Life’s small secrets

The other day I was philosophizing (alright – whining) about all the things I had hoped to see and experience while being in Lebanon and how I’m not even close to being halfway through my list. However, two Fridays ago I had exactly one of those days I’d been hoping for.

I’m expecting guests from Denmark in a few weeks and so have been trying to find an inflatable mattress big enough for two people. I’d tried some of the bigger supermarkets close to my apartment, but without luck. So one of my friends from Arabic class offered to go with me to Dowra, an area outside of central Beirut.

I’ll start by killing the suspension and revealing that we had no luck finding one. But we did have a lot of fun trying to explain (in Arabic of course) what an inflatable mattress is. Apparently it’s quite unusual here in Lebanon, so out first version of saying a bed (we didn’t know the word for mattress) with air didn’t get us very far. We tried different ways of explaining how to put air into a mattress, but that didn’t help much either. On the contrary, we got a lot of “are you crazy?!” looks.

In the end, the closest we got was to compare a bed to a balloon. Which seemed to do the trick, because a lot of people got a facial expression as if they’d suddenly figured out one of life’s small secrets. But two seconds later they went back to looking at us as though wanting a mattress like that just made us even crazier.

Two hours later I was walking home slowly and kind of depressed, when I noticed a very little (seriously tiny!) shop selling eyeglasses. But not just any kind of eyeglasses… Vintage eyeglasses! Suddenly I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I’m completely obsessed with the 50-60’s style (strongly inspired by Mad Men) and tried on one pair after the other falling more and more in love with each of them.

I ended up buying a pair of regular glasses and a pair of sunglasses. It turned out that my eyesight has gotten worse, so I really did need new glasses. And for the first time in my life I now have sunglasses with strength, which means I can actually see without having to squint whenever the sun is around.

That was exactly the kind of day I had been hoping my Beirut experience would be filled with!


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