need to have a stable job

Isn’t that the best! The main characters, (logical since they’re all teens) do not go through the horrific routine we have to deal with. Every day brings a new adventure, and they’re always ready to take it on. What I like to do is read some of these stories at work whenever I have a minute to breathe. They carry me away from the regularity of my job and make me lose track of space and time, and it’s almost like I’m with the characters and not actually in my office.

4. Usually in fiction, the world the characters live in is way cooler than the one we live in

Just look at the Hunger Games’ characters and how the people in the Capitol dress! Wouldn’t you like to go through a wall and get to Platform 9¾! Or ride a flying car, or have a distinctive power!!!!!

Quidditch_Pitch

rs_560x310-130809124725-1024.CatchingFire5.mh.089013

111411_hungergames_moments

5. Finally, it actually is way better than the reality we live in! So to hell with all you haters! I’m gonna read whatever I feel like reading!

 

Remembering Hadi

I recall back in 2008, when I attended my first engineering class at AUB (CIVE210 – Statics) I instinctively classified all the people that were in my class. You had your typical arrangement: the “cool kids” sitting in the back, the people who were likely to change majors sitting in the middle, people like myself who knew no one, there were also the kids that hung out with their school friends, the “nerds” etc… and there was Hadi, the quiet loner who sat in his corner, taking it all in. When I first saw him, I never pictured him as smart; I thought he was a regular boy, like all the boys in my class. Little did I know that Hadi was not only smart, he was a genius. Hadi was not sociable, however in the few times I held a conversation with him; I actually found him interesting and funny in a witty way. Hadi was not a regular guy. He was the guy who graduated top of his class. He was the guy who got a full scholarship to MIT. He was the guy who left way too early and left us all wondering what could’ve been. What he could have achieved, what inventions he could have made and what impact he would’ve had on the world. Back in 2008, if you had asked me who of my classmates were most likely to win a Nobel Prize, I would’ve picked two people and Hadi would’ve been the first.

I am not in a position to speak of Hadi as a friend and I am not one of those people who pretend to be deeply affected by an acquaintance’s death. However, I cannot help but remember Hadi, the classmate, Hadi the Engineer, the genius. And I cannot say I was not affected by this unfortunate event. When a friend texted me the news, I was completely and utterly speechless. First I had no idea where 90% of my fellow graduates went after graduation, thus no idea that Hadi was in the States (however, I wasn’t surprised about MIT since I remember how smart he was), second, there was an insinuation that Hadi was either killed or committed suicide, both cases being completely appalling. I could not think of someone who would want to harm a kind and genuine person. Throughout the four years I spent at the American University of Beirut, I never heard of any mishap involving Hadi. He never hurt anyone, intentionally or unintentionally. Second, I could not come to terms with the remote possibility that he had committed suicide. A good friend of mine who’s in touch with some of Hadi’s entourage in MIT, told me he suffered from depression last year. But that he had recovered and was going out more often, he was basically back to his old self. And if Hadi did suffer from depression, he was going to come back to Lebanon this year, to his family and friends therefore had something to look forward to and help him get through.

Scanning through the internet for news about the investigations, I read some real dreadful things. And I would like to point out that working at MIT’s turbine lab, does not mean “”دراسات عليا في صناعة الأسلحة ! Hadi might have actually worked at NASA (I wouldn’t be surprised) but Hadi was actually studying Computation for Design and Optimization which is a vast interdisciplinary field that ranges from aerospace to nanotechnology applications, from Internet protocols to telecommunications system design. Conspiracy theories do, however, come to mind, since after all, cause of death is still undetermined. Strokes and heart attacks are out of the question according to forensics, and suicide is also highly unlikely.

Finally, I would like to offer my condolences first to all Lebanese thinkers; all those who hope to achieve something in their lives someday, because if there actually is a conspiracy, then all those who dream of making it big will have two choices: stop dreaming or give all your resources and work to the world’s dominant nation. Second, I want to communicate my deepest condolences to Hadi’s parents, friends and colleagues. May he always be an example to us all and may he rest in peace.

Excerpts from local newspapers and news websites:

http://goo.gl/ZEwBPf

http://goo.gl/353FKZ

http://goo.gl/LFzQYn

http://goo.gl/dXRFzC

http://goo.gl/C0AwDe

http://goo.gl/dLSB96

Blank Page Syndrome

I don’t know what to write today, I do know I feel like writing

I haven’t opened this site in a while and now I’m almost rhyming

I’m no poet or lyricist, just a girl who had a thought

I keep thinking of things that cannot be taught

Still reminiscing about things left unsaid

Living life and at the same time walking dead

Poetry is overrated somebody once said

Unleashing one’s feelings is better than keeping them in one’s head

I did not know what to write about, so I gave it a shot

Rhyming is no easy thing; neither is being in the spot

There was once a tiny little country

And that country was peaceful

The land was fine and the harvest plenty  

Its people was happy and cheerful

But its neighbors were mean and bad

Which left little Lebanon pretty sad…

 

 

The Faults in our Society

Beirut, Dora Highway 1950's

Beirut, Dora Highway 1950’s

Throughout the last two decades, the Lebanese society metamorphosed. While most rural areas’ inhabitants remain conservative, the urban population has become more and more Occidentalized. Globalization and the outburst of social networking have contributed a great deal to that evolution. Some might even say they fueled it.
Lebanese youth for one is divided: there are those who, influenced by their parents’ opinions and inclinations are very politically involved and some even turn to extremism. The other half, the bigger one, represents all those who have their own minds and opinions and refuse to be pawns in the mockery that is politics in Lebanon. Those are living their lives, regardless of the disturbances and the security situation. I for one have joined that movement; the nonchalance group. Every time I try to analyze, defend, think or even brainstorm solutions for this country, I end up giving up on the whole thing and feeling helpless. I am getting seriously sick of this war-but-lets-not-call-it-a-war thing going on. Sick of being worried about the people I love, of my parents constantly calling to check up on me whenever there’s something going on in the country. I long for the day Lebanon would go back to the way it was during the few years after its independence. The years my grandparents used to call “Golden”. You know, back when we had trains while no other Arab country did. Back when there was a tramway in Beirut. Back to times where a ليرة could still speak. Back when there were pubs in Hamra and Jounieh and people were genuine.
Usually populations evolve, they move forward. They change towards the best. Lebanese society has been degrading more and more throughout the years. There are those who aim to copy occidentals and want to show their “open-minded mentality” but who deep down inside are still as conventional as my grandpa. And there are terrorists. Suddenly, in Lebanon, “Switzerland of the Middle-East” there is a category of people aiming to kill and butcher innocents.

ter·ror·ism

noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\

: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.
Every single week, there’s at least one bombing on the schedule. If we’re lucky two. Not to forget, the separate war going on in Tripoli. Back in the deep north, there are snipers, soldiers – who aren’t the Lebanese army – not to forget the city that once was the “Capital of the North” is now dead economically and culturally.

From the previously derived facts, one could not help but wonder: till what end? When are we ever going to be truly free? Are we ever going to be able to plan our future in this God forsaken land? I sure hope so…