Monthly Archives: June 2010

In Gemmayzeh, “Gauche Caviar” Is on Your Right

If you are walking away from Downtown and towards the end of Gemmayzeh, you will find that the pub Gauche Caviar is on your right. You go in, you get a table, order your drink and sit. The music – if that’s what some choose to call it – is so loud that it makes you think that the people belong to mime theatre or to a German Expressionist movie. They cannot hear each other and shouting is just too tiring, so they perform, they exhibit quite a unique sign language not found elsewhere, their faces contort to make sure the emotions are well displayed and conveyed.

You look around and the movement is grotesque because not only do they want to “communicate”, they want to dance as well. The music is mostly techno/trance/house or whatever name they wish to give to the identical variations that are played in that pub. I can never tell one from the other and I have no wish to do so. Since talking is not an option, drinking is a must, people find themselves, glass in hand, probably a cigarette in the other, smiling at each other, sipping, blowing kisses, winking, sipping, BBMing, or combinations of sticking their tongue out and winking… then after a while, your face hurts and your facial creativity has run dry.

So you sit there, you try to dance but the music doesn’t really help and you end up doing a kind of interpretive dancing, where modern jazz and I-Had-Too-Much-To-Drink-And-Not-Enough-To-Say combine to create… art.

“Mamiiii et papiiiii got me the cutest caaaar!” exclaims the female linguist who has a knack for elongated vowels.

Leave it to Lebanese people to seek fun in a place with a name that seems to mock them. “Gauche Caviar”: you claim to support socialism but your lifestyle CLEARLY suggests otherwise. It basically means that you are not really sincere in your beliefs. INSULT! I don’t know if people who go there are socialists (I highly doubt it) but they definitely smell of caviar.

German Expressionism, also found at Gauche Caviar

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Thick Glasses, White Socks, Knee-Length Dresses and War

The war took it all away. Things didn’t go out of style. War happened. Big, thick glasses, white socks and knee-length dresses and a time when each picture was art because you had to make it worthwhile. Then war happened. A picture of my mother and father during their wedding day. Cars aligned and drove to my father’s village while Beirut was being bombed. My mother only had lipstick on. There was no time for such luxuries.

Their honeymoon lasted forty days. They toured Europe, the States and even Canada. There was no war there. There, people still smiled in pictures.

The war happened and there is a picture of me being bathed in a little tin basin in a remote village where the bombs hadn’t reached yet. In that small house in that small village, “ ’Ersel ”, there was a well, or rather, a hole in the ground from where one could get water. Water so we can wash the dishes and the floors, water so we can bathe, water to drink.

Pictures of people that are now long gone, my mother pointed out each one: “God rest their soul” she said after every name.

War is so selfish. It made my sisters, when they were six years old, get out of bed, drag their pillows and sleep in the corridor as soon as they started bombing the city after nightfall.

The pictures became less and less. There was no time. Photos developed from being predominantly red to having distinct colors as Beirut turned gray.

Dima M.