A Series of Tightropes

There are many cases in which you are required to walk along a tightrope, or “err on the side of caution.” Ultimately, to sum it up in a few words, this amusing phrase means: play it safe. You are encouraged to be a certain way, but not to the extent where you will lose your balance. 

Sadly, balance is not a twenty-something’s strongpoint. 

  • Be generous but not foolish
Being generous is commendable. It’s selfless and yet, makes you feel good too so it’s selfish selflessness. High quality heaven points right there. Generosity comes in many forms: it can be helping out at a shelter, paying for a friend’s parking fee, or even exchanging an hour of sleep for an hour of “but what do you think he meant when he said, ‘I’ll see you later comma xo exclamation mark’?”. However, do not fall into the trap of being taken advantage of. And he meant exactly that, now go to sleep.

  • Be independent but not alone
You need to be self-sufficient, go dutch, do your own laundry, order your own omelette du fromage. It’s easier to face the world on your own because, in the end, you’re the only one you can count on. *walks off into distance, Rocky-fists the air* In the midst of trying to prove ourselves, we forget that we actually need people. Besides, if you were alone, you wouldn’t be able to borrow body wash when yours run out thus missing the chance to smell like the man your man could smell like.

  • Be honest but not offensive
You are told to be upfront about how you feel, say what you really mean, speak the truth so you don’t have to keep track of your lies, that it’ll set you free like a butterfly in a pumpkin patch. You shouldn’t tell girls not to hold their purses with an arm that is perpetually bent towards the body, looking like a botched flamingo leg transplant. Not all people respond well to blunt “constructive criticism,” but many have faulty detectors as to what would be deemed insulting. Perhaps instead of erring, they should proceed with caution. Or just send a text. 

  • Be passionate but not vulnerable
Do everything with love. Put all your energy into things that you are enthusiastic about. It will never be a waste because it matters to you. Let your heart be your guide. Wait, no. Slow down. Get those snow chains, tsunami barriers, and bulletproof vests. Yes, take risks and be dedicated but protect yourself, physically, emotionally, whateverly. Vulnerability is sweet when it means you’re standing in the “soak zone” at Six Flags, you’re ordering medium rare steak at a place you’ve never been too and have yet to test their definition of “rare”, or you’re uploading a picture on Instagram with your location while you’re still there. It is not sweet when you’re professing your love to your ex…in his wife’s delivery room as he’s cutting the umbilical cord of his 3rd son.

  • Be committed but not obsessed
Committed to people, to your career, to finding a place that sells corndogs in Lebanon (Bliss Street! WIN.) It is sad to see some lose sight of other things that are equally, if not more, important. You must make time. I mean, “I see med people…walking around like regular people. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re med.” You can still be the best neurosurgeon if you live life in moderation. 

  • Be indulgent but not ridiculous
Speaking of living in moderation, there are those times when you allow yourself to let loose. It’s okay, you deserve to treat yourself but there’s fine print that says “live life in moderation in moderation.” You should not use the old wives’ tale of “if you’re experiencing excessive hair loss, eat more gelatin” to consume more jelly beans. You should not spend Easter Sunday vegetating on a hotel bed in London, watching Jay-Z and Queen documentaries on BBC while hoovering prawn crackers and stuffed crust pizza. With that said, BEST EASTER EVER. 

  • Be mature but not decrepit 
You should be a semi-grown-up by now. No one else is going to think the deo skidmarks on your duffle bag are some other gooey substance, that’s just your built-in 12-year-old Bazinga noggin talking. There are only a few people that you can be 12 with, and in the meantime, you need to learn how to have a conversation without cracking a joke. And stop using “hehehe” when your chat-laughing because you seem like a creepy pedo who owns a hand-painted dollhouse. However, you must remember that you ARE young, so set the world on fire, you can go higher than the sun. Regardless of maturity levels, you are never too old to play volleyball with inflated balloons.

  • Be imaginative but not batshit crazy
The brain is a muscle and you should exercise it. Or just let it run wild because, if you ask me – and you didn’t but you’re reading my blog so it’s the same thing – the brain is more like a Pepsi can in the freezer. The more time it’s locked away, the higher the likelihood of explosion. Let your imagination burst just be aware of it at all times. You should not think that your cat is a relative of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch just because he watches you shower. Sure, he opens doors, likes olives, and is probably pretending to be a deaf purebred but that doesn’t mean his human soul is trapped in the body of a feline. Eyes up here, perv. 


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10 (More) Types of Lebanese Drivers

As requested – shout out to Jade S, Bahij K, and others who asked for a part 2 and made suggestions.
Here’s the second installment to Lebanese Drivers:

1. Accidental Rental

They are good drivers with bad luck. They are “accident prone.” They have totaled 2 cars in the span of 4 months but it’s totally not their fault. What do you mean yellow means slow down? What do you mean you want to wear a helmet while I drive? Good news is they’re a great reference when you need a rental; they’ve tried out most of the cars available because their ride is always in the shop. 

2. Zucchini Houdini

They pick their nose, digging for kousa, while thinking they are discrete and stealthy. They be like “I think I’m invisible as I pick my nose on the Manara sea-side road in my fancy tinted car, but my window is cracked enough so you can actually see me. THEN I’ll roll it down some more and ask for your name, ya gameel.”

3. Shawarma Schumacher

Apparently, not everyone has heard the saying “don’t eat a banana in public.” Eating a baguette sandwich or licking an ice cream cone one-handed while trying to keep track of the traffic never looks right to other people nearby. The very skilled Schumachers are those who scarf down a shawarma djeij from Arax, simultaneously holding a pickle, sipping on a diet coke, and controlling the wheel with their knees.

4. Ja2ra Ba2ra 

They cut someone off, block their right of way then proceed to stare them down for 7 seconds flat, the same amount of time that any Sean Bean character spends on screen. This all seems to happen in slow motion because it is happening in slow motion. They will not just make a u-turn from the far right lane, but they will melt your soul on the way just because you dared to drive on the “right side” of the road. 

5. Black Sports Utility Vermin (B-SUVs)

They travel in packs, these “security forces” motorcades. They think they’re entitled to the road as they aggressively honk and signal that they need a clear path. But when their high-beams flash and their monster trucks charge at your slightly small sedan, only one thought comes to mind that could describe what the B-SUVs are and Michael in My Best Friend’s Wedding said it best, they are “the pus that infects the mucous that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum.”

6. Chauffeur el Bouta

They pick people up, drop them off, and are a key component in all roadtrips. The only thing more unfamiliar than the idea of being a passenger is the idea of being alone in the car. They are better than a Google maps directory when it comes to friends’ addresses and their gas bill would make Carlos Slim cry.

7. Gendarme You

They are a member of the Police force and are thrilled they get to ride around in a Dodge Charger that was donated to them by the US Government. They sometimes forget that they are a member of law enforcement. Let’s just leave it at that. 

8. Porsche el Papi

They are financially blessed. Or their parents are and they’ve been spoiled with a shiny new toy. They roll around in their most-likely Italian suede-interiored beauty, have valets park it in front of restaurants, and maybe, just maybe, have furry dice hanging from the rearview. Oh, they be so loaded with money. Until their allowance runs out and they live off of falafel sandwiches for 4 days straight. 


9. Barely-Moving Bambino

New drivers. They are too afraid to move at a normal velocity because that would mean that they were embracing the beautiful technology that enables them to get to a destination without walking for 83 hours. They learned how to drive in a manual Datsun with a broken AC in the middle of July, it is expected that they would be more badass in an automatic. Alas, the speed of their vehicle is equivalent to a sloth on hash.

10. Seasoned Bambino

Most likely driving a used car bought by their parents. It’s their first car and the love of their life…until, 5 years later, it has electrical problems, pieces falling off the door that are popped back into place like a dislocated shoulder, and throws ignition tantrums by refusing to start because they called her “wheezy” after the engine began to breathe like that guy who loves Helga. They have been driving it since their first year of college and should probably trade it in before it’s worth as much as a karaoke machine, but they don’t want their parents to pay for another car. They then move to a new city that has a fully functional metro system. Or they buy a bicycle. 

Some of the above terminology is Lebanese slang and has no English translation. My apologies.

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Bambi’s Boxes, Part IV


Although this display has been taken down – it was Spring 2012 – I would like to give it some praise before it has been forgotten. 


Venue: Sophie’s Choice
Location: Beirut Souks


The displays incorporated illustrations by Karim Al Dahdah, illustrator and founder of Karim Al Dahdah Illustration Studio, mixed in with simple quotes about love. The illustrations are inspired by the collections of Sophie’s Choice, a luxury boutique located behind Hermes in the Downtown Beirut Souks. The characters are very lively and playful – very different than the impression that Sophie’s Choice gives off as a retail store. It usually seems very exclusive and unattainable, like how you’d feel if you were to ask the Queen for a spare tissue. You’d feel ridiculous, say thanks, and run off to make faces at her national guard. 

The new vitrines gave SC a younger facade making it less intimidating. The clothing seemed as carefree as the jumping gangly girls in the cardboard cutouts. Well done.

Source

Source

“Karim Al-Dahdah was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982 and went to school at the Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour where he received the prestigious Prix d’Honneur de Philosophie.

He holds a BA in Advertising from the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (2004) and a master’s degree in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, USA (2005).

He worked as an art director for a top children’s b

ooks publishing company in Chicago and a marketing company in Beirut, before opening his own illustration studio in June 2009. ” – Karim Al Dahdah Illustration Studio Facebook Page

Check out the rest of his Facebook page here or his website here.

10 Things I Hate About You, Lebanon

Sassine Square, Ashrafieh

I hate the way you toy with me, 

and the way you give me a scare.

I hate the way you are so unstable, 

I hate it when you don’t care. 

I hate your big dumb combat tanks 

and the way you mess with my mind. 

I hate you so much it makes me sick,

it even makes me rhyme. 

I hate the way you always fight, 

I hate it when people die. 

I hate it when you make me laugh,

even worse when you make me cry. 

I hate it when you’re not what you should be, 

and the fact that you’re always about to fall. 

But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you, 

not even close…

not even a little bit… 
not even at all.


Adaptation of poem from film 

“10 Things I Hate About You”

May the victims of the Ashrafieh explosion of Oct 19, 2012 rest in peace. God be with their families and loved ones.

10 Types of Lebanese Drivers

This list was requested by reader & friend, Lena J.

1. Florence and their Machine


They think they have a Grammy voice. They think they are Adele without the depression. Maybe. They hit the high notes and whisper the melodic lines of “Skyfall” as they imagine themselves tuxedoed/LBDed, suave and debonair at the bar ordering a shaken-not-stirred vodka martini. They are calm and collected with a voice that is as ferocious as their fiery naturally volumized Arab hair. They are Florence Welch and they are driving their Machine. Move aside earthlings with no vocal talent, listen to them roar. Oh yes, they are a star. 

Unfortunately, to the audience, they sound like a dying cow and look like they’re having a seizure dancing the robot with the steering wheel.

2. Jagal el Alpina

They are the sleazy & cheesy male drivers of the BMW Alpinas covered in latex tattoos of “Follow Me If You Want to Die” and weird phrases in something resembling English. They think they’re skilled drivers because they “shaffit” leaving skidmarks to document 360s done in the middle of an intersection. They have a misunderstood relationship with hair gel and jewelry. 

3. 
Horny & Corny

Not to be confused with sleazy & cheesy, these are the male drivers who tend to be the conductors of vans, charging with their heads jutting out of the window. They maneuver like the vehicle is an extension of their body. Although there is an unbreakable affection between them and their horn, they also make a mating call that can only be described as a prolonged kiss sound, only that would make it seem gentle. This, along with the poetic lines that are directed towards pointing out ladies’ assets, makes them one of the crippled Casanovas of the country. 

4. The Teflon Tante


She drives an X5, X6, Vogue, Q5, Q7, Cayenne, anything that’s a gas-guzzling 4×4 that is never really meant for offroading. She is female, coined the Teflon Tante because she thinks she’s as gangster as Rick Ross especially since she has the same gold-encrusted pimp sunglasses. The key difference is that he still looks badass in something that would normally be cast off as only-for-Liberace. She, on the other hand, combined with her high maintenance everything, is a glorified soccer mom. She probably wears designer sweatpants that have never seen the gym, has half the nose she was born with, and never parallel parks.

5. The Skypist

They are stuck in traffic and staring at their crotch. Their head is bobbing up and down making everyone wonder what on earth is really going on because, as far as us nosy people can see, no one’s in there with them. They are Skyping. That’s not remotely as dirty as it sounds or as it looks in this case. They’re going to get someone killed though because they‘re simultaneously making sure they don’t hit the car in front of them while trying to make eye contact with someone who’s sitting on their bed in their pjs in another country. 


Pull over and stare at your crotch without hurting anyone else or make like an abstinence campaign and DON’T SKYPE IN THE CAR. 

6. The Lowriding Snoop Camel

They drive with their left hand, one butt cheek on the seat, leaning back, eye-level with the dashboard. They don’t even grip the wheel because they’re so smooth, they be sipping on gin and juice. *Hydraulics? Spinners? Yeah, I know what they are. No, I can’t afford them. But check out my “mango” palm tree air freshener. So fresh, so clean, hell I bet you want some sushi now.*

7. The Fast and The Are You F**king Serious

They are practicing for the F1 race. If they’re not already, they want to feel like they’re driving a manual car and “betweenet” are their specialty, shifting gears in their tiptronic monster just because they can. They want to get to that moment in Driven, when the raindrops are freezing in mid-air before splashing on to the windshield. They want to pull the handbrake, spin, whip out a 9mm, and wink at Eva Mendes but they won’t because they’ve hit a tree.

8. Oh So Textual


“Omg traffic is soooo bad.” Yes, we’ve all done that one. It’s usually because you’re in traffic and you’re not moving. But there’s the Oh So Textual drivers who have a disease. They‘re as evil as the Skypist. They check Facebook and drive. They Instagram the speedometer and drive. They text “lol” to the hot girl from English class that they just randomly saw at Starbucks because if they don’t immediately initiate a whatsapp conversation, timing will be off and she’ll never be the mother of their children. They’ve got to text now because texting later will be…exactly the same thing.

With that said, Shazam needs to bypass the iPhone keypad lock because that shit is annoying when my unknown jam is on the radio.

9. The Motorcycle Clans

One of three clans when driving a bike:

• TooLegitToSit – meaning they drive a bike that is never actually seen being driven because it’s always parked outside an establishment looking shiny.
• Acrobatic Ballerinas – the performance artists who balance on their motos in the middle of the highways, practicing Cirque du Soleil routines as they pop a wheelie.
• Meals on Wheels – those who deliver greasy food to the masses and, on occasion, a hookah to a Teflon Tante.

10. Service

Taxi drivers of Beirut, they go HAM. They could be the sweetest or the craziest people you will ever meet. But one thing’s for sure, there’s always good stories with them. 

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