7 Useless Realizations at 25

1. You suffer from Low Battery Anxiety at least once a week. Usually it’s your cellphone at 12% at 9am with no electricity at home. You’ve always got the USB cable, or spare battery case, or car charger on you like it’s your First Aid Kit. God forbid it die and then you have to communicate like you did in the 90s which was through…carrier pigeon? Beyond that, you have a completely natural phobia of getting locked in in public bathrooms so you always take your cellphone with you. Plus, sometimes they have really cool soaps/signage/decor and you have to take a picture. And if you’re a guy, you probably take pics of other lovely-smelling things.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio has a net worth of a bazillion dollars, test-drives supermodels, hangs out with Scorsese, and is the embodiment of the fountain of youth. But he doesn’t know how to wear a watch. You slave away all day and then realize there’s a 14 year old somewhere learning how to DJ who’s going to be richer than you by next year because he named himself after some kind of pasta sauce and only wears solid colored V necks. Welcome to the working world.

3. Labneh sandwiches always taste better when your parents make them. You may be able to make risotto, herbed chicken, or koussa mehshe and outcook your parents in every other dish. Not with labneh. If you can make a better sandwich then you may have an illegitimate child running around (and about to be signed by the Disney channel) because only those who have been reproductively active have the white cream gift. Bazinga!

4. Putting your status as “busy” on any form of digital communication doesn’t work anymore. You used to use it to discourage bored people from reaching out to you for entertainment. They left you thinking, “why did I ever ADD this human being?! Shu labsa. I KNOW! I’ll appear busy…FOREVER.” We can all see through that and it’s ineffective. Now, you just have to be an adult about it. Translation: block, delete, or be a flat-out asshole and ignore them.

5. Your Facebook Newsfeed is going to be flooded with engagements and nuptials for the next 7-10 years. Supposedly, it’s not that weird for this to be happening more frequently even though your brain is not being able to fathom it all. I mean, one second your riding a skateboard like a toboggan down the incline by your friend’s house, tearing your neon shorts in the process of your smooth brake at the driveway. You blink and everyone’s having babies. Don’t panic, keep uploading pictures of your cat, it’s fine.

6. Youhavenoideawhatyouredoingbutyouregoingtowingitlikeaboss because you’ve got it all totally figured out, dude can you pass the mustard? I love chilled afternoons when I’ve got nothing to do. #hotdogs #thegoodlife #holyshitimwastingsomuchtimerightnow

7. You need to let go and move on. That letter from Hogwarts is never coming.

10 Questions with 1 Answer: NO.


If I #selfie then it doesn’t count as narcissistic, right?
No, you’re still randomly taking a photo of yourself in the bathroom. Hashtagging doesn’t erase the toilet in the background or the reflection in your glasses, it’s just you virtually owning up to it. Which is good: it’s the first step to recovery. Now, put down the camera.

Can I eat that Burger King anniversary offer all by myself and tell no one?
No, because you’re going to need someone to take you to get your stomach pumped and you can’t do that while parked alone on the side of the road patting down onion rings with napkins because “there’s too much oil.” Those oil inkblots will not save your arteries. You can limit the knowledge to the designated driver and hospital staff (who all went to college with you).

Is the DJ out yet?
No, but it doesn’t really matter because his/her music sounds the same as the crap you’re grooving to when you ask the question. At any trance event where you’re not wasted or high, you will actually notice that the music doesn’t change or get better, people just get more messed up as the night progresses and think everything got better. It’s not a natural sense of ecstasy, it’s MDMA.

Can I have another cookie?
No, because you’re 25 and that cookie is going to implant itself on your ass as a reminder that all cookies want to shack up with your ageing metabolism. There’s a joke here about Kardashians and moving too fast but it hasn’t formulated in my head yet so I’m going to just say “North West” as a placeholder.

Can I yell like a tennis player during this gym class because my muscles want to cry?
No. The music might be loud enough so no one can hear you but the electricity will cut, everyone will think you’re a sweaty freak, and you’ll have to find a new gym since they don’t support dry Herbal Essences’ moments. You just paid for 3-months so be quiet and FEEL THE BURN IN THOSE SHINS.

Will I ever get used to the term “babe” as a form of endearment?
No. Babe is a pig. Babe is a baseball player. Babe is a half-naked chick that surfer dudes think is like a totally bodacious specimen to ride. Babe is what girls call other girls right after they ask for a favor. Babe is one step away from Baby. Don’t call me baby. Don’t call me babe. Ever.

Am I supposed to start up a start-up?
No. You’re not supposed to do anything except be employed. In this economy and country-with-no-stability-or-proper-water-filtration, any form of employment is a blessing but not everyone is an entrepreneur. However, if the start-up is your brainchild and it’s going to be your ticket to the top, good for you. If you don’t have a useful innovative idea that can work as a business and have no job prospects then go back to school or become an actOR. *extends arm like reciting thespian*

Does my cat love me?
No, he’s an arrogant abusive Angora who happens to be photogenic so no one sees the evil within. That’s right, you’ve adopted Cat Man Do from the Powerpuff Girls. You’re going to end up feeding it and cleaning it and loving it and even with all the Chemical X in the world, he’s never going to love you.

Is it about time I get married?
No, k thx, bye.

5 Conspiracy Theories You Never Think About

1. Movie Star Foreign Accents

You’re a celebrity who’s spent their life reading English scripts, you’ve been in an English speaking country for over 20 years of your life, and you still speak with a thick accent or improper grammar. Look, if my dad can talk like he grew up in Brooklyn when he’s actually from the Jnoob (South Lebanon) while only making rare mispronunciations with certain words due to his French high school education, then Salma Hayek and Jackie Chan can cut the bullshit. I’m so sure they speak with perfect accents but Salma knows it makes her sound sexy and Jackie – well, I can’t explain that one because it’s just annoying. The only person who should be allowed to get away with this is the Governator because it makes him the Governator.

2. The Hipster Loop

If everything’s too mainstream for you, you’re a hipster. So when hipster becomes mainstream, are you a hipster hipster? Or does it cancel out and you go back into the mainstream category? And if all hipsters don’t like anything mainstream doesn’t that effectively become a mainstream ideology? Therefore, there is no real hipster culture, just people in Converse, plaid pants, and black frames talking about quinoa tabbouli. Just eat the borghol.

3. Space Station Life

There has been talk about people living on space stations since…the 1980s? Let’s just say the 1980’s thanks to Kubrick to sound sophisticated. In reality, ever since you saw Zenon on Disney, you thought you could wear horrible neon styrofoam lined clothing and put tin foil in your hair. You could live in a floating watergun in space. By 2049, you’ll be dreaming about Earth’s simpler times, tracking down vintage Chuck Taylors, growing synthetic tomatoes in test tubes and humming Protozoa’s classic hit. It’s all lies. You’ll be doing exactly what you’re doing now and absolutely nothing would’ve changed except that everything is owned by Apple and Oprah.

4. Unfinished BIC Pens

Where do they go? In your academic and professional life, how many of these have you purchased? And out of that number how many have you actually finished and thrown away? Less than 2% – because you lose them. Or they’re borrowed and never returned (i.e. lent to friends and annoying peoplewho ask you for a pen  before an exam as you unzip your pencilcase so you can’t say no). Or MAYBE there are BIC elves stealing them to extract the ink so they can make robotic jellyfish more realistic in espionage missions. Totally not far-fetched.

5. Google & Facebook Employees

…know your deepest darkest secrets. They have access to your entire life. They read your message threads, your gchat transcripts, and they know how many times (and how much time) you spend on each person’s profile. Since they’ve become such big corporations, there is at least one person from your graduating class that is or will be working for them and will, as a result, have the ability to own you for life. Even with confidentiality contracts that bind them and keep them silent, you will never know what they’re really asking when they ask “so how’ve you been?” “Oh, I’ve been fine.” “Yeah, I know.”

…Uhm, what?

5 Signs You’re a Young Professional…in Beirut

– it’s okay to hate him –

1- You live at home

If you do live on your own, it’s most likely because you have no family in the country, you are a foreigner to begin with, or your parents are paying your rent/paid for the house you’re in/you camp on a rooftop. If you don’t fall into that category, you, like the majority of young professionals in Beirut, live with your parents because you can’t afford not to on an entry-level salary. And even if you could, there’s no point in blowing 70% of it renting a studio that’s 10 minutes away from your parents’, has half a bathroom, and smells like sewer cheese. That doesn’t exist, and yet, you know the smell.

Then there’s that whole morality live-alone-before-marriage-gasp-patriarchal-society bit but let’s just skip it and pretend we’re in the 21st century.

2- You live at home

As in you spend your weekends vegetating in front of your laptop or becoming the second layer of your living room’s couch. During the week, you work long hours, get stuck in traffic, and try to squeeze in some form of physical activity to combat office-slouch-fat. You live at home because you rarely ever want to leave again once you actually get there: your bed has never been your best friend until now – and not in a sexy way. Gone are the days that you would overnight endlessly, say “yes” to every outing, or even be conscious past 10:30pm on a Wednesday. You’re just too tired, too broke, and there’s a whole season of Boardwalk Empire to watch on a mountain of pillows.

“Sushi tonight at 10?” Yeah, I’m in bed already, it ain’t happening. *presses play*

3- You can’t explain what you do to your Teta

Because it’s just not important enough. Tetas only understand conventional job titles or anything that starts with “doctor.” Everything else leads to questions about whether or not you’ve met someone now that you’re done studying and have some form of employment to keep you busy while you spouse shop thus leading to them thinking…

4- Your next expected goal is marriage

The more you try to explain your job, the worse it gets. When you translate job titles from English to Arabic, they always sound more impressive because of the variety of word choice in the language. It leaves them deceived and then they figure “okay, you’re set up…what’s next?” You’re back to them wishing you to reach the next big “farha” (happiness) since you’re well on your way to being the next huge success = totally ready to play house and make babies. In reality, you watch goat parodies on YouTube while eating leftover cheese sticks in your Batman pjs. You wear gummy bear earrings for god’s sake.

5- You have a lunchbox

…packed by your mother. And you’re 27. Dude, come on, buy a cookbook and grow up.

8 Pet Peeves Resulting from Your Facebook Newsfeed

I have been under self-inflicted hibernation for the past 2 weeks in order to complete a project but I’m back. Due to the fact that I was cut off from the world, this new post comes from the only outlet I had during hibernation: Facebook. If you are my friend on Facebook and you do these things…I apologize and you can feel free to do whatever you want – it’s your life – but now you know, you’re kind of annoying. Here’s the latest installment of 8 Pet Peeves:

1. Checking in to Your Home

You check-in to your “residence” after a night on the town. You’ve even named it something catchy like “Moe’s Crib.” You should know something: no one cares that you’ve made it home to your flat in Brussels or your house in Antelias. Unless your name is Harry and you’re checking in to Caesars’ Palace, no one cares that you’re having tea with your grandma. Checking in, regardless of the fact that it’s a stalker’s wet dream realized, should be reserved for places that are actually worth broadcasting; places that anyone would love to brag about. These places that wouldn’t make you seem like a pompous ass by announcing you’re there. Your house is not one of these places. Places that could qualify: the Playboy Mansion, Pride Rock, or the moon.

2. “<3 Likers”

Your latest uploaded photo has 42 likes and counting. You want to show gratitude to all the people who clicked “like”. Here’s the problem: people who like your photo or status update do not get notified when you comment unless you tag them – which you didn’t so this form of thanks is pointless. People “like” something because it’s the easiest way to show approval – the one that takes the least effort and results in the least amount of annoyance because you don’t get notified when an overattentive relative spews mushy love all over said photo. Stop writing this comment; everyone knows you have a bunch of likes. So Mom, just be grateful, like some crap they do in the future, and move on.

3. Mysterious, Enigmatic Statuses

“When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.” You write a line from a dark poem, an emo song lyric, or just some thought that’s clawing at the insides of your eyelids. It’s vague and people are reading it like “wow, someone had a bad batch of mushrooms last night” or they’re going to ask you why you’re behaving like a Disney-popstar-in-transition. You’re not an angel in Purgatory pining over Meg Ryan and yes, it’s spelled “wow” not “waw.”

Try to hold back on things that are personal and/or private. Facebook is not a place where you should share something you’re grieving about in mysterious vague status updates that only result in people asking nosy questions on a topic that is sensitive and raw. You’re not fooling anyone with that line from a Backstreet Boys song. You will look back on this and think, “WHY did I do that?”. And there’s Timeline now, that stuff can come back. Refrain from the cryptic messages that beg for others to inquire what on earth you’re talking about. If you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t post about it.

4. Relationship Status Dance

You’re single. You’re in a relationship. You’re single. One hour has passed by the way. Relationships are hard enough these days – do you really have to let all your friends know that there’s trouble in paradise? Especially if you’re going to get over it in 3 days and go back to posting a full album about how you spent your Valentine’s Day together? Break-ups are shitfests. Don’t make it harder on the other person even if she/he took a knife to your heart, have some grace and just remove the status. And if you and your partner do the Rachel-Ross thing every few months, spare your friends the drama of your on-off dalliance. This update on profiles is another one of those “please ask me about what happened” moments – again, if you don’t want to be asked, then don’t post about it.

5. Writing Paragraph-Comments

You argue about legislation, morals, veganism, or anything under the sun. Look, it’s a comment, not your thesis. It’s Facebook, not the draft of the Constitution. You have opinions and we’re all proud of you for being a strong, smart, non-sheep that can formulate sentences and use logic & common sense that not all members of society have been blessed with. True, comment-debates can get entertaining for spectators but, ultimately, it’s Facebook and your intellectually stimulating discussion that is loaded with well-crafted words and valid points is going to be lost in the sea of 9gag links and YouTube videos of “that underground band that I discovered MONTHS ago.” Save your energy for real-life conversations where you won’t have a random guy interject with failed look-at-me-I’m-so-clever remarks written with spelling mistakes and poor use of language. You don’t even go here.

6. Overdoing it with the Self-Portraits

You upload photos of you, obviously self-taken with a timer or the front camera of your iPhone. That’s fine, maybe you were having an amazing hair day. But if you have a full album of photos that are just your face or you posing in different positions, you have either been removed from my newsfeed or unfriended. Nothing is wrong with uploading a flattering picture of yourself besides your profile picture – especially if it’s hilariously stupid. But if that’s all you do, every few days, and you’re not a Victoria’s Secret Angel (because even girls will check that out), your actions will be interpreted as such by the masses: “I’m posting all these photos of me so you can like/comment to tell me how pretty I am.”

7. Changing Profile Pic Every 6 Hours

Getting bored of your profile picture is normal. You want to shake things up, show off a new haircut, or you’re just plain bored. There’s got to be a number that corresponds to the number of years you’ve been on Facebook which can give you an acceptable amount of pictures in your Profile Pictures album. If you lead a simple life where you’re not galavanting with a world traveler who tries blood sausages for breakfast, you probably change your profile picture around twice a month – and that’s pushing it. Therefore, 2(12) x number of years on Facebook = maximum total number of profile pictures. It’s like the BMI of Social Media and it’s super generous because you got 24 freebies to start off with which should be enough for those awkward photos from your senior year in high school which shouldn’t even count anyway and those duplicates left over from when you didn’t know you could select a previously uploaded photo. Actually it’s too generous. If you have more than 80 photos and you’ve been on Facebook less than 5 years, you need to get a life.

8. “John has sent you a Diamond Dash request”

I don’t want to play with you. Ever. Get the point.

5 Signs Your Laptop is Like Your First-Born

1. Self Sacrifice

Your own health, sanity, and temperature are not important when your personal computer is around. If it’s pouring rain, you will tuck your waterproof-cased laptop under your shirt for fear that the drops are of low pH and the acidity will penetrate right through the shell and melt your screen. When something happens to it, like falling to the ground for example, you rush to see if it’s okay inspecting for dents or cracks. If this were a person, you would be laughing your ass off because they made a hilariously terrified expression before their impersonation of Humpty Dumpty. The fact that they nearly missed the jagged metal from that construction site makes it funnier because the hilarity of their expression is equally proportional to the probability of death or dismemberment.

2. Soccer Mom Arm Move

You’re on your way to work and your baby, like any significant other, sits in the passenger seat. Whenever the impulse to slam on the brakes occurs, you bust out the Soccer Mom Arm Move. This move is when you reflexively jut out your right arm to protect the PERSON next to you from catapulting through the windshield. Your laptop will not do this because it is not the weight of a small elephant. It will slide off the seat and on to the floor of your car completely unscathed because it’s sealed in a bulletproof bag.

3. Lying to Protect It

“Can I download this on your computer? Mine’s downstairs and I just need to open a file”, “No, it doesn’t have the right software to play that file anyway so it’ll just be a waste of time but I’m sure you can use the computer in the lab.” Get your illegally downloaded virus-infested malware away from my baby. It’s like the first time you were left at home by yourself by accident; as you’re watching Home Alone dressed up in your mom’s purple evening gown, you are interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. You tell the unexpected carpenter that your parents ARE at home, they’re just both in the shower and that he can just wait outside if necessary. At the age of 9, you don’t know that the lie you’ve just told a complete stranger is probably more graphically disturbing than the truth, but you’re lying to protect yourself so whatever.

4. Worried All the Time

They say that having children feels like allowing your heart to walk around outside of your body. When you leave your laptop somewhere unattended for short periods of time, you have what can only be described as separation anxiety. What if it’s stolen? What if it gets mistreated? What if someone takes advantage of its kindness? What if someone logs on to my Facebook, reads all my private messages, and owns me for life after changing my password? What if someone steals that folder named somethingnonchalantonlyasadisguiseforwhatitactuallycontains? OMG, MY CAT PICTURES.

5. Tete-a-Tetes

You will have conversations of all kinds: pep talks, venting, discussions. When it’s slow, not responding, freezing, or giving you the color wheel of death, you begin to cheer it on and pray for it to pull through this tough time. No baby, please, you can do this, don’t let me down, I love you. You will also curse it out when your file crashes anyway with no recovery, or when “Google Chrome has quit unexpectedly.” Your face has quit unexpectedly, hoe. You will ask it questions while singing along to Body II Body, what ever happened to Samantha Mumba? She had potential. She could’ve been one of the first generation of Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter offspring apeople in Planet of the Apes: Evolution. 

You will realize that you’re talking to a computer that doesn’t love, think, or care about you but it’s okay because they all leave the nest sometime. You will get over it because you’ll have the younger ones to think about.

7 Annoying Unfatal Injuries


YAY, #firstworldproblems galore.

1. Canker Sore

Not to be confused with the lovely herpes-of-the-mouth, these yummy beauties attack the inside of your piehole. It hurts to smile – even more so when you imagine weird insects laying eggs in the sore leaving you to think they’re hatching whenever it tingles. Yes, movies are good for your imagination. Canker sores are so much fun, especially in a country that loves lemon on everything. It’s like our Windex. Wait that’s not right, olive oil is our Windex. There ya go, rub olive oil on your…canker sore. That turned out less kinky that you thought it would. HA.

2. Papercut

How something so small can cause so much pain is amazing – that’s what she said? Remember all those trees we cut to make paper? Yeah, it’s called karma. We cut them, they cut us. It’s the same logic that goes behind avoiding nuclear war: mutually assured destruction. The only minor difference is that we get over it but they’re still dead. Final Destination 37 will have someone die from too many papercuts. That, or The Happening 2 which will hopefully never happen.

3. Nail/Skin Separation

It’s when you’re trying to open something and the skin beneath your nail separates slightly from it leaving you to wish there was 23 meters of gauze that you could use to wrap it up so you don’t have to feel it anymore. They’re like married couples with a joint Facebook profile: two separate entities just fused together into one hermaphroditic blob. You mean that’s not what they meant to do? You mean they just want to share everything and cease to exist as a sole being because they’re one now? You mean your nail/skin doesn’t have reproductive organs of both sexes? TANGENT ALERT. Just saying, you don’t want them to separate, you want the melded, welded, matrimonial fingernails. Get some high quality Mickey Mouse Band-Aids. None of those $1 store Dou-Bang knock-offs. Cut off that circulation good.

4. Mosquito Bite(s) on Knuckle

You’re vegetating on the couch, minding your own business, eating Ministrels and remembering how Wedding-Planner-J.Lo said the brown chocolates have less artificial coloring in them (I’ll have you know they have “Quinoline Yellow, Carmoisine, Ponceau 4R, and Indigo Carmine” – ALL ARTIFICIAL), when you notice a flying vixen has made off with your blood. Twice. From your knuckle. It itches for 3 years.

5. Fajita Plate Burn

“Oh look, my apple crumb fritter breaded heartattack looks so scrumptious. Picture time! AH MY THUMB!” You just had to Instagram that hoe. No number of likes is going to soothe that growing bubble. And toothpaste is just a myth. That growing pagoda firework during the 4th of July on the driveway? Awesomesauce until it disintegrated right after it took my index finger hostage. The toothpaste did nothing but make me smell like a 11-year-old dental hygienist. It was all a lie. Cold water is your only friend here. And wrap that shit up, it’s nasty.

6. Stubbed Toe


7. Sleeping Limbs

Your body parts just fail on you. “You’re not using me? Fine, I’m out” and you become one of those bamboo rain sticks – if someone flipped you over, you’d make rain sounds because you’re full of rice, exist to decorate, and have no purpose whatsoever. The only use those things could possibly have is to be a conversation starter through a bad pick-up line: “If you touch my stick, Imma make it rain.”  Again, this is why the trees are mad at us. Anyway, you’re Lieutenant Dan-ing the Forrest Gumps around you, waiting for the feeling to come back whimpering “I can’t feel my legs” like you’ve barely survived military warfare. Then a muscle cramp surprises you instead. Those muscle cramps that sneak up on you are the bee’s knees. No really, they are because when that random pain jolts up your thigh, you’re going to wish you could just sting something and die. Ah, poetry.


F.Y.I. – I know that “unfatal” is not a word and that the correct term is “nonfatal.” It’s on purpose, Mom. 

10 Lebanese Things We Should Be Thankful For


Leah Dieterich’s book “thxthxthx” and website of the same title encourages giving thanks for all things in life (even tote bags) in the form of little scribbled thank-you notes. It’s just more evidence of how much a shift in perspective can change your whole mood and how you see your surroundings. In Lebanon, we tend to focus on the negative because, let’s face it: there’s a lot. However, in the spirit of Thanksgiving that falls on the same day as Independence Day, here are 10 Lebanese things that we should be thankful for:

1. Second Set of Parents

With some time, your close friends’ mothers with eventually adopt you. They will overfeed you, tell you to borrow a jacket when you forget yours at home, and lecture you when you get your first tattoo. They will say things like “yiii shu mahdoumeh/taybeh/jou3aneh” and ask about all your family members because they have now become a part of your family too. And in your silly attempt to win over Mommy #2 because you want her to think you’re an angel and a very good influence in general, you will playfully tease your friend (her child) on their shortcomings and laugh together in slow-motion while “A Wonderful World” plays in the background. Your friend takes no offense because they know you’re putting on a show and they’ll return the favor next time YOUR mom makes peach cobbler.

2. Nosy Families

Your great aunt wants to know why you’re applying to jobs overseas and your uncle doesn’t understand your logic when it comes to your personal life or why you refuse to tell him about it at all. Your teta is in a class of her own. This lil’ old lady will cook you a whole tray of kibbeh bil forn just to lure you over to her house because you’ve been so “busy”…going to the Alleyway in Hamra. She will ask you what you’re doing at university now, when you finish, and when you plan on making babies with a good catch from the village. There are only two majors: medicine or engineering. To Teta, if you studied anything in the sciences, you’re becoming a doctor. If you studied anything in design or architecture, you’re an engineer. All other majors mean that you are expected to start your own business. Regardless of what you’ve studied, a wedding should happen before you’re 30 or this woman is going to set you up with your cousin. Don’t get mad, she just wants to see you happy. And pregnant.

3. Parking Lot Attendants

These guys can be jerks but sometimes you get the super cheerful ones who think up new ways to say “Good Morning” to you everyday. That, or they compliment you in Egyptian dialect that you hardly understand so you just smile and walk away. Ten minutes later, you realize that when you thought he was talking about your green eyeliner, he was actually saying a navy blue car left a scratch on your fender while backing out the night before. Shit. You have to be nice to these guys because you will end up needing to park there again at some point in your life and you don’t want there to be bad blood between you. Even if they probably played Rush Hour as a kid and can arrange the lot like a labyrinth from hell, swallow your pride and just be honest when they ask you what time you’re leaving. They’re protecting your car from the evil meter maids and valets that sweat all over your armrest.

4. Host at Traditional Lebanese Joints

These guys all have mafioso names in my head. Typically, they’re on the plump side and wear suits and manrings; they look like they retired from the Gambinos and now run a respectable place dedicated to serving food to the familia. They’ll fit you in if you’re regulars and treat your dad (or whoever the alpha male of the table is) like he’s the Boss. Best part about these restaurants: puffy pita bread, the fresh bread you get that’s inflated like a balloon and crispy right in the center. Perfect for scooping hummus or soaking up the tabbouli sauce because you left it on the wrong part of your plate. You get a whole endless basket-full too.

5. Electricity Cuts

When the electricity cuts, you are dependent on generators, UPSes, or the battery life of your electronics. Since we’re skilled long-distancers, you end up chatting in a group convo with people all over the world and a game develops in the midst of a weird conversation. A current favorite is “Indie Rock Band Track Titles” which started off with one friend suggesting a bunch of music that sounded like made-up songs but were real. The replies to her suggestions were invented titles for bands and tracks which developed into a cycle of useless creativity culminating in a full soundtrack along with album cover art (photographs of items near us that inspired titles).

Chrome Frog Teapot – Avalanche of My Desire, Tabasco – Barrons Spanish ft Juicy Fruit, Suits and Sex – Cameroon Elephants

Your batteries run out and then you have to spend time with REAL people. If we didn’t have electricity cuts, we would remain in our technological bubbles instead of spending time sitting around the kitchen table with your sisters staring at the walls and discussing why pumpkins are orange.

6. Slow Internet

Even with 3G and DSL, our internet is still unreliable in comparison to the outside world. This is a blessing because if our download rate was actually acceptable, we’d be streaming every episode of every series 24/7 and downloading every album since 1920 onwards because piracy doesn’t exist. But, you know, we’re being productive on the side. If we already do this now, what would happen if YouTube videos actually played when you press play? How much work do you think you’d get done if “buffering/loading” never appeared on your screen? Unless you’re paid to do this, and thus have an amazing job and I want to be your friend, you will get nothing done ever.

7. No Piracy Laws

Or if there are any, they aren’t enforced (like most laws here) so we get to benefit from a ton of free music and dirt-cheap DVDs of movies that aren’t even released in the theaters (because they take an extra month to get cleared or are banned). We get angry when we have to pay over $3 for a film that was released last month just because it wasn’t available at the other place. It’s even worse when you get home and find that it’s dubbed in Spanish and there are no subtitles or it’s one of those I-just-saw-a-guy-get-up-in-the-chair-in-front-of-me-and-I’m-not-at-the-movies copies. As for music, the CD section in Virgin Megastore should just be transformed into a skeet shooting range (yes, I can’t believe they’re called that too) because I don’t think I’ve bought one in the past 8 years.

8. Emigration

The majority of the people you grew up with now live abroad or are planning on leaving within the next year. Reasons vary from higher learning to job opportunities to I-just-need-to-get-out-of-my-parent’s-house. It takes some time to get used to the country being an airport terminal at all times of the year, especially the last two weeks of December and the extended June-September window. However, you get to have friends all over the world so you have plenty of no-hotel-options when you want to travel for a break and there’s always someone awake to keep you company when you can’t sleep. Plus, you get to online shop and use their addresses for shipping. SCORE.

9. Professional Compensation

The salaries here make it harder for young people to be able to stand on their own. If they were to move out, they would have to pay for rent, utilities, and the meals they swipe from the fridge. Is it possible to do on a Lebanese salary? yes. Is it done? rarely. Besides the social stigma that accompanies young adults living on their own before marriage, it doesn’t make much sense to move into your own place and pay rent if your parent’s house is two blocks away and you can live there for free. However, this gives you the ability to save some of the cash you’re making since you’re not paying for EVERYTHING. Eventually, you should be able to live on your own especially if you can afford to throw away cash on booze, shoes or Black Ops. No excuses. We should be thankful for shit pay because it teaches you what you really should spend your hard earned cash on. And it’s not a pair of $800 peep-toes.

10 . No Metro

Actually no, this just sucks.

But mostly, we should be thankful for our schizophrenic patriotism.

We love Lebanon. We hate Lebanon. We complain about all its imperfections daily but preach about its awesomeness to foreigners. We tease each other for speaking different languages in one sentence, yet it’s a blessing to know more than one language to begin with. Our country is in debt, our infrastructure is always under construction, and our employable youth is our best export but it’s home. Our country isn’t special because of Jeita or Phoenician roots, it’s special because of its people regardless of who they are or what they believe in.