A Series of Compartments




Your brain is split into a series of compartments of information, a lot of which is secretive and/or personal. These compartments are the most interesting and the ones that we try our best to ignore – you think “I’ll just put you in a little box and keep you on the shelf in the back of my mind.” They are the buried compartments and this is how I break them down.


This does not refer to the fact that you like that Bieber song (but only because of Luda’s part) or how you have been told to sit “properly” by the manager of  every coffee shop in Hamra (you can’t help it if you like to sketch while sitting like a pretzel without taking your shoes off). This refers to deeper embarrassments; ones that you’re not ashamed of if you were having a discussion with yourself. But when it comes to telling a story at the dinner table, you’re not about to giggle and guffaw over that time you wrote names on a love-lock in Paris, locked it on the Pont de l’Archevêché bridge behind the Notre Dame Cathedral and walked away crying as you threw the keys in the Seine. Well, isn’t that cute but it’s wrong. Some anecdotes should just stay at the bottom of the river.


Song-snapshots take you back to a moment when a song was playing and a memory was instantly seared onto the soundtrack of your life. A Ferry Corsten song takes you back to that night you were cruising and you had your right hand sticking out of the passenger window making the swimming-fish move; all you’re thinking about is aerodynamics and how your heart is so content it could explode. You had the right elements for a song-snapshot: perfect company, weather, and bass. Every time you hear it, you go back there. Every time you hear it, you remember. Sometimes, it sparks a conversation for those who want to share, like when your dad has to tell you that Toto’s Africa takes him back to the summer he spent in the village on the border when he was 17 or how he once left Fresh on your mom’s answering machine. However, if these song-snapshots are in your compartment, that means you keep them to yourself. You listen to them when you want to go to that place in time without anyone else knowing about it.

Self Truths

These are the things that you mock poets and songwriters for because they have the courage to write them down. Real poets and songwriters, not that awkward turtle who scribbles on napkins at McDonald’s and not Nicki Minaj. These are feelings, insecurities, and confessions. The facts that you keep to yourself because they are weapons. They are the wounds, the gaping holes, the weaknesses. The things that can be used against you if told to the wrong ears. Or they can make you a shitload of money because you’re Taylor Swift and Kanye was right.


As discussed in former posts, these are things that you want. The complicated part here is that you may want them but that doesn’t mean you can have them. Placing them into a little box is your brain’s way of coping with an unsatisfied need that you are knowingly depriving yourself of. Maybe it’s illegal or disgusting, maybe it’s something morally unacceptable, or maybe it’s just something you can’t have in your life right now. Due to the “circumstances and powers that be”, you want it but you’re saying no. Welcome to the internal daily battle of full-fledged pseudo-adulthood.


…Or who they used to be to you. No one is frozen, people change and, for whatever reason, your relationship with someone may change too. Now, they’re just somebody that you used to know but you can’t help but wonder: “have they changed or did I just not really know them to begin with?” You want to hang on to the person in your head, the way they were with you, and the way they made you you. And you can do that for as long as you want but that’s all they’re ever going to be: someone in your head. Imagine how many obsolete versions of you are floating around in other people’s heads. Just blew your mind, I know.

These are some of your compartments – the thoughts that keep you company on your solitary nights in while you play ping pong with all the tidbits you’ll never say out loud. Enjoy your Saturday night. ❤

A Series of Khatt Ahmars

Khatt Ahmars.

Khatt Ahmars.

Khatt ahmar” means red line in Arabic, but the deeper meaning refers to personal limits or boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. Although you may disagree with a few, here’s a series of my behavioral khatt ahmars when it comes to befriending someone new:


You don’t hold the door open for someone when you see them walking in/out…and you’re at the door. Please note the word “someone.” This is in no way a rant about chivalry – it’s called being considerate. But hey, maybe you’re in a hurry and you didn’t notice. But maybe you make sounds when you eat like you’re a full orchestra of bodily functions? No excuses there. Stomach gurgling is acceptable and can be entertaining/embarrassing but when you chew loudly and make that squeaky noise when you suck the food out from between your front teeth…that’s it. YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US. We’re so over. Use a toothpick. Far, far away from me.


Using “am” without “I” before it or any other pronoun/verb combination without the pronoun. It’s one extra word/letter. You can do it. If you can’t, please refrain from using English in any way or form. Other issues with language: ghinij, mehen, and any other distant relative of baby talk. These combined with puppy-dog-eyes are prohibited unless your significant other/love interest is, in fact, a poodle.


You have freakish levels of estrogen or testosterone and I don’t mean it in the literal blood work-up way. If you feel the need to or just happen to put on a show to prove how feminine/masculine you are, then you can go do that with your pink ladies/t-birds because I’ve got chills, they’re multiplying and I’m losing control because the power you’re supplying, it’s got me crying.


You notice I’m in Bambo (Rambo Bambi) mood and you keep poking for information. “What’s wrong? Are you okay? No really, what it is? Bottling it up doesn’t help you. You can tell ME.” There’s a misconception here: sometimes, bottling it up is a good thing if I think I’m going to scratch someone’s eyes out or regret anything said due to my projectile verbal vomit. If I’m not talking about it already, I don’t want to talk about it. Yet. Or ever. Believe it or not, you may have caught me not smiling for 10 seconds and you repeatedly insisting that I’m in a foul mood will put me in one when I SAID I’M FINE.

Social Media

You write mysterious status updates or tweets about how angry/depressed you are. Perhaps we have all been guilty of this at least once in our lives but, after you’re over your shitfest and you see how ridiculous it is when other people do it, you vow to never “express” yourself publicly unless it’s by screaming your face off in the middle of a paintball battle. And sharing photos you found on someone’s blog that have an inspirational quote over a black & white photo of a person drawing in the sand with a piece of driftwood is the same thing. Remove from feed/unfollow/goodbye.

IRL Drama

The first fight I can recall having was when I called my friend, Judy, “Judy Booty.” She didn’t take it well. We were four. This is expected when you’re in preschool. However, if you have completed at least one post-puberty graduation ceremony in your life, then you have earned the certificate that verifies that you have completed +12 years of education and survived +12 years of petty drama. That means you should’ve grown out of this phase so if you call me up and interrogate me as to why I went to a movie with a friend you know (only because you met once 8 months ago at a mutual friend’s Christmas party) and I didn’t ask you to come with, reread the sentence and you’ll know why.


You can’t understand my pop culture references or you can’t have a conversation that’s 46% song lyrics. I am aware that this is related to my upbringing, age group, and personal preferences but I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby like you. Only I’m not. We need to be on the same Air Force Pun, plane of lame. If this is not the case for you dear reader, then you probably didn’t understand the majority of this post, you need to use the links I include for clarification, and you are not my platonic lobster. It’s okay, there are plenty of fish in the sea but just keep reading, just keep reading…

If you recognized that as a Finding Nemo reference, then we can be homies.

A Series of Contradictions



Facebook’s new message settings allow you to see when people have “seen” your message. Facebook’s new message settings allow people to see when you’ve seen their messages. Crap, now you HAVE to reply.
*deactivates account*


“There are 120 calories in this Special K breakfast bar, so I can have this whipped cream on my toffee nut latte”/ “I saw that photo of the cheeseburger that was left in a car for 7 years, it didn’t rot”/ “Every can of Pepsi has 10 tablespoons of sugar in it”/ “Ew, mayonnaise.” You go to Chili’s and order the following: bottomless tortilla chips & salsa, fried chicken crispers, and a cherry Coke. But you hardly touch the fries or the corn. Molten Cake anyone?


You should go to the gym. You end up ordering takeout or smoking a cigarillo on your balcony even though they make you feel like a tool. You also bought a pack of Turkish-labeled Adicto muffins and, as you sit on your balcony imitating the Godfather and figuring out what constitutes “inhaling”, you get a notification on your phone for the latest anti-cancer event that you checked “attending” for. It’s in 44 minutes, puff puff.


You buy a birthday present for someone when you’re still acquaintances and you’ve been invited to their party so you won’t dare go empty-handed. However, it takes you a minimum of 4 months to buy gifts for your close friends…if you buy them anything at all. Real love is not about gifts. That, and you can admit to them that you’re broke.


Gerard Butler played 300’s King Leonidas…and the Phantom of the Opera. (Sidenote: I would learn to play the piano just so I could furiously play the theme song. Some kids used to air guitar, I air pianoed) – That’s like Vin Diesel playing Riddick and a Peter Panda dancing undercover nanny…wait a second…or the same location that once had La Adelita on it’s taquito-selling walls is now a knefeh-selling Hallab & Sons. Ah, how things can have so many identities.


You decide to stay in on a Saturday night to work on a project, finish an assignment, study…you know, be an adult about life. You end up in the forbidden valleys of YouTube listening to genres of music you never knew existed, reading comments written by people who are high off dry-erase markers, and Facebook leap frogging* until 2 am. You have so many windows and tabs open that you forget what you were supposed to be doing but when the guilt rushes in, you’re like “if I went out, I’d have wasted money on a mediocre outing only to come home with no work done. At least now my paper has…a title.”

*Facebook leap frogging: you jump from one friend’s profile to another and another and another…